SCHOOLS Bristol superintendent fills post at Lowellville
Nero will leave Bristol schools, a district in fiscal emergency.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
LOWELLVILLE -- The Lowellville Board of Education has appointed Rocco Nero new superintendent of schools. Nero, superintendent at Bristol schools, will leave that post July 1 after four years on the job.
"We think he's going to be a good fit. He's got a lot of energy," said Lowellville Board of Education President Roy Palumbo. "We want to stay an excellent school district. ... I think he'll definitely continue what we have and grow from there."
Nero, a Lowellville native, said he's "very happy" about the new position.
"They have done an excellent job, the teachers and administrators down there. My goal will be to work with them to continue that excellence," he said.
Nero will replace Lowellville Superintendent Richard J. Buchenic, who is leaving, effective Oct. 1, to take over as superintendent of Hubbard schools. He has served as Lowellville superintendent for 11 years.
Nero leaves Bristol, a district in fiscal emergency, as the board there works toward getting a five-year, 6.9-mill levy passed in August. Voters rejected levies on the November 2003 and March 2004 ballots.
Among other cuts, a state financial planning and supervision commission appointed to oversee district finances has voted to cut costs by closing Farmington Elementary at the end of this school year and by eliminating high-school busing next school year.
The board recently approved a pay-to-participate plan in which pupils would be charged to play sports.
"It's a difficult time for everybody," Nero said. "But it was an opportunity I could not pass up." He said the Bristol board will meet soon to decide which direction to take.
Most recent state Department of Education report card data shows Lowellville performing better than any district in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, based on proficiency test scores and other data.
The Lowellville district has received top excellent ratings on report cards over the past two years. Bristol schools fall two rankings lower, in the continuous improvement category.
Palumbo said Nero and one other candidate were interviewed by the board after the review of several candidates by a 10-member committee.
Nero, of Cortland, graduated from Lowellville High School in 1972. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and health and a master's degree in educational administration, both from Youngstown State University.
He began his teaching career in the Lakeview schools and has held administrative positions in the Joseph Badger, Howland and Bristol districts. He also worked as supervisor of curriculum for the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, which provides support services to districts across the county.