Years of high turnover for school superintendents hits a lull in Butler and Warren counties



The historically high turnover trend of area school superintendents has ended, at least for now.

In recent years Butler and Warren counties have seen an unusually high rate of job changes among local school district leaders.

But going into the coming school year, which opens classes later this month, not a single superintendent will be new in Butler or Warren county districts.

It’s a welcomed end to a volatile school trend, said county education officials.

And, more importantly, they said, it signals a possible period of leadership stability that will benefit area schools.

“Butler County districts are hitting their stride now that our superintendents have become established in their respective communities,” said Chris Brown, superintendent of the Butler County Educational Services Center, which works with each of Butler County’s 10 public school systems and Butler Tech’s schools.

The situation was different from 2015 to 2017.

In that period, 22 public and private school districts in the two counties — including the Cincinnati Archdiocese schools and two county career schools — saw 14 had hired new superintendents.

And in 2018, Butler County’s Talawanda, Monroe, Hamilton and Madison schools saw new superintendents as did Warren County’s Mason Schools.

Some of the job churn could be attributed to an older generation of superintendents reaching retirement age in recent years. But education experts also point out there are few public sector jobs as hard as those of a school district superintendent in part because they are hired and serve at the pleasure of school boards.

In Ohio’s public schools, superintendents are hired by publicly elected school boards – with each member serving four-year terms.

Tom Isaacs, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Services Center, said often superintendent longevity is tied to the quality of local school boards.

“We’ve had a history of good, qualified school boards … that don’t have big turnover rates,” said Isaacs.

Wayne Schools’ Pat Dubbs is the most veteran superintendent with 12 years leading the Warren County school system.

But in Butler County, four-year superintendent Russ Fussnecker of Edgewood Schools finds himself as dean of county school leaders due to the retirement and job-changing exodus in recent years.

Brown, however, said the newer - and largely younger - leaders now running Butler County’s school systems bodes well for local schools.

“The energy and experience they each bring to the table promise a bright future for their students, faculty and families, and allows our districts to collaborate together like never before,” said Brown.

School starting dates for Butler County and southern Warren County districts are:

• Hamilton: Aug. 12

• Middletown: Aug. 13

• Butler Tech: Aug. 13

• Badin High School: Aug. 14 freshmen; Aug. 15 All other students.

• Talawanda: Aug. 14, grades 2-12. Aug. 19, kindergarten, 1st grade

• Edgewood: Aug. 15

• Monroe: Aug. 15

• Madison: Aug. 15, middle and high school; Aug. 19, elementary students

• Lakota: Aug. 15

• Middletown Christian Schools: Aug. 19

• Fairfield: Aug. 21

• Ross: Aug. 21

• New Miami: Aug. 21

Warren County

• Kings: Aug. 14, Aug. 16, kindergarten students

• Mason: Aug. 20

• Fenwick High School: Aug. 21

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