By Rebecca Turman
After receiving resumes from 66 individuals all throughout Ohio, and even some from out of state, the Avon Board of Education has decided to hire someone close to home to serve as the next superintendent of the Avon Local School District.
The Avon Board of Education announced Monday in a press release that it intends to hire Avon resident Michael Laub to serve as superintendent after current Superintendent Jim Reitenbach officially retires this summer.
Laub currently serves as the Westlake City Schools director of human resources, a position he has held since 2008. Prior to that, he served as a principal of a K-4 school in Westlake for six years.
Laub also served as a principal, administrative intern/assistant principal and a middle school math teacher in the Strongsville City Schools.
Laub holds a superintendent license and has a master’s degree in education in educational administration.
Over the past two months, the district worked with the company Finding Leaders to find the most qualified candidate to take over Reitenbach’s role of superintendent. As part of the process, focus group meetings took place to determine what qualities and experience the community, board members and district staff wanted the district’s next leader to possess. A stakeholders group made up of community members, students, administrators and certified/classified district staff also participated in the interviewing process for the final three candidates.
According to Avon Board of Education President Kevin Romanchok, the stakeholders’ group process worked really well.
“We probably had 30-plus people at each one of those sessions,” Romanchok said, adding three sessions were held last week with the three final candidates – Tod Hug, Francis Scruci and Laub. “We had three very good candidates. It was a difficult decision.
“We took a pretty broad approach to all of the different candidates. All came in with different strengths in different areas.”
Ultimately, Romanchok said, “Mike had the best fit for the criteria we were looking for.”
“Finding a candidate to meet every need perfectly is a challenge,” he said.
“Mr. Laub’s experience in the similar-sized, high-performing districts of Westlake and Strongsville as an administrator in the board office, as a principal and as an educator, his collaborative leadership style and his deep passion for the Avon community in which he lives were received with overwhelming positive feedback,” the board wrote in the press release. “His knowledge and background will drive the district to continued academic excellence in a fiscally conscious manner.”
“I can’t even start to explain how excited I am,” Laub said in an interview Monday. I’m looking forward to making the transition over.”
Laub, 39, has lived in the city of Avon for approximately seven years, he said.
“My wife and I were living in Westpark right before we moved here,” Laub said, adding he grew up in Berea.
Laub has two children in the school district. His 6-year-old daughter is in first grade and his 10-year-old son is in fourth grade.
Asked how the interview process was for the superintendent position, Laub said “certainly one of the more intense ones, in a good way.”
“They left no stone unturned, so to speak,” Laub said. “Being an HR person, I definitely appreciated that.”
As a result of the focus group process conducted by Finding Leaders, it was determined that the community, district staff and board members wanted the new superintendent to have teacher experience, building principal experience and central office experience.
Asked what strengths he felt he would bring to the district, Laub said, he meets all of those requirements.
“I’ve done those things,” he said. “I’ve also coached. I’ve also been involved in a lot of levy and bond campaigns. I’m a pretty good communicator as well.”
Laub also currently serves on the district’s Continuous Improvement Plan team.
Regardless of what he will bring to the district, Laub said, “It’s going to take me a little while to understand the ins and outs of Avon.”
“The good news for me is I’ve had some established relationships that already exist…from serving on committees and coaching on little league,” he said. “That’s going to be a help in my transition.”
While Laub won’t officially take on the role of superintendent until Aug. 1, Romanchok said a transition time will be built in “so there can be a nice handoff.”
To welcome Laub to the district, a public reception will be held in his honor at 6 p.m. May 2 at Heritage North Elementary School. According to the press release, a brief special board meeting to hire Laub as superintendent will take place before the reception.
According to Romanchok, Laub’s contract will be finalized by the May 2 meeting.
Contact Rebecca Turman at email@example.com