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YOUNGSTOWN SCHOOLS Hathorn ‘pulls plug’ on two principals

Published: Thu, September 1, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.


By Denise Dick



The school year just started for the city district, but there’s already a shake- up within the administration.

Two principals, Wanda Clark of Williamson Elementary School and Artemus Scissum of P. Ross Berry Eighth and Ninth Grade Academy, have been removed from their posts.

Superintendent Connie Hathorn said that Scissum has been moved to an assistant principal position at East High School.

“I’ve been saying I didn’t want any hiccups when school started, and there were kids [at Berry] who didn’t have their schedules, and things were just not going as I’d expected,” Hathorn said.

Scissum’s salary at East will be $68,226. He was to make about $75,000 as Berry principal.

“That’s a very important school,” Hathorn said. “We need to improve the graduation rate and decrease the dropout rate. I didn’t want to wait until it got any worse, so I pulled the plug.”

He called it a situation of leadership.

“It just wasn’t working out,” the superintendent said.

Cinthia Christoff, formerly an assistant at East, has been moved into the principal post at Berry and will earn $75,496 this year.

“With Wanda Clark, her [principal] certificate has expired,” Hathorn said.

The certificate expired June 30 and Clark didn’t get it renewed. Principal certificates expire every five years.

Hathorn said Clark can apply for renewal, but the Williamson position has been filled with Dorothy Davis, formerly an assistant principal at University Project Learning Center. Davis will earn $83,088 annually in the Williamson slot.

Clark has been moved to a guidance counselor position at UPLC where she’ll be paid $63,727 this year. Her principal salary was to be $74,937 this year.

Lock P. Beachum Sr., school board president, said the moves are administrative decisions.

“We have confidence in Dr. Hathorn that this is what he had to do for better efficiency and for the best operation of the school,” Beachum said.


1youngstownsteve(84 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good to see Dr. Hathorn practices what he preached! It's about time someone put the kids first! Youngstown City schools look like they are finally headed in the right direction and are in good hands.

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2AtownAugie(884 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Respect for Dr. Hathorn keeps notching up! And how refreshing to have someone who truly puts kids first, and refuses to "carry" someone who is not performing. Kudos too for the board president for apparently knowing that a school board has two responsibilities, and only two: (1) set policy for the district and (2) hire and evaluate a quality superintendent to run the district under those policies -- without second-guessing the superintendent in the press. The second defines the quality of a board more than any other.

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3endthismess(463 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good moves require great decision makers. Dr. Hathron, congratulations! The message is finally out. Either do the job you applied for and got hired to do or I'll get someone who can. No more good old buddy system "hangers" getting paid to hang on and wait for their tenure and their "holy" retirement account to kick in. An education job requires educating youth. Very simple assignment with a real self discipline plan is necessary for success. So be prepared to do just that. Set the bar and be an example for students. Earn some respect for yourself. Lazy.... I forget to get my license renewed.... I didn't get organized during the summer before school started up again.... the computer program I was working with didn't print the schedules right so I didn't think I needed to look over the end results before the students come back to school again.... blah, blah, whine, whine is "out". Keep up the great work Dr. Hathron!!

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4jgm820(133 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good to see Dr. Hathorn making the adults who are paid to make things work, accountable. Goes to show that you may have your job because of who you knew, but it doesn't mean you won't have to work to keep it...

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5lefty83(313 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

If clark didn't renew her certificate she should be walkin the unemployment line.

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6Lilma(7 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

My child goes to Stambaugh Charter Academy in Youngstown. He has been arriving every day late to school, 30 - 45 minutes late, and getting home at 5:45 to 6:00 PM because of the changes and rerouting of the school buses. Hathorn says, that he's going to "take care of HIS children first", and that "parents can either wait until the bus arrives, or find other means of getting their kids to school". Also, the children are being picked-up in front of an abandoned building, a dangerous place. Children don't understand these things, they just want to be treated fairly and get to school on time. Hathorn is doing one thing, but apparently leaving other things undone.

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7DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I think this is going to be an interesting year at Youngstown City Schools.

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8browneyes27(2 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I find this quite absurd. What kind of school system is this? I am all for making improvements but the superintendent should tell the entire story. As an educator myself, in New Jersey, I find the dismissal of Mrs. Clark horrible. What Mr. Super did not mention is that Mrs. Clark's cert is in the mail. All I know is that in NJ it is matter of fact the state department on any one's certification. Truly it seems to me that there is more to this story than a cert. a simple call to the state office would have confirmed the validity of her current certificate. That is what we do in NJ It should be about the children not the humiliation of a individual. Ii happen to a relative of Mrs. Clark. I will not stop short of advising her on how to handle this most unfortunate situation. I wonder if this superintendent's credentials are up to par. We are always ready to drop the ax but not tell the entire story. There is no one that I know more concerned for children and staff than Mrs. Clark. Based upon the comments from this hick town, I guess that is not important.

