FREDERICKTOWN — Fredericktown’s school board approved the appointment of former Fredericktown superintendent James Peterson to serve as interim superintendent starting Jan. 3.
Peterson will resume the position the day after current superintendent Susan Hayward’s resignation takes effect, which the board approved at a special meeting earlier this month. Peterson will serve as interim superintendent until July 31, or earlier depending on the search for a permanent replacement.
Previously, Peterson was superintendent of Fredericktown Local Schools for four years, from 2009 to 2013.
Following the special meeting Dec. 7, board members Candi Gallagher and Charles Streby had sit-down interviews with a pool of candidates who had the appropriate licensures, Gallagher and Streby said Tuesday. They gathered the candidate pool by contacting the Ohio School Boards Association and Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.
Initially, board member Patty Miller was appointed alongside Gallagher to serve on the interim superintendent search committee. Miller stepped down to allow a board member who ran for re-election to help make the decision, board president Todd McClay said.
The board also followed up on the other agenda topic of the special meeting — the reconfiguration of the treasurer's office.
The board voted to reconfigure the office Dec. 7, following the resignation of assistant treasurer Dawn Campbell. Tuesday's agenda included a motion to approve a new job description for an assistant to the treasurer that was ultimately rescinded by the board after input from treasurer Heather Darnold.
Darnold expressed concern that reconfiguration — to one assistant for the treasurer position and the removal of the current fiscal support position — would cost current fiscal support, Lynnea Clevenger, her job.
"I understand what you guys want to do," Darnold said Tuesday. "I understand, I do, when people leave you consolidate, you reduce down. I get it.
"This affects not only my co-worker, but she's my friend and it breaks my heart for how long she's been here."
The board discussed the potential of divvying up the tasks of a new assistant to the treasurer, or giving Clevenger the entirety of the new role Tuesday, but ultimately no decisions were made. It is unclear at this time whether the treasurer's office will continue with both an assistant treasurer and fiscal support, or consolidate to one role.
As 2021 comes to an end, Board members James Blanchard, Patty Miller and Charles Streby participated in their last meeting before incoming board members take over next month.
The board approved a number of routine items, and the financial report was comparable to recent months, with expenses exceeding revenue by $858,000 due to several large one-time expenditures.
As a result of the recent passage of Senate Bill 299, the board authorized the district to continue use of the remote learning plan for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.
Returning and new educational opportunities were also approved Tuesday. Heartland Outdoor Environmental Educational School — an overnight trip for fifth graders that did not occur last year — will take place in 2022. The board also approved an agreement with Ashland University to allow its students to receive clinical education from the Fredericktown nurse.
Several staff contracts were also approved, varying from the hiring of intervention tutors to substitute custodians. The board increased the substitute custodian pay rate to $15 per hour Tuesday. In addition to new employees, the board accepted the resignation of head volleyball coach Tami Vaughn, effective immediately.
Tuesday's meeting also included a litany of special commendations for fall student accomplishments ranging from spelling bee winners to national honor society inductees to sports team achievements.