By EMMALEE C. TORISK
The board of education has decided to keep the previous superintendent, Tom Robey, as a part-time consultant for the first five months of new Superintendent Matthew Bowen’s contract.
This decision is part of the district’s “transition plan,” which involves Robey’s helping several new administrators “transition into their new jobs,” he said. Aside from Bowen, new administrative hires for the district include an assistant high-school principal, the elementary-school principal and the special-services director.
“I’ll be mentoring those administrators, so they’re prepared when teachers, children and parents come to school,” Robey said. “We’ll make sure everything is running effectively and efficiently.”
Per the board’s repositioning agreement, Robey will work no more than 30 days between Aug. 1 and the year’s end, while his compensation, including benefits, will not exceed $16,000. His last day as superintendent was July 31.
Robey was hired by Campbell City Schools in 2005 at an annual salary of $86,085 — which increased over the past eight years to $96,101, a raise that is in line with the district’s administrative salary schedule, said Nora Montanez, treasurer.
Robey’s contract didn’t officially expire until July 31, 2014, but in late September of last year, he indicated that he would retire no later than Dec. 31, 2013, said James Cioffi, board president.
The problem was that Robey’s intended retirement date — though at the end of the calendar year — fell midway through the academic year, Cioffi said.
“The board said, ‘If we wait till the end of the year to look for a superintendent, we’re going to have trouble. Most will already have jobs,’” he said. “We said, ‘We have to do it earlier.’”
Subsequently, both the board and Robey agreed to modifications to the existing 260-day superintendent contract, and began interviewing candidates for the position in March.
By May, Cioffi said, board members had decided upon Bowen, who most recently was an elementary-school principal for West Branch Local Schools and also had served in administrative roles at Struthers City Schools. The board hired Bowen at an annual starting salary of $96,440, Montanez said.
“He was very energetic,” Cioffi said. “He just sold himself with his answers to the questions that we asked him.”
Bowen, who lives in Canfield with his wife and three children, said he’s looking forward to spending the first several months of his appointment learning about the district, the community, and “students’ hopes and dreams.”
He added that he’s also happy to welcome Brad Yeager, from Niles City Schools, as the assistant high-school principal, and Rachael Smith, whose previous experience includes administrative positions at Youngstown City Schools and Columbiana Exempted Village Schools, as the special-services director.
Ryan Stowell, a music teacher at Campbell Elementary School, will serve as the elementary-school principal until early September, when Robert Walls can officially begin, which is in accordance with “retire- rehire” laws, Bowen said.
With the exception of Walls, these administrators are new to the district, Robey said, so, in his role as consultant, he’ll “generally just be here to answer questions that they have.”
“It’s nice helping administrators so that they can do a great job,” Robey said. “It’s a nice way to end your career.”