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9Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

"“With Wanda Clark, her [principal] certificate has expired,” Hathorn said.

The certificate expired June 30 and Clark didn’t get it renewed. Principal certificates expire every five years. "

What is so hard about getting it renewed? Shouldn't be that difficult.
I have to renew my Certification every 2 years and I make sure it's up to date even before it expires. A no brainier. Common sense.

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10YtownParent(1003 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Mr. Hawthorne! It is simple, students cannot learn from responsibility and accountability from educators who aren't held responsible and accountable for their mistakes and poor judgement.

Ditto Dwight. It will be an interesting year. Strategically, by clearly and decisively holding district employees accountable, Superintendent Hawthorne is in a much better position to hold parents to the same standards.

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11Woody2720(8 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

How did Mrs. Clark explain to Dr. Hathorn why 5 teachers bid out of her building this summer? I guess there may be more to the story and Dr. Hathorn's action! As for the principal at P Ross, I know one way the district can save an additional $68,226.

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12browneyes27(2 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Because her life is personal I will not bother to disclose the personal trama that has happened in her life. I guess most of you hicks have no personal issues and cannot understand such an oversight. God is in control I wish she'd come to Jersey and not have to work there for that chump change any way. She is way too good for any of you anyway. Go blow all of you. These are my words not nothing close to what she would say. The Superintendent is a poor excuse and a punk for picking on such a humble person. what man is named Connie any way?

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13crimelander(122 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Connie Hathorn seems to be a on good roll now.

Unsure if the basis truly exists to fire these folks however. Very shaky and somewhat arbitrary stuff. Were these folks put on probationary type notice and messed up multiple times? Doesn't seem like it.

Youngstown should expect two lawsuits from the aggrieved to follow.

It's going to take quite a bit more than firing folks to change the district.

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14Cherokeealb(2 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I normally keep my comments to myself, but I cannot this time. People should know what they are talking about before they defame a person's good name. Wanda Clark is an "AWESOME" person and Administrator. To the person who made the comment regarding the 5 staff members that left Williamson, you really don't have a clue what you are talking about. Maybe they left because it was time for them to leave ...I have always said "subtraction is as good as addition...provided the "right" one leaves. To Browneyes27, you are on the money as far as her character, and although you want her in Jersey, you can't have her, But thank you for speaking-up on her behalf. We love her and can't wait until she is where "God" has ordained her to be...this Test will be her Testimony !!!!!!!!

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15Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

"Go blow all of you."

Real professional. And you work in the New Jersey School System. That is scary.

"People should know what they are talking about before they defame a person's good name."
<<"The Superintendent is a poor excuse and a punk for picking on such a humble person. what man is named Connie any way?">>

Seems like your doing the same thing with the above comment. And that is OK?

"I guess most of you hicks have no personal issues and cannot understand such an oversight."

Hicks?? You are funny. So you clump all the whole city as hicks because someone didn't renew there certification and had to move in another position. Maybe you need to renew your certification also. smh

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16Lilma(7 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Since we're on the Connie subject, he says that he'll pay parents to transport their own children. The stipend is a measly $189.28 for THE YEAR, payable at the END of the year. With gas prices the way they are good luck making it to school and back with that. Here's the story... http://www.wkbn.com/content/news/loca...

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17BusDriver(46 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Bottom line if your a teacher or any job you know the rules of your job, you know what is expected of you, to assume your not going to have consequences to not doing what your suppose to is on you.

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18Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago


You are going across town to a charter school BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. Transfer to a public school, or drive the children yourself.

How can you want to be paid for driving your own child to a faraway school that you want to go to?

There are plenty of public, Catholic, and charter schools that you pass on the way. Heck. There is a charter school in the old Roosevelt building and a charter school in the old Immaculate Conception building. There is a public school where North High School previously stood (now called Martin Luther King).

If you live closer to Wilson Avenue, you can cross the bridge to attend Williamson, Taft, Wilson, a charter school in the old St. Dominic's building, etc. Oh... Youngstown Community School, a charter near Williamson, Southside Academy, a charter school that used to be St. Dominics. Go down Wilson Avenue or Oak St. to downtown and there is ACLD, a charter school near Choffin.

