CANFIELD SCHOOLS Residents favor assistant chief for promotion

The assistant superintendent said he'll stay with the district even if he's not promoted.
CANFIELD -- Assistant Schools Superintendent Dante Zambrini is going to have the support of hundreds of residents here when he applies for a promotion in the next few weeks.
Those residents stood, cheered and applauded at a school board meeting Tuesday night when the board was asked to promote Zambrini to superintendent. About 200 residents attended the meeting.
"The reason they support him is because they know him," Greenmont Drive resident Joseph Gardner told the board. "He's been a part of this community for 26 years, and he'll be here for a long time."
Don George, the president of the union that represents Canfield's teachers and tutors, noted that 596 local residents also have signed a petition asking the board to promote Zambrini.
"All of us know he's the best choice; now, so do you," Callahan Road resident Cheryl Cornelius told the board.
Jade Circle resident William Deal said he thought the district was fortunate to have the option of hiring Zambrini.
"We have the right man available to us," he said.
Change in requirements
The board planned to require those applying for superintendent to have more administrative experience than Zambrini, who has served as assistant superintendent since last year.
After hearing from several of the residents, however, the board passed a resolution stating that any Canfield school employee can apply for superintendent, regardless of experience.
Zambrini said he would apply for the job. He added that he was "honored and humbled" by the show of support.
The new superintendent would replace Doug Hiscox, who is planning to resign Jan. 31, 2003.
Mark Squicquero, school board president, said the board wouldn't think less of Zambrini because of his lack of experience as assistant superintendent. The board will require applicants from outside of the Canfield school district to have three years' experience as a superintendent or five years' experience as an assistant superintendent.
"We have to cover all the bases," Squicquero said. "We may just be knocked over by an applicant we get."
Zambrini said that he has faith in the board's application process and that he will continue to work for the district even if he is not hired as superintendent. "My commitment is to the district."
Tied to levy passage
Several residents said they felt that hiring Zambrini would help the board pass an operating levy. A 6.9-mill, five-year additional operating levy failed in the May primary.
School officials have said the district needs additional revenue to avoid going into debt and being placed in fiscal emergency by the state.
"The levy's about our future," said Marissa Koby, a 15-year-old sophomore at Canfield High School. "I know I wouldn't want anyone leading us into our future other than Mr. Zambrini."
The board had required all applicants to have three years' experience as a superintendent or five years' experience as an assistant superintendent. The requirements were adopted by consensus of the board at a meeting May 9.
Board member Martha Zarlenga, who supports hiring Zambrini and who was not at the May 9 meeting, said the board was incorrect when it set its application requirements. She encouraged residents to sue the board in an effort to have the requirements eliminated.
Squicquero said he felt only a consensus was needed to set the requirements. He added that as of Friday, the Mahoning County Educational Service Center has received 11 applications for the superintendent's job.
Squicquero said the service center will keep the applications until the June 14 application deadline. The board plans to hire a superintendent in mid-July.

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