WAYNESFIELD — Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools Superintendent Joanne Kerekes officially announced she will be leaving the school district in approximately one month to take a state position covering the region.
Kerekes confirmed reports from district workers, administrators and village residents this morning that she has taken a job with Race to the Top, a product of 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Kerekes has been hired to fill a regional position for Race to the Top which works out of the Auglaize County Educational Service Center office in Wapakoneta. The northwest region of Race to the Top covers 105 school districts.
Kerekes said she has gained experience for her new job through her involvement with Waynesfield’s shift to Race to the Top.
“The new position focuses on many of the same processes that we are using here,” Kerekes said. “Race to the Top is altering instruction so that all students are achieving.”
Kerekes said she hopes to begin her new position by Nov. 1.
Kerekes said that while participating in Race to the top is currently optional, that schools will likely be required to participate in the near future.
Race to the Top is administrated by the Ohio Department of Education. It awards points for satisfying educational policies such as performance-based standards for teachers and principals, complying with nationwide standards, and promoting charter schools and computerization.
Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools Board of Education President Tom Brookhart said school board members had been notified of Kerekes’ plans to leave and that they plan to act swiftly to find an interim superintendent.
“We have been notified of her acceptance of the new position and that she will be submitting her resignation at the next board meeting,” Brookhart said. “We are currently in the process of collecting a list of ex-superintendents for a temporary position.
“While it is not official yet we are going to move forward as if she has already resigned,” he said. “We knew she would be leaving within the next year so we were somewhat ready.”
Depending on the time it takes to contact interested interim superintendents, Brookhart said board members would possibly have a special meeting prior to its scheduled Oct. 11 date.
“We are glad that she has a new job and we wish her the best of luck with her career,” Brookhart said.
The announcement ends a tumultuous three-year tenure for Kerekes as superintendent and five years overall at the school. In February, school board members made known their intention to not renew her contract when it was to elapse on July 31, 2012. Speaking on behalf of the board, Brookhart noted board members came to the decision, stating “without getting into any details, we are not satisfied with the overall situation of the district and the way we are going. We have decided its time to make a change.”
Brookhart said at that time that an employee evaluation dating back to September of 2010 led to the decision.
The summary of the evaluation stated that morale, lack of team effort, finances, public relations, and curriculum development were among the problem areas during Kerekes’ tenure. Comments on the evaluation were listed as given by the board as a whole rather than individual statements.
However, under Kerekes’ administration, the school district achieved a score of 21 on its school report card released by the state in August, the school’s highest score it had achieved since the scores were initiated.
Kerekes said she leaves with the satisfaction that the district is on the right path and that she has no hard feelings.
“I think the test scores speak for themselves,” Kerekes said. “There is a lot of work to be done, but I think the district is well on its way. I think we have made great strides with student achievement.”