1. It’s not his first experience on leave
As former Northwestern Schools (Clark County) superintendent, Orr was told not to report to work starting in late May 2015 until his contract ended in July and he left to lead Hamilton City Schools. No public allegations of misconduct were made against Orr. He and the board came to a transition agreement, Orr said at the time.
2. Orr has upset area Catholic school families
In 2017, this news outlet was the first to report that Orr sent out a letter to school families in the city that touted his district in comparison to “some non-public schools” while contending — though not directly naming — that Cincinnati Archdiocese Schools and other private learning institutions lack the resources and expertise of the city’s public schools.
The letter was part of a new promotional campaign by Hamilton Schools to solicit private school families into considering enrolling their children instead in the city’s public schools.
The letter elicited a sharp response by some school families from the city’s Catholic Badin High School.
3. Orr is no fan of the Ohio Department of Education when it comes to mandated testing of students
Since his hiring in 2015, Orr has been the most vocal superintendent in Southwest Ohio in criticizing state education officials and their annual report card on public school districts.
Orr’s tenure as the city’s school leader has been marked by both incremental success in some academic areas but also contentiousness with state officials, whom he has criticized frequently for mandating too many student tests and then unfairly using those results to compile what he describes as annual report cards that misrepresent the city schools.
4. Orr replaced a local legend
His hiring in 2015 came after long-time Hamilton Schools Superindent Janet Baker, who oversaw the 10,000-student district for 23 years and supervised the construction of 10 new school buildings during her tenure.
5. In 2017, Orr had his contracted extended until 2020
His annual salary is $156,818.
One board member, Tom Alf, voted against the contract. In 2015, Alf had joined the board in a unanimous vote to hire Orr. He declined to explain his “no” vote in 2017.