By Kevin Kelley
The public will have an opportunity to meet the two finalists for the post of Westlake City Schools superintendent next week.
Roxann Ramsey-Caserio, assistant superintendent of the Lakewood City Schools, will speak at the first of two “Meet the Finalist” programs, at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17, at the district headquarters at the Parkside School building, 24525 Hilliard Blvd. The other finalist, Scott Goggin, superintendent of Midview Local Schools, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 19, also at Parkside.
Ramsey-Caserio and Goggin emerged from a field of 20 applicants, eight of whom were interviewed by board of education members.
Immediately following their public presentations, each finalist will be interviewed one final time by school board members. The board anticipates its decision on who to hire will be made by the end of the month.
Board of education President Carol Winter said board members were pleased by the quality of the applicants.
“It was hard to narrow it down to the eight that we interviewed,” she said.
Ramsey-Caserio has been assistant superintendent for Lakewood City Schools since 2014, briefly serving as interim superintendent during the 2014-2015 school year. She joined that district in 2009 as the coordinator of teaching and learning. From 2011 to 2013, she was principal of Grant Elementary School and later served as director of teaching and learning. She earned an undergraduate degree in English and secondary education, and a graduate degree in education administration and supervision, from John Carroll University.
Goggin has led the Midview Local Schools for the past two years. He had been the district’s director of education. He earned an undergraduate degree in special education and teaching from Bowling Green State University and a graduate degree in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State University, He earned another graduate degree in education administration from Ashland University.
“Both of them are highly qualified,” Winter said of Ramsey-Caserio and Goggin.
For the public presentations next week, each finalist has been asked to speak on what his or her priorities would be if hired based on data from the state report card for the district, Winter said.
Geoff Palmer, who has led the Westlake City Schools since August 2014, had announced he was not applying to remain in his position.
A superintendent search had been made in spring and early summer of 2014 to find a successor to Dan Keenan, who had been superintendent for seven years. The board offered the post to Jeffrey Graham, then the Parma City Schools superintendent, who now leads the Lorain City Schools. But Graham and the board were unable to reach contract terms, and Graham withdrew his application.
In the 2014 search, the board considered four finalists: Graham, Westlake High School Principal Tim Freeman; George Fisk, of the East Palestine City Schools; and James Kallis, of the Riverside Local Schools. After Graham withdrew his application, the board did not make an offer to any of the three other finalists and hired Palmer as interim superintendent on a one-year contract. Palmer’s contract was then extended through the current school year.
None of the finalists from the 2014 search applied this time, according to Deb Campbell of K12 Consultants, the firm the board hired to assist with the superintendent search. No educators currently employed by the Westlake City Schools applied either, Campbell told West Life.
School board President Carol Winter said the criteria for the district’s leader had not really changed from the 2014 search.
“Our community really wants someone who has solid experience, someone who will engage with the entire community – the families of our students, the families of our nonstudents, the taxpayers and staff members,” Winter told West Life.
In addition to Ramsey-Caserio and Goggin, board members also interviewed Dean Gorrell, superintendent of the Verona Area Schools in Wisconsin; Jeffrey Johnston, director of student services of the Cleveland Heights/University Heights district; Brad Richey, director of instructional assessment for the Parma City Schools; Joelle Maygar, assistant superintendent of the Mayfield City Schools; and Bobby Moore, senior director at Battelle for Kids.
The eight finalists were interviewed by both school board members and a committee of 20 community stakeholders, Winter said.