Get the idea? There are more schools than McDonald's these days. Your child is attending a franchise of National Heritage Academies, a national corporate system for profit.
You are already forcing the taxpayer to enrich that company, so why don't you just give a rest to taking more of our funds?

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19Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm sorry. I meant to write "Southside Academy, a charter school that used to be Eagle Heights".

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20Just_me(18 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Last year when the consultant from Mosaica identified 3 principals as ineffective, all were caucasian. Everyone knew that these two were ineffective yet they WERE protected- Why? Because they were black and the consultant was black? Look back at the hiring process of Artemus Scissum and the decline of the building under his leadership. Ineffectiveness knows no color- thank you Dr. Hathorn!

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21Maisco(3 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I want to share my thoughts regarding the decision made by Dr. Hathorn to pull the plug. I have been in meetings with this guy and he is very straight forward when it comes to accountability. Thank God the district has someone in leadership who wants to move the district to another level. It is not his fault Mrs. Clark did not renew her license. If you do your homework, she can not be a principal without a certificate, so that one is a no brainer. You cannot legally drive without a license because you have family problems. Mr. Scissum did not have schedules ready for students when school started, now is that a fault of Hathorn. Our students need better leadership from their principal. Hathorn did what he had to do and he deserves a pat on the back not a slap in the face for showing leadership and holding employees accountable. Thank you Dr. Hathorn, you have my support

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22Lilma(7 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago


I thank God that we have a choice other than YCS, which were labeled recently as worse in the state and in academic emergency. However, they are making "improvements" like installing METAL DETECTORS! Perhaps you don't care about sending your children to schools like that, but we do. We CHOSE to send our children to Stambaugh Charter Academy, which is in YOUNGSTOWN by the way. It's a better school, in my opinion, than most of the city's public schools that our children attended before. Also, STATE LAW requires public schools to provide transportation to community/charter, non-public, and parochial schools as long as it is requested by the parents. Transportation must be provided according to the same guidelines as those established for residents attending public schools in the district, which is where the problem is. Our children are not receiving "the same guidelines as those established for residents attending public schools." So we do have a right to stand up and challenge those who are trying to hinder our children's progress by not providing what the law requires. All that "taxpayer" talk is hogwash and you know it. Where do you think the money came from for those METAL DETECTORS for YCS? If NHA is providing a better school, better place for learning, steady and consistent academic growth, then my tax dollars are being well spent. Furthermore, our only and major concern is for our children, their safety, and what's best for them, not who's pockets our tax dollars are lining.

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23Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

It is NOT TRUE that you are asking for equal transportation service as the students of YCS. Students of the public school do not get transportation across town to the schools of their choice. When they use the open enrollment option to attend another public school IN or OUT of the district, they provide their own transportation.

The test scores of Stambaugh Charter School are not superior to the other West Side Public Schools, such as McGuffey, Kirkmere and Volney Rogers. If the Youngstown district had a problem with their state ratings, then so should Stambaugh Academy.

As for criticizing the efforts of the Youngstown superintendent to provide safety, you might want to look around the neighborhood of Stambaugh. Don't look far. Stand at the front door and look directly across the street at one of the most notorious low-income housing blocks in the city. Notice the grown men standing around outside the apartments.
You might want some protection right at Stambaugh.

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24Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I went to the Ohio Department of Education Website to check the school's report cards to make sure that I was right.

The West Side Schools all have the rating
"Continuous Improvement", including Stambaugh.
The performance index ratings are similiar, although those for McGuffey and Kirkmere are a little higher than Stambaugh, and Volney a little lower.

Rayen Early College Middle School housed at Chaney had an Excellent Rating.

Your opinion of Stambaugh is not reflected in data.

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25Lilma(7 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago


Please stop. You're making yourself look dumb. Get yourself a copy of the Youngstown City School District request for transportation application and try really hard to read it, or have your superintendent read it for you. It says exactly what I wrote. Besides, Stambaugh is within the Youngstown City school district, duh! Children are school bused to Stambaugh from all over Youngstown. We had no problem for 5 years since Stambaugh first opened until now. Our children were picked up, transported to the school, and were always on time. Apparently, this new superintendent, Connie Hathorn, screwed everything all up. Why try to fix something that isn't broken? And another thing, the neighborhood around Stambaugh is not like you described. It's mainly residential with a ball park/field next to it where children play sports. Stambaugh has not only accelerated in academic growth, but it has exceeded, and that's why it's catching so much flak. Let's see what happens this year in YCS, if it anything like in this video from last year then, "this is going to be an interesting year at Youngstown City Schools". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDqzHN...

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