Q & A: Lakota superintendent finalists meet with public

For the first time, applicants for Lakota Local Schools’ top leadership job met with and answered questions submitted by residents of Butler County’s largest school system.

The new twist to Lakota’s superintendent hiring process, which is being conducted by the Lakota school board, saw the three remaining finalists answering questions sent in earlier by the public in response to an online solicitation by school system.

The three candidates each participated in 30-minute question and answer sessions Tuesday open to the public and conducted at Lakota West High School.

“We appreciate everyone who attended our meet the candidates’ event,” said Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for the 17,500-student Lakota Schools.

“Our community had the opportunity to hear from the three finalists in our superintendent search as they answered top-rated questions from our community-wide ThoughtExchange (online) survey.”

“Following each question-and-answer session, the audience was able to share their feedback with the board through a quick survey,” said Fuller, who added the school board then met with the three candidates for their final interviews.

The survey answers from audience members now go to members of the Lakota Board of Education, who had previously said they planned to pick a new superintendent by the end of this month but have not since provided a date for the board’s vote on the hire.

The board is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. today at the Lakota East Freshman Auditorium, 7630 Bethany Lane in Liberty 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.

Vying for the superintendent role are: Michael Acomb - Director of Business & Personnel/Chief Operating Officer, Solon City Schools; Jason Spencer - Director of School Leadership, Cincinnati Public Schools and Ashley Whitely - Assistant Superintendent, Wyoming City Schools in Hamilton County.

Former Lakota school board candidate Douglas Horton went on social media Wednesday and gave his assessment of the superintendents’ Q & A sessions and said in his opinion Whitely was the frontrunner for the job.

“It is clear that Ashley Whitely is the only finalist for Superintendent that can deliver” on overcoming the challenges faced by Lakota Schools, said Horton.

“Whitely garnered clear consensus across all the tables of those who attended that she has both the communication skills and pedological expertise to progress the educational opportunities for all of our students.”

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