Just hours after the Journal-News first reported Tuesday that Mantia was seeking to leave her job as head of Ohio’s eighth-largest school district, Lakota officials released a statement announcing the request will be approved.
“The Lakota Local Schools Board of Education will accept the superintendent’s request for medical leave to ensure that the students and staff of one of Ohio’s largest school districts are well supported and that learning will continue during her absence,” read the board statement, which was released at 12:01 a.m.
“Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia’s request for Family Medical Leave, beginning Wednesday, August 24, will be approved at a special board to be scheduled soon. The board will also officially appoint Assistant Superintendent Robb Vogelmann to serve as Acting Superintendent during her absence.”
Earlier Tuesday Mantia, 64, told the Journal-News “I am going to take medical leave. I will not be at Lakota starting as soon as the board votes on it (request for leave).”
Lakota Board of Education President Lynda O’Connor wrote in the statement: “Lakota Local Schools is one of Ohio’s top school districts. We plan to see that tradition of excellence continue. While it is unfortunate that Dr. Mantia must to take a leave of absence, we are fortunate to have strong leaders to continue our progress and tackle what challenges lie ahead of us. Our focus will continue to be on providing a quality education for our students, supporting our staff in their work, and building upon the great relationship we have with our community.”
“The board wishes Dr. Mantia all the best during her medical leave. She has been a strong leader for our community and our schools,” said O’Connor. “We have great confidence in Robb Vogelmann. His familiarity with Lakota, as both a long-time parent and staff leader, demonstrates his investment in our community and our schools. Mr. Vogelmann has the skills to step into this leadership role and continue moving the district forward.”
The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Sept. 12 but the board can schedule an emergency meeting at anytime.
The 16,500-student Lakota district is the largest in Butler County and the largest suburban school system in Southwest Ohio.
Mantia was hired by the Lakota school board in 2011 from her position as superintendent of Pickerington Schools, south of Columbus, Ohio.
Mantia, who is Lakota’s seventh superintendent, spent the majority of her career at her Alma mater, Northmont City Schools, where she was a teacher and held various administrative positions including assistant superintendent.
In 2000, she became superintendent at Sycamore Schools in Hamilton County prior to being hired as the leader of Pickernington Schools.
Under Ohio law publicly elected school boards hire district superintendents and school district treasurers.
Mantia is nearing the end of a five-year contract that has pays her $165,000 in annual salary.
In October 2015 the board approved a new employment contract – at the same salary – that runs from Aug. 1, 2016, to July 31, 2017.
School board searches for a new superintendent generally begin prior to Jan. 1 to give boards time to interview candidates early in the calendar year and to allow current superintendents time to notify their current school board employers should they decide to leave.