Northern Local hires interim superintendent
THORNVILLE – Northern Local School District recently hired Dora Jean Baumgarner as interim superintendent to replace former superintendent Jack Porter, who resigned effective April 1. Porter abruptly announced his retirement early in March, leaving his office immediately and using vacation days to reach April 1.
“She’s a very dynamic, exciting person,” said Treasurer Elizabeth Arnold. She said Porter was a “force,” a very powerful person whose successor, even for the interim, would need to exude the same charisma. “She had big shoes to fill,” said Arnold.
According to the district’s newsletter, Baumgarner hails from Marietta. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Glenville State College and her masters and doctoral degrees at West Virginia University. She’s served as a teacher, supervisor, director of elementary education, director of instruction, assistant superintendent, and superintendent in Marietta schools. Baumgarner was Southeastern Ohio’s first female superintendent.
The district has begun its search for a permanent superintendent and is accepting applications through April 30. Arnold said interviews will likely begin mid to late May, with a selection in June. Former Sheridan High School principal and Perry County superintendent Richard Fisher, whom Arnold describes as an “iconic education figure,” leads the search. She anticipates a permanent superintendent will be in place by the start of next school year.
Arnold said the board of education would conduct a public, faculty, and survey, asking participants the qualities they expect from a new superintendent. “The board really wants everyone to participate,” she said.
In the meantime, Arnold has full faith in Baumgarner’s abilities. “She’s the perfect face for the district,” said Arnold.