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Thursday, March 20th, 2014

St. Henry picks Garke to lead

Principal named new superintendent

By Kathy Thompson
ST. HENRY - Middle school principal Julie Garke is the district's new superintendent.
St. Henry Local Schools Board of Education members at a special board meeting Wednesday night approved a three-year contract with Garke beginning Aug. 1. She will replace Rod Moorman, who retires June 1.
Garke, 48, will resign her position as principal and middle school guidance counselor. Her new salary is $89,000 per year; her current annual salary is $80,948.
Board president Paul Moorman said Garke's position as principal and guidance counselor will be posted internally very soon. After a week, the board will open the application process to the public, he said.
"I was shocked," Garke said after the board voted without hesitation to offer her the position. "I was up against a lot of very qualified applicants. I can't be more thrilled."
Board member Andy Fullenkamp said Garke's "passion and experience" made her stand out from the other three applicants.
"I liked the glowing comments we got from the staff about Julie," he said.
Board president Paul Moorman said he agreed with Fullenkamp and added that Garke will have no problem moving right into her new position.
Rod Moorman, who resigned after serving as superintendent the past 14 years, said his sole advice to Garke is "be your own person."
"While this is a team effort and everyone works together and is involved to make this school district great, staying true to yourself is important," he said.
Rod Moorman said Garke's experience in the district made her the top candidate.
"She's been able to elaborate our goals and ideals," he said. "She knows what makes this district work and it made her stand out among the other applicants."
Rod Moorman earns $109,561 per year; his contract was renewed in 2009. In 2008, he requested to retire and be rehired, but board members were against the idea and he withdrew the proposal.
Garke said she has no plans to make changes or suggestions to the board.
"I'm still reeling from the news," she said, tears forming in her eyes. "I know I'm going to miss the close interaction I have daily with the kids. But I'm really looking forward to moving forward and doing the best I can for them. I want us to continue to be the excellent district we have always been and want the community, parents, staff and students to know that I'll be very visible and looking forward to serving them."
Garke is the first woman to become superintendent of the district. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in education. In December, she will complete a master's degree of education in school counseling from the University of Dayton.
Garke was a special education teacher for five years at Continental High School prior to coming to St. Henry, where she was a special education teacher and guidance counselor from 1994 to 2001. She became principal of the middle school in 2001.
Three others seeking the position of superintendent were,
• Jeffery R. Hobbs, principal at Fort Recovery High School.
• Stephen E. Arnold, superintendent of Wayne Trace Local Schools.
• Jason E. Wood, the high/middle school principal of Franklin Monroe Local Schools.
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