GIRARD SCHOOLS Santillo focuses on the future

Girard's new superintendent is no stranger to building construction.
GIRARD -- Marty Santillo is more interested in the future than he is in the past.
"I need to concern myself with where we're at and where we need to go," Girard's new superintendent of schools said, as classes get ready to resume Aug. 26.
The 56-year-old Santillo was hired by the board of education, replacing Joseph Shoaf, 36, who resigned May 10 and was subsequently charged after being accused of using cocaine in his office with a female student.
Shoaf's indictment is one of a series of distractions in the district, including the closing of the intermediate school because of health issues and the ongoing attempt by a citizens group to remove some school board members.
"What's happened has happened," Santillo said. "There are lot of challenges here. That's what attracted me."
As far as Shoaf's legal problems are concerned, Santillo said they haven't been an issue for him.
Santillo said he feels comfortable with this community because he knows so many people, having served as Girard High School assistant principal from 1977 to 1984.
Problems corrected
The intermediate school has been closed since May 1, 2001. Since then, classes have been conducted at the junior high school and former Tod Woods School.
Santillo said he's confident the remedial work has corrected the problems with the building -- to the best of his knowledge -- and parents should not be concerned about sending their children to school.
As of late, there have been two condensation leaks in the intermediate building, and water splashed onto a hallway during a heavy rain. Their causes have been repaired, Santillo said.
"We've been on top of it," he asserted.
At Prospect Elementary School, the installation of a fire sprinkling system is expected to be completed before classes begin this month.
With a change in the administration structure, Santillo said he will able to concentrate on facilities.
New position
The school board has created the position of administrative assistant to the superintendent. Former high school principal Joseph Jeswald has been appointed to the position.
Ronald Ragozine, former high school assistant principal, became principal, replacing Jeswald.
Santillo said Jeswald will be responsible for curriculum, while he focuses on the physical plant.
And he's familiar with construction.
While serving as superintendent at the Bristol School District in Trumbull County from 1991 to 1999, $10 million was spent on new construction and remodeling.
In addition to a two-year contract that pays him $75,000 the first year, he's retired as superintendent of Richmond Heights Local Schools and has a pension.
He proudly describes himself as a "straight shooter."
As part of his management style, Santillo said he leaves his principals running their buildings, with weekly meetings with them so they know what's going on in the district.
"I do get hands on when I need to be," he added quickly.
Santillo has two objectives: continue working toward improving education and bring the community together to reach that common goal.

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