After almost a year of searching, Van Wert City Schools hired its new superintendent. During Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, Vicki Brunn was approved and hired as the Van Wert City Schools Superintendent.
Brunn began her educational work as a high school social studies teacher at Findlay High School.
Brunn comes to Van Wert with a history of educational achievements. She achieved National Board Certified Teacher status during her time in the class room, as well as an award for Social Studies Teacher of the Year.
In 2006 she moved to Oxford, Ohio, where she served as Talawanda High School principal for six years. There she was honored with the Crystal Apple Award as an outstanding administrator.
In 2012 she took a Central Office position as Director of Human Resources. She was honored with a Diversity Administrator of the Year award by the Oxford Chapter of the NAACP.
In 2013 Brunn moved back to Northwest Ohio to take the superintendent position at Central Local Schools and to be closer to her family. Under Brunn's leadership, Fairview Middle School became a National Blue Ribbon School for Gap Closing and was given the Momentum Award from the Ohio Department of Education.
Brunn has a history of excellence – excellence she plans to continue at Van Wert.
"I really look forward to working with Van Wert because I really think Van Wert is on the cusp of being a great district," said Brunn. "I feel pretty lucky to be walking in at this point in time when we're this close to being one of the greatest districts in the State of Ohio."
"I believe in a small initiative called '212ing it' and to put it simply: at 211 degrees water is just hot water," continued Brunn. "I see Van Wert at being at 211 degrees, and if we just take it up one degree, we're going to be cooking. I'm excited to be part of that."
Brunn noted that the Van Wert superintendent selection process is the among best she's been a part of in her search. To begin the process she was invited to visit the buildings and meet key people in the district. She noted that the process sold her on the district right off. She explained that the people in the district have been the most impressive.
"I need to be in a district where I feel like people are here for the right reasons," said Brunn. "I've never seen anything like it. I love the project-based learning, the problem-based learning. I used to teach that way when I was in the classroom back in the 90s; I think it's one of the best styles."
Brunn explained that project-based learning helps students develop soft skills, critical thinking skills, and teamwork skills, and she is a big supporter of it.
"Van Wert's got it; they've got the right idea," said Brunn. "I believe in it, I love it, and I look forward to leading the district forward in that area too."
Brunn will officially start as Van Wert superintendent on Aug. 1, 2018, but plans to be involved in the district, learning about the community and the needs on the school, up until that point as well.
In other business, the School Board had a brief meeting where current superintendent, Staci Kaufman, asked the Board to consider raising the daily wage of substitute teachers in order to be more competitive.
"I checked with area districts, and we are the lowest paid substitute teacher rate in the area," said Kaufman who noted that most schools pay around $90 to $100 a day. "I would recommend that we stay competitive at the $100 a day."
Kaufman noted that it's been at least 10 to 15 years since that has been raised and felt that it was time to be more competitive to attract substitutes.
During his report, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Bill Clifton explained that the district has missed five school days do to weather which equals 32.5 hours. When the 18 hours worth of delay hours are added in, the district has missed a total of 50.5 hours. Clifton explained that missing another eight hours would require the district to use a make-up day which is planned for the Monday after Easter, April 2.
Also during the meeting, the Board approved a contract for classified staff that will allow for 3 percent raises for each of the three contracted years.
The Board also motioned to approve the following:
– Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council to advertise and receive bids for the purchase of two buses on behalf of Van Wert City Schools.
– Approve Whistler Plumbing and Heating, Inc. to make improvements to the Chilled Water System at the MS/HS as presented.
– Acknowledge Bob Sloan, Band Director, Van Wert City Schools, and Niswonger Performing Arts Center for hosting the District 3 High School Honors Festival.
The board went into executive session following the meeting for the purpose of considering the Sale of Property, since disclosure at this time would give an unfair competitive or bargaining advantage to persons whose personal, private interest is adverse to the general public interest, and also to consider the employment of personnel.
The next Van Wert Board of Education meeting will be March 14, 2018, at 5 p.m. in the district board office.