MANSFIELD -- It will be another seven weeks before Stan Jefferson officially becomes superintendent of Mansfield City Schools. But the former district teacher, coach and administrator has a crystal clear focus on how he will begin his work.
“We are rethinking what we do and how we do it in Mansfield City Schools,” he said during a visit to the Raemelton administration building on Wednesday.
“Academic reform is our No. 1 priority. To achieve that we must build powerful – I mean powerful – connections with students, staff, parents and our entire school community.”
Jefferson will begin building or renewing those connections – at least informally – at the board of education’s regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Dutton Community Room at Mansfield Senior High.
Time will be set aside for the public to greet Jefferson, who will become superintendent on Aug. 1.
Jefferson continues to meet regularly with Supt. Brian Garverick, who will transition to director of alternative learning, and one-on-one with central office administrators and building principals.
“My message is simple: Rethink what you do and how you do it,” Jefferson said. “A lot of good things are happening. We have so many wonderful opportunities for students, families and staff. But we can do even better, in some instances much better, if we rethink our approach to achieving our goals.
“Academic reform is at the top. To achieve that, we must have conducive learning environments and strong engagement with students and parents.”
Among the “powerful connections” that Jefferson envisions are those between the district and the greater school community. He plans a series of meetings with city officials and civic organizations.
“What can we do together to help our kids, to enrich their experience – from the time they first walk through the front door of their school to the time we hand them a diploma? What can we do together, schools and community, to help them onto their next rite of passage? I believe we achieve so much for our kids by working together.”
Jefferson’s tenure of more than 43 years in Mansfield City Schools began as a social studies teacher. He served as Mansfield Senior High assistant principal from 1997 to 2003 before assuming the duties of principal during the 2003-2004 school year. He played a major role in the campaign that led to the construction of the present Senior High building.
From 1993 through 2002, “Coach J” led the Senior High football program to a record of 65-39 and four conference championships.
Jefferson joined the Ohio State University football program in 2004, serving under Jim Tressel, then Urban Meyer until August 2017. It was his job to assure that OSU players were meeting their academic responsibilities.
Jefferson recalled that when he joined Mansfield City Schools in 1976 the district had an enrollment of 12,000 in two high schools, three junior highs and 13 elementary buildings. Today, the result of major changes in the community’s landscape, the district has approximately 3,300 students in one high school, one middle school, one intermediate school, four elementary buildings and the Spanish Immersion School.
But the numbers don’t phase Jefferson.
“Our first job is to do the very best we can for all of our students now. But I believe that if we rethink our approach to our work, if we build those powerful connections we can electrify this community and see our enrollment climb,” he said. “I believe that.”
“TY-Tygers. That’s who we are.”
(This story was published this week on the Mansfield City Schools website at https://www.mansfieldschools.org/)