Public invited to take part in selection process for Lakota Schools superintendent

Lakota Local Schools officials are asking for the public’s input on their pending decision as to which of the finalists for the district’s superintendent position they should hire.

And one of the four finalists for the superintendent’s job at Butler County’s largest school system has dropped out.

Lakota officials are encouraging residents in the 17,500-student district, which enrolls students from West Chester and Liberty townships, to share — via an online portal — what questions they have for the candidates seeking to be the school system’s next leader.

The Lakota Board of Education has also requested and is getting assistance in the superintendent search and finalist interviews from representatives of the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA), of which Lakota is a member.

Via a “ThoughtExchange” website, school officials are asking residents to not only submit their questions but also rate other submitted questions from the public.

Those top-rated questions will then be asked of the three finalists on June 27 as each will also be available for 30 minute, in-person Q&A sessions at Lakota West High School in West Chester Twp.

It’s the first time in Lakota’s long-history the governing school board has conducted a superintendent search and hire using these methods.

Under Ohio law, publicly elected school boards hire superintendents and district treasurers by a majority vote of its members.

One board member — Darbi Boddy — has said she removed herself from the candidate review and hiring process, claiming she was not allowed to ask questions she wanted to of the finalists.

According to a statement recently released by Lakota officials, “during each (Q&A) session, a facilitator will ask the featured finalist the top-rated questions from the community ThoughtExchange open through noon on June 27.”

“At the conclusion of each session, attendees will be invited to share their feedback through a brief survey. Results will be shared with the board as they begin deliberations later that evening following their second round of interviews.”

“Regardless of your intent to attend the in-person Q&A sessions, all are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the community ThoughtExchange. This will help us prioritize the most important questions for our facilitator,” said school officials.

Finalist Todd Petrey, a former Lakota principal and former Springboro Schools superintendent in Warren County and most recently chief operations officer for Mason Schools, has withdrawn as a candidate.

The separate Q&A sessions will take place in the cafeteria at Lakota West High School, at 8940 Union Centre Blvd., according to the following schedule: 3:30 to 4 p.m. with finalist Jason Spencer; 4:30 to 5 p.m. with Ashley Whitely and 5:30 to 6 p.m. with Michael Acomb.

Lakota officials have previously said they are planning to pick a new superintendent by the end of this month.

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