Members of the Ohio Switzerland Board of Education met in a special session on Wednesday and only made one decision that everyone likes.
On a motion from board chair Ron Winkler, members voted 4 to 1 to reassign Superintendent Rob Caldwell as principal of Powhatan Point Elementary School and hire Phil Ackerman as the next district superintendent. Members Beverly Anderson, Jerry Gust and Greg Schumacher voted for in addition to Winkler, while Sarah Smith voted “no.”
The meeting was held at 6 p.m. at the Swiss Hills Career Center, and the board immediately entered into executive session to discuss staff. When the members returned to open session, the superintendent was the only issue they addressed.
As soon as the vote was cast, the crowd of around 55 spectators exploded into applause and cries of celebration. The meeting was immediately adjourned and many spectators remained in the large common area to chat and congratulate Ackerman.
Caldwell was not present, but Administrator Larry Koslik and Treasurer Connie Kress were seated with the board.
The leadership changes are effective July 16 and are expected to remain in place at least until July 31, 2022. Following the meeting, Winkler said he brought the motion forward because things were going on in the district. . “go down with morale for a long time.”
“I know this will take us in a positive direction”, he added.
According to Winkler, Caldwell will continue to receive his superintendent’s salary during the term of this contract, which expires on July 31, 2022, but he did not have an exact figure available as of Wednesday evening. He said the board continues to negotiate a contract and salary with Ackerman.
Ackerman is currently employed as Director of Administrative Services for the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center. Prior to that, he served for 30 years in various positions in the District of Switzerland in Ohio, including a position of Superintendent before retiring.
Jane Moore, a retired teacher who worked under Ackerman’s last term as superintendent, was one of the many people who praised him after the meeting.
“He was wonderful back then” she said. “That’s why everyone is so happy. He’s gonna be just as awesome now.
Ackerman said his priorities as superintendent will be to improve student performance and results, improve communication and potentially reduce expenses.
Before becoming superintendent, Caldwell worked as a soccer teacher and coach at Tyler Consolidated, Winkler said. As a resident of Powhatan Point, he was elected to the Ohio Switzerland Board of Trustees, but resigned that position to become principal of River Elementary School. He then held the position of Assistant Superintendent before becoming Superintendent.