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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As crowd watches, board retains principal

Parkway Elementary School

By Janie Southard
ROCKFORD - About 40 community members and teachers attended the Parkway school board meeting Tuesday night, where the contract for a district principal was under consideration.
Board members held a two-hour executive session at the beginning of the meeting called to discuss personnel issues and the dismissal of an employee. After the session, board members approved a one-year contract for elementary Principal Mark Esselstein.
The board's concern centered around the principal's "leadership abilities," according to school Treasurer Debbie Pierce.
Esselstein was hired by the district in June 1986. His past three contract renewals have twice been for three years and once for two years.
After board members agreed to a one-year contract, several letters were read by audience members praising Esselstein's dedication to his staff and position. No one spoke against rehiring the principal.
The executive session was attended by Pierce, board members, Superintendent Greg Puthoff and Esselstein and his wife, Ann, a longtime principal with Celina City Schools.
Also receiving renewal contracts on Tuesday night were the following administrators: Tal Bates, technology coordinator, three years; Mike Jones, maintenance supervisor, three years; Steve Baumgartner, middle school principal, three years; and Brian Fortkamp, high school principal, two years.
Staff salaries will be determined later in the year.
In Puthoff's report to the board, he noted Parkway is a finalist for Race to the Top federal grant dollars. This competitive $4.3 billion is intended to reward and encourage states to achieve reform in the areas of standards and assessment; data systems; teachers and leaders; and low achievement.
"The money comes through the state, which gets 50 percent and the rest is given to the districts ... We were originally in line for $52,000 over four years, but I heard only 200 of the 600 Ohio districts applied. So we could possibly get more," Puthoff said.
There's another round of completing forms and, in order to continue, the documents must be signed and approved by the board president, the superintendent and the teachers' union president.
"We'll see how it goes ... It's good we're still in the game," he said.
In other business, the board:
• Learned teacher Art Bader received a teacher of the year nomination to represent the northwest district of Ohio.
• Accepted the resignation of teacher Teresa Frysinger after 33 years service.
• Changed regular board meetings in April and November to the third Tuesday at 6 p.m. Those meetings will be held April 20 and Nov. 16.
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Gary E. Uhlenhake, 50, 3898 Burkettsville-St. Henry Road, was found dead shortly after 5 p.m., the victim of an apparent farm accident. [More]
Two resident pairs of bald eagles have begun incubating an unknown number of eggs in separate nests on Grand Lake, said Sean Finke, coordinator of the Mercer Wildlife Area. [More]
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