School superintendent turnover surges locally
A nationwide churn of K-12 superintendents is being felt in Ohio, with three of the state's five largest school districts cementing changes this month due to retirements.
Why it matters: Following years of pandemic disruptions, stable leadership is essential to helping students recover and stay on track.
Zoom in: By next school year, 13 of 19 Columbus-area districts, or 68%, will have changed superintendents since 2020, per our analysis.
The big picture: Nationwide, half of the nation's 500 largest school districts had a disruption or change in leadership between March 1, 2020, and September 1, 2022, per a study by Rhode Island consulting firm ILO Group.
- That's a 46% increase from the two prior years, before the stressors of COVID and culture wars.
- Plus: Many baby boomer superintendents are reaching retirement age.
State of play: Olentangy, the area's biggest suburban district, announced over the weekend that chief operations officer Todd Meyer will be its next superintendent.
- Cleveland hired a new superintendent last week from Indianapolis, our Axios Cleveland colleagues report.
Meanwhile, Columbus City Schools (CCS) will conduct final interviews this week with three finalists: Brian McDonald, of Pasadena, California; George (Eric) Thomas, of Minneapolis; and interim superintendent Angela Chapman.
- Board meetings are scheduled for 4pm Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
Between the lines: Finding school leaders is costly, with districts often spending tens of thousands of public dollars — in Columbus' case, it could be as much as $250,000.
Of note: CCS hired local law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister to be the intermediary between a search firm and a communications firm. That means all documents related to its superintendent search, including a list of applicants, are shielded from public records law due to attorney-client privilege, the district says.
- The local NAACP branch criticized that interpretation last week, just before the district hosted a public forum with its three finalists. Some residents also questioned it during a town hall meeting last month.
What we're watching: The CCS school board "anticipates making a decision" this week, a spokesperson tells Axios.
- Westerville is in the early stages of a search and is expected to announce its new superintendent on Aug. 1.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to say the Columbus Board of Education will meet Tuesday, in addition to Monday and Friday.
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