LIBERTY TWP. — Lakota Schools’ interim superintendent has told board members he is not interested in pursuing the district’s top job.
Robb Vogelmann announced earlier this week that he will be returning to his former assistant superintendent position once the Lakota school board hires a new superintendent.
“When I accepted the interim superintendent position, I truly believed that it was the right move for the district, myself professionally and personally, and I was ready to lead our district in this new role,” said Vogelmann, who has served as the assistant superintendent since 2012.
“Now, about 11 weeks into this role, I have determined that I am better suited for the assistant superintendent role than the superintendent role.”
Vogelmann, who has served the district as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent through almost 26 years, volunteered to lead Lakota Schools following former Superintendent Matt Miller’s resignation.
“I am not tapping out to go sit on the sideline and watch,” he said. “I have learned a tremendous amount in these past 11 weeks that will improve my skills as assistant superintendent and help be a better support to the next superintendent.”
He has held the position of interim superintendent since Feb. 1 and said he intends to continue leading until the role has been filled, which board members said they hope will be done “by the start of the next school year or Jan. 1, 2024 at the latest.”
In other board action, prior to the meeting the district’s first pre-school board listening session less than a dozen participants.
The 45-minute session, held in the Lakota East Freshman School cafeteria prior to Lakota Board of Education’s meeting earlier this week, saw members hearing from about a half dozen speakers among the 10 audience members who attended.
Board members only listen during these new sessions and do not take any actions.
The new public comments sessions are designed in part to better accommodate the occasionally numerous public speakers at Lakota board meetings in recent months stretching back into 2022.
Unlike the now optional 30-minute public comment section of each board meeting, where the board has banned compliments and complaints of Lakota school personnel besides board members, no topics are off limits for the new listening sessions, Lakota officials have previously announced.
Among the public participants was Lakota school parent Christa Hobe, who thanked the school board creating the new public comment period.
“The majority of the board have at the top of their list of priorities our children. I like to thank the board for allowing for the community’s voices to be heard through this forum,” said Hobe.
“It allows parties to bring their cares and concerns to the board.”
But Lakota resident Ronald Alywood told the board “the real reason for all the interest in regulating speech is the break down of trust.”
“Once trust is broken, leaders can’t govern effectively,” said Alywood, who said the board deserves a grade of “F” in its handling of public comment policies.
Lakota Board of Education President Lynda O’Connor said “our intent here was to allow more participants so we extended the speaking time.”
“We have lifted restrictions (during the pre-meeting session) on what people can say and it is much more open and an entirely different process than what we have been doing in our (meeting) public comment sessions,” said O’Connor.
“We’re trying to offer more to our community and making sure we hear from as many people as possible.”
(Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story)
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