WILMINGTON — A total of 19 individuals have applied to be the next superintendent of Wilmington City Schools (WCS).
The goal, said current WCS Superintendent Ron Sexton, is to have a new superintendent named by April 1.
Sexton is retiring after 37 years with the school district as a teacher, coach, high school principal and the superintendent. His retirement will go into effect on the last day of July, as previously reported.
During Monday’s school board meeting, Patrick Zerby was sworn into office as an appointed board member to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Snarr stepped down to initiate retirement with the State Teachers Retirement System.
Zerby believes that a strong district academic report card, coupled with good athletics and extra-curricular programs, inspires community involvement and stimulates area growth. His goal as a board member is to focus on student achievement and to support policies that will ensure success for all students, according to the biographical information on the WCS website.
Zerby is getting ready to retire after 33 years in the U.S. Air Force.
“Since I’m retiring, I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally be able to do something like this,” he said. He has three children in the school system, one a junior and two in eighth grade.
The Wilmington Schools Foundation presented a $27,203 donation Monday for special projects in the district. The Foundation’s purpose is to provide financial strength for innovations and enhancements of the school system.
Foundation board President Steven Haines reported that WCS faculty and staff have increased their giving to the Foundation through payroll deductions in each of the past four years. This year, 133 faculty members and staffers donated $13,776.
In the most recent round of Foundation projects, all district elementary students will be able to go on an off-campus field trip this academic year, something that hasn’t occurred for a long time, said Haines.
In a principal’s report, Wilmington High School Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart honored two WHS vo-ag students, Nick Battrell and Austin West, for winning the district competition in tractor trouble shooting repair. They will compete at the state level this Thursday and Friday at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
At the district contest, there were six pieces of agricultural equipment, each with two things wrong with them. For the first time in three years among contestants at the district level, the team of Battrell and West were able to succeed at all six stations within the 20-minute deadlines.
“That is remarkable,” said McCarty-Stewart.
The two FFA members from WHS had never seen one of the pieces of equipment before, the principal said, but still were able to know what to do.
McCarty-Stewart said Battrell and West benefited from a community member who served as a coach to help them learn how to fix mechanical problems with agricultural equipment.
“It takes a real strong community to provide these kind of opportunities,” McCarty-Stewart said.
Denver Place Elementary School Principal Karen Long reported about that building’s daily homeroom morning meeting, an initiative begun this school year.
Students and their homeroom teachers gather in a circle, generally on the carpet, for 15 minutes. They do greetings where they use each other’s names, look the other person in the eye and use a firm handshake, said Long.
There is a time for the children to share special things about themselves, and if time permits, there’s a group activity, she added.
There’s usually a morning message or theme for the day.
One-hundred percent of the teachers have indicated it is time well spent, and something they and the children look forward to, reported Long.
East End Elementary School counselor Brook McCoy, who works with the young students individually as well as in small groups, spoke about a group of fifth-graders who this year with McCoy have over the course of time formed a forum for open discussion.
After originally talking about problem solving and team building and learning the importance of “listening to listen rather than listening to speak,” a discussion was begun on the importance of supporting each other and the people in the building, McCoy said.
Group members now are known as the “Kindness Ninjas,” and they have completed a project in which 80 to 100 small notes of positive expressions were hid in books at the school library. They have worked on another project with “peace rocks” that also include positive phrases. They hope to hide the rocks on the playground, said McCoy.
The students in the group each made “a conscious decision to help others and to spread kindness,” the counselor added.
Holmes Elementary Principal Carrie Zeigler reported that discipline referrals are down by 185 referrals compared to the same time last year. She attributed it to a revamped incentive program at the building that strictly focuses on positives and on positive recognition for following expectations.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.