By Lance Mihm
ST. MARYS -- Kenneth C. Baker of Wyoming is the new superintendent at St. Marys City Schools.
The board of education on Wednesday night hired Baker to a three-year contract, ending a four-month search for a new superintendent. His salary will be around $96,000, about $10,000 less than the salary of current Superintendent Paul Blaine, school board President Grady Shaner said.
Blaine, who has been with the district since 1987, announced his retirement last fall, with his final day being July 31. The board approved allowing Baker to begin work 20 days before his Aug. 1 start date so he can work with Blaine.
"This is a historic day for St. Marys schools," Shaner said after the meeting. "We have only had five superintendents in 100 years."
Baker has been the principal at Wyoming High School, near Cincinnati, for the last seven years. He was selected out of 26 applicants and was one of two finalists, along with Brion Deitsch, superintendent of Edgerton Local Schools. Shaner told attendees at the meeting that Baker grew up in the Upper Sandusky area and attended school in Findlay. He attended Miami University and completed graduate work at Bowling Green State University. He and his wife Debbie have three children, a daughter at Miami University, a son preparing to attend West Point and a son who will be a junior in high school next year.
"I was impressed with him," board member Joyce Finke said. "He is family-oriented. He discussed this with his family and made it a family decision. Last year when we played Wyoming in the playoffs, his son said he remembered all the fans that were in the stadium. He is excited about playing football in St. Marys."
"He's about as close to a perfect replacement as we are going to get," added Craig Gottschalk, school board member.
Shaner said the search for a new superintendent included advertising both locally and nationally, using the Internet, school publications and a brochure that was mailed to approximately 900 people. Applications came from as far away as New Hampshire, Mississippi and Vermont.
Also at the school board meeting, Business Manager Kurt Kuffner announced the Moulton school property will go up for auction at 10 a.m. June 2.
The sale will not immediately be final, as it must be approved by the school board at the June 9 meeting. The building was offered to the Auglaize County Educational Service Center for $485,530, but officials there were not interested.
In other business, the board accepted the resignations of Moulton school fifth-grade teacher Kelly Staudter, who has accepted a position in Anna, and summer student worker Elizabeth Lampert.
They also approved the 2004-2005 athletic ticket prices, which include a $1 increase for basketball and football tickets.