When it comes to holding different school jobs in Butler County, Tom York may be running low on hats.
The 65-year-old veteran school leader is unique among current Southwest Ohio school systems for working as a high school principal in one district and as an elected board member in another.
And York is also a member of the governing board of Butler Tech — one of Ohio’s largest career school districts. And earlier this year he was among four finalists to lead the Warren County Career Center.
York is principal of Talawanda High School in Oxford and also a member of the neighboring Edgewood City Schools board of education.
York’s career began as a social studies teacher in 1979 at Edgewood High School.
Since then the Talawanda High School alum has been superintendent and assistant superintendent at Edgewood and superintendent of the nearby Madison Local Schools.
Toss in a previous principal job at Hamilton City Schools, interim business manager at Warren County’s Franklin City Schools, athletic director, guidance counselor at a Hamilton County’s St. Bernard-Elmwood Place Schools, football and girls softball coach and it’s a much shorter conversation if you ask York what school jobs he hasn’t worked.
It all springs from York’s strong commitment to the civic responsibilities of American citizenship he first taught in his social studies class 38 years ago, fresh from earning his teaching degree from Miami University.
“It’s a calling for me and it goes back to my social studies days and teaching kids they have a responsibility as citizens. But I didn’t imagine I’d have so many jobs in my career,” said York, who spent most of his 25-year career holding various positions in Edgewood Schools.
“Back when I started teaching in 1979, I thought my ideal career goal was to be a guidance counselor and football coach,” he said.
Edgewood Superintendent Russ Fussnecker is happy York failed at his initial career goal.
“Mr. York hired me in 2007 as an assistant principal at Edgewood Middle School. I chose Edgewood because I believed that Mr. York (Edgewood Superintendent at the time) was a man of integrity and had a passion for students and learning. Ten years later, I still find that to be true,” said Fussnecker.
“He has high expectations for academic excellence and is a true advocate for all students. He wears so many hats in the educational arena because it is a calling for him,” he said.
That passion continued when York moved his family into the Edgewood community and he decided to run for the local school board and won a seat, starting his four-year term in January 2012.
“I thought I need to contribute something to the (Edgewood) community I live in and being a school guy I thought I could contribute to the schools,” said York, who also started as principal at Talawanda High School later in 2012.
Edgewood and Talawanda high schools are heated sports rivals and when they play, York said he’s learned a technique that allows him to appear unbiased while attending the games.
“I keep my hands in my pockets. Besides, I can’t lose when the teams play,” he jokes.
When will he know it’s time to slow down?
“When I get up in the morning and start to forget which job I’m going to, then I’ll start thinking about quitting,” he said.