ELIDA – At the Elida School Board meeting, Justin Firks was introduced as the new high school principal coming from the local schools in Bethel where he had served the past three years as superintendent. He has been a superintendent for seven years, but was looking to find a position as a building administrator. Firks began his administrative career in Fort Loramie as a middle school/high school principal. From there he moved to Fort Recovery for four years as superintendent, then to Bethel and now to Elida.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to return to a building. I missed the daily interactions with the children and the staff. As I’ve moved up the food chain, so to speak, I feel like I’ve lost my connection to the students and staff as a superintendent. That’s the main reason I want to go back to a build level.
In his current role as superintendent, Firks feels most of his time has been spent on construction and sampling issues. Growing up in Coldwater, Ohio, Firks played basketball for the Cavaliers. Playing basketball and officiating for 14 years introduced him to the Elida Fieldhouse and former athletic director Dave May.
“The reason I got into teaching was to help students. Some of the days I missed the most were when I was a building manager and a teacher. So, at this point in my career, I look forward to serving not only students, but also staff, parents, and the community. »
Firks played baseball at Ashland University, earning his undergraduate degrees. He earned advanced degrees from Wright State and Bowling Green and received his superintendent’s license from the University of Dayton.
There has been some controversy in Firks’ recent past. According to Mercer County Outlook, local schools in Bethel have been embroiled in a heated community debate over transgender bathroom access for several months. “So receiving his resignation was not a huge surprise given the pressure from the community. And given that we had learned that he was already looking for another position outside of the district,” said school board member Jessica Franz.
Board member Danny Elam said he would accept the resignation with regret. “Mr. Firks has done an outstanding job here over the past three years. It’s a shame it’s come to this, in my opinion,” Elam said. He and board chair Lydda Mansfield , voted “yes” to accept the resignation, both noting their regrets.The vote was unanimous.
In a letter to the Bethel School Board of Education, Firks said, “It has been a priority for the past seven years as Superintendent of Schools to make decisions that are in the best interests of students and staff,” said said Firks. “Being a superintendent, historically, has been seen as a sacrificial profession. However, sacrificing health, family, dignity and your professional reputation should not be part of the job.
Firks has been with the district for three years and will leave when his contract ends on July 31, according to the board and the letter.
Justin Firks, Principal of Elida High School
Contact Dean Brown at 567-242-0409