City schools’ commission leader resigns

Staff report


Debra A. Mettee has resigned from the Academic Distress Commission for the Youngstown City Schools. Mettee served as the commission’s chairwoman.

She is also superintendent of Springfield Local Schools.

Mettee informed Stan Heffner, state superintendent of public instruction, of her decision by letter on Thursday.

The commission was appointed by the state to oversee implementation of a plan to improve the city schools.

Her decision comes at a time when the city schools are developing a new academic recovery plan, and planning to contract for services though the Mahoning Educational Service Center. An “immediate family member” is on the ESC’s governing board, her letter states.

“ ... I feel as chairperson there may be a conflict of interest, or minimally it may be perceived that there is a conflict. I do not want to cause any distraction from the focus and hard work necessary to guide the Youngstown City Schools out of academic watch.”

She also notes in her letter that Springfield is beginning a new self-funded construction project, on which she will focus.

The Academic Distress Commission in Youngstown is the first in the state and has met more than 60 times. The district improved from academic emergency on the 2008-09 and 2009-10 state report cards to academic watch on the report card released last month.

But Heffner has said that’s nothing to celebrate and that the district remains in distress. He’s said the Academic Distress Commission needs to be more aggressive.

Mettee has a 32-year career in education. Her degrees range from her master’s in education administration to a law degree she sought at night while teaching at South High School in Youngstown during the day. She also has a nursing degree.

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