Struthers replaces chief of schools

By William K. Alcorn

Robert Rostan received a three-year contract at $89,500 a year.

STRUTHERS — Robert Rostan, superintendent of Leetonia Schools, is Struthers’ new superintendent of schools as of Jan. 1, 2009.

Rostan, 54, was hired by the Struthers Board of Education following a brief executive session during a 4:30 p.m. special meeting Tuesday.

He will replace Donald Dailey, who became interim Struthers superintendent nearly a year ago. He replaced Sandra DiBacco, who resigned as Struthers superintendent to take the head job at Beaver Local School District.

Rostan received a three-year contract at a salary of $89,500 a year plus the board will pick up his retirement fund contribution, which amounts to $8,950 a year, said Dean Burns, board president.

Rostan, a Girard High School graduate, has been Leetonia superintendent since 2006. Before that, he was an administrator in the Poland School District and was also the Struthers High School principal for two years before that, Burns said.

Rostan and his wife, Nancy, live in Boardman and have two sons: Andrew in California and Marc, a senior at Boardman High School.

This was the Struthers board’s second try at hiring a permanent superintendent. In May, the board had selected two finalists for the job from among 17 applicants and appeared to be ready to name a new superintendent.

The then-finalists were James A. Ciccolelli, former Campbell schools superintendent, and Lori Saunders, special services coordinator for Struthers schools. But the board became deadlocked and asked Dailey, who retired as superintendent of Boardman schools in 2004, to continue until July 31, 2009.

Dailey agreed to the extension. However, he said recently the start-up of the new school year reminded him of how much work being a superintendent is, and he realized he was ready to be really retired. He said he would not leave the district in a lurch, but also said he urged the board to move quickly to find a permanent replacement.

Dailey had high praise for the Struthers School District. He called it the “best kept educational secret in the Mahoning Valley.”

“I’ve gained a lot of respect for the district and I wouldn’t feel good about leaving unless it is in good hands,” he said.

Dailey said he is always quick to point out that the accomplishments of the students, such as achieving an excellent rating, didn’t happen just in the time he has been here. “It is a work in progress started by the previous superintendent and staff,” he said.

People in the educational network know about the quality of Struthers schools, and the pride and history and tradition of the schools and the city, he said.

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