Three Vying For Chardon Superintendent’s Post
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Three Cleveland area school administrators have been selected as finalists in the search for a new superintendent for Chardon Schools.
They are Painesville Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr., Willoughby South High School Principal Paul Lombardo and Brunswick Schools Assistant Superintendent Joelle Magyar.
Hanlon has been an educator for 29 years and Painesville superintendent since 1998.
He was involved in overseeing a five-year, $91 million construction project that resulted in the building of new kindergarten through 12th-grade school facilities.
Hanlon said he began as a teacher at Mentor Schools before eventually becoming assistant superintendent in Painesville in 1995.
Chardon “is an exceptional community with an excellent track record of high levels student achievement," he said, adding CHardon Schools "provide an excellent fit to leadership experiences I’ve had in the course of my career.”
Brunswick Superintendent Michael Mayell said Magyar has been with Brunswick Schools three years and is a “wonderful assistant superintendent.”
“She is very good with people and students. I would hate to see her go, but I know she is ready for the next step,” Mayell said.
Magyar, who has been in education 15 years, said she began her education career as a teacher in the Cleveland City school district before becoming an assistant principal at a Twinsburg school.
Ironically, Magyar said she is competing for the Chardon post against Hanlon, who she credits for mentoring her while she was principal at Painesville’s Huntington Elementary School in 2004.
She closed that school a year later and opened the Elm Street Elementary School before becoming Painesville’s director of student services.
“If I l lost this to him (Hanlon) ... well he is a great guy and, like I said, he mentored me,” Magyar said.
Lombardo has been principal of Willoughby South High School for eight years.
He has been employed in the district for 14 years as a math teacher, football, track and girl’s softball coach, and administrator.
He is nearing completion on a doctorate in education specializing in student motivation.
“I feel I am ready to make the next step and Chardon has always been a place that I have been connected to,” said Lombardo.
A gunman shot at Willoughby South students and faculty four years ago, but didn’t harm anyone, he said.
“So, with what happened in Chardon last Feb. 27, I have felt a connection with Chardon and the people of Chardon, plus it’s just great to have this opportunity,” Lombardo said.
Hanlon, Magyar and Lombando each said they are aware of Chardon Schools' financial problems and several school levy failures.
Each said they want to evaluate the strategies that have worked or not worked during prior levy campaigns, carefully look at school district budgets and initiate levy efforts that create funding voters can accept.
All three candidates can be interviewed by the public during a special 6 p.m. Feb. 5 school board meeting in the Chardon Middle School’s Large Group Instructional Room.
Chardon Schools Communications Coordinator Ellen Ondrey said each candidate is to meet with interested people, school district staff and administrators, after which the board hopes to reach a consensus about who should be offered the superintendent’s job.
“The road runs both ways,” said Karen Blankenship, school board president. “They’re (candidates) interviewing us and our district as much as we are interviewing them."
She added all three finalists “have the qualifications and experience we’re searching for, but it’s a matter of finding the right fit for our district and community."
The school board anticipates having a replacement for Superintendent Joe Bergant in place before Bergant retires in June, Blankenship said.
“We look forward to a smooth and positive transition,” she added.
Bergant announced his intention to retire in late 2011, although he chose to remain until this June at the school board’s request following the deadly Feb. 27, 2012, shooting at Chardon High School.
The board said it felt Bergant’s retention would help facilitate the “healing process” within the school district.
The board re-initiated the superintendent’s search in October with the help of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), which screened 24 applicants before forwarding them to the board for its review, board Vice President David Fairbanks said.
The board narrowed the list of applicants to 10 semifinalists from which Hanlon, Lombardo and Magyar were selected following a series of recent executive session board meetings, he said.
The candidates met with the board during closed-door meetings, Fairbanks said.
“I think they (the finalists) are all a good fit, but we want the community to meet and talk with them as part of the (selection) process before we make our choice,” he said.
The board hopes make a final selection by or soon after its Feb. 11 meeting, he said.