Middletown will spend $15K to find new superintendent

The Middletown school board recently approved spending about $15,000 to hire a search firm to aid in what is expected to be a national search to replace current superintendent Sam Ison, who is retiring at the end of this school year. GREG LYNCH/2016
The Middletown school board recently approved spending about $15,000 to hire a search firm to aid in what is expected to be a national search to replace current superintendent Sam Ison, who is retiring at the end of this school year. GREG LYNCH/2016

The search for the next leader of Middletown Schools is picking up speed.

April will be a busy month of the Butler County school system’s governing board as it begins to reach out to city residents, businesses and other stakeholders to gather input on what qualities they want in the next school superintendent.

The school board recently approved spending about $15,000 to hire a search firm to aid in what is expected to be a national search to replace current Middletown Superintendent Sam Ison, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Explore HOW WE GOT HERE: Middletown Schools’ leader announces departure

Ison announced his departure earlier this month.

“We have selected K-12 Business Consulting to conduct the search,” School Board President Chris Urso said Friday.

“The price is comparable to other firms offering similar levels of searches (and) we are very well aware that K-12 Business Consulting has conducted searches for Lakota, Springboro, Lebanon, Butler Tech, Beavercreek, Fairborn, Springfield and several other districts and has an excellent reputation,” said Urso.

In February Lakota’s school board announced the hiring of Matt Miller of Mentor Schools in northern Ohio as their next superintendent.

Explore RECAP: Lakota Schools picks new leader

And in early 2016 Butler Tech’s governing board announced the hiring of Jon Graft as the career school system’s new superintendent.

Explore MORE DETAILS: Butler Tech has new leader

But it’s the opinions of those most directly served by Middletown schools that is paramount, said Urso.

“The first thing we will be working on is the superintendent search profile where we will be soliciting input from a broad range of stakeholders including staff, parents and community members on characteristics they suggest we look for in our next superintendent. There will be two community forums on April 12 and April 19,” he said. “The exact locations are still being identified, (but) announcements will be made when details are finalized.”

The board’s timetable shows final interviews of candidates will take place in May and the board expects to hire a new leader by the end of that month with the new superintendent assuming duties by Aug. 1.

In March, Ison announced his retirement as head of the 6,400-student school system.

The 60-year-old Ison, who has been the city schools’ superintendent since 2013, has spent 38 years in public education. Prior to joining Middletown Schools he was a long-time principal at Warren County’s Lebanon High School.

Under Ohio law, publicly elected school boards make two hiring decisions and do so by a majority vote. Boards hire superintendents and school district treasurers.

Ison’s departure is part of a historically unusual trend for Butler and Warren county school systems, which since 2015 has seen a record number of superintendents leave or retire.

SPECIAL REPORT: Area superintendents leaving at record pace

Urso said the board understands the significance of its upcoming hire and that’s why members want to include the public in the process.

“The superintendent search will involve staff and community engagement as that is very important to us,” he said.

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