By KALEA HALL
From the moment his former elementary school principal asked to shoot baskets with him, David Janofa knew he wanted to be an education administrator.
“You truly don’t know the impact you have on young people,” Janofa said. That moment “changed my life.”
After working his way up as teacher, coach, to principal and superintendent, Janofa is now superintendent of Poland schools.
“Being from the Valley, I knew what a special place Poland schools was,” Janofa said.
Janofa’s roots in Salem encouraged him to relocate from his superintendent position for the Sandy Valley School District in Stark County, which he had for the last seven years.
The Salem High School graduate achieved his dream of becoming an educator, thanks to a football scholarship received from Youngstown State University. Janofa played under former Youngstown State University and Ohio State University Coach Jim Tressel.
“My goal was to be a principal,” Janofa said. “I have been blessed to have the life I have had.”
Before becoming a superintendent, Janofa was a teacher at Salem middle school and high school and then became the head coach of wrestling and football. Janofa stayed with Salem for 10 years before moving on to become a principal at Marlington High School near Alliance.
“As a teacher you are a leader of students, as a principal or superintendent you are a leader of adults,” Janofa said.
Janofa said he doesn’t want to just come in and starting making changes in his district. He is first about developing relationships with the Poland teachers, staff, students and the community. Change, he said, will happen over time.
“Our No. 1 goal is to meet the needs of the students,” Janofa said.
Lou Ramunno, now retired, was the principal who inspired Janofa to become an administrator. He always expected him to join the education field.
“David is a young man who always demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and naturally that is the path he would take,” Ramunno said. “I always believed he would progress to a larger school district.”
Janofa will be overseeing a district of a little more than 2,200 students with a total of six schools for the salary of $104,000.
On the first day of class Wednesday, Janofa made his rounds to all the buildings to introduce himself to parents and students.
“I am true believer of being in the buildings,” Janofa said. “It was a great first day at Poland.”
Janofa wants everyone in the district to know who he is and that he is excited to be with the district.
“The passion here at Poland is evident in our community and it’s contagious,” Janofa said. “It has started rubbing off on me.”