2010-05-29 / Schools

Northern Local Schools hires new superintendent

By Scott Rawdon

Thomas Perkins Thomas Perkins THORNVILLE – There was no doubt in any Northern Local School Board member’s mind that Thomas Perkins would be the district’s next superintendent, said board president Dale DeRolph.

Board members unanimously approved Perkins. “He was the guy we were looking for,” said DeRolph.

The board received 42 applications for the superintendent’s position and the board interviewed five candidates. DeRolph said Perkins was the only candidate with practical experience and he comes from a district facing many of the same financial challenges as Northern Local. DeRolph said he consistently impressed board members with his answers to their questions. “He just seemed like a good fit,” said DeRolph. “We are all very, very excited.”

According to a district news release, the Northern Local Board of Education hired Perkins on May 21 to be their new superintendent for the 2010-2011 school year. Perkins is currently superintendