BLANCHESTER —Rick Hosler had the vocal support of nearly everyone in the audience at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Students, parents, faculty and residents made their feelings clear about the Blanchester High School principal.
However, the board decided it would accept the separation agreement and accompanying resignation of Hosler as principal and approved of his immediate re-employment as a certified employee. The motion was passed with four votes. Todd Bandow abstained.
Hosler was put on paid administrative leave in November 2015 and returned to work at the school in January 2016. The next month, Hosler issued a rebuttal to a letter of reprimand, denying incidents of unprofessional conduct from the 2013-2014 school year as well as an incident in November 2015.
During the public participation section of the meeting, several locals spoke in support of Hosler. Among them was Jon Mulvihill, a computer science teacher at Blanchester High School. He spoke on a behalf of the teachers who supported Hosler.
“There’s one reason we stay here year after year — the climate,” said Mulvihill. “Many substitute teachers compliment our building, saying our students present themselves very well.”
Mulvihill attributed many achievements of the high school to Hosler’s work as a leader. These including adding more AP courses and college credit courses for students, and higher test scores that students earned.
He also criticized a 14-page report (which was recently published in the News Journal) which he said painted the school “in a bad light.”
“The teachers just wanted to make sure that the public understood that the things in the report weren’t all true,” said Mulvihill. “We fully support Rick Hosler and everything he does. I think the decision he made was what’s best for him.”
Another speaker, Dwayne Dearth, who plans to run for the school board in November, was critical of how the board had handled things. He said he viewed their decision as “unjust.”
Sstudents also spoke out. Sophomore Molly Campbell presented the board with a petition supporting Hosler that had 1,287 signatures. According to Campbell, the petition will be sent to Ohio Department of Education in the hopes of keeping Hosler as principal.
“He is incredibly important to the well-being of students, staff and the entire school,” said Campbell. “Mr. Hosler sees the good in every student no matter the background.”
Another sophomore, Abby Babcock, shared comments made from the online version of the petition. The comments were made by graduates of Blanchester High who live outside the district or even outside the state.
“I am so disgusted by the board,” said Babcock. “I don’t understand why they would do this to the students at Blanchester High School and the community.”
Both Babcock and Campbell said Hosler is the best principal they’ve known.
The next step for the school district, according to Superintendent Dean Lynch, is to post the high school principal position’s opening, select an interviewing committee, review resumes, and schedule interviews.
In regards to Hosler, Lynch said, “School districts experience many personnel moves during the summer months. Therefore, Mr. Hosler’s situation is currently very fluid at this time.
“He has many good qualities, and I’m confident his new role will be compatible with his strengths and experiences.”