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Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Miller to leave Celina

By Amy Kronenberger
CELINA - Celina City Schools Superintendent Matt Miller has accepted a new job as superintendent at Mentor Public Schools near Cleveland.
"Late Monday night they extended an offer to me over the phone, and I have accepted pending a background check, verification search and a drug screen," Miller wrote in a letter to his staff Wednesday.
Miller this morning said he did not seek or apply for the position in the Cleveland area. About three weeks ago a recruitment firm in the Chicago area contacted him, and he agreed to an interview.
"The initial interview went well and later on that same day, they asked me to come back and interview as a finalist," he said.
Miller struggled with the decision but ultimately decided Mentor was a good fit for the next step in his career and for his family.
"You never choose when it's your time to go, but it just feels like this is the time," he said this morning. "Professionally, Mentor brings me new challenges as a superintendent. I'm looking forward to the challenges a larger district will bring."
Mentor has a student body of 8,000; Celina's student body is about 2,000.
"Obviously, with the strong school system we have in Celina, the search firm and the Mentor board of education were drawn to the successes we have shared as a district and as a community over the past several years," Miller wrote in his letter to staff. "That is a credit to all of you."
Celina City Schools has received an excellent with distinction rating - the highest ranking possible on the state report card - the last two years.
Miller said he has not discussed an official start date with Mentor, but he said it likely will be Aug. 1. He believes this summer will be a transition process as he works with both a new superintendent in Celina and with the retiring superintendent at Mentor.
Mentor school board president Alan Mihok this morning said they saw in Miller what everyone in Celina has seen over the years.
"What stood out to us was his passion for his job and trying to always do what's right for the students in the district," he said.
Mihok said they were especially excited about what Miller has done to bring technology to Celina schools and look forward to doing the same for their district.
Mentor board members will come to Celina on Monday for final reference checks. They hope to officially hire Miller within the next two weeks, Mihok said.
Celina board member Amy Hoyng said board members will accept Miller's official resignation at the next board meeting May 21. They likely will advertise to hire a new superintendent with the Ohio School Board Association.
Board member Ken Fetters said because Miller has not issued his official resignation, no real plans have been decided.
"For us, Mr. Miller is still the superintendent, and it's business as usual," Fetters said. "I'm happy he found a better job, but I'm very sad he's leaving."
Hoyng said finding a replacement for Miller won't be easy, but she hopes to have someone by next school year.
"We're all very sad he's leaving, but we understand it's a good opportunity," she said.
Miller has served at Celina schools for 13 years, serving as principal at Franklin and East elementaries and then as director of student services and education. He has served as superintendent for seven years.
"I have enjoyed working for Celina schools and raising my children in Celina," said the Cincinnati native. "I truly love my job and what I do. This community has been a great place for my family. We could not have picked a better place to be during my son's and daughter's formative years. We have all been extremely blessed by great friends, great teachers and great staff members."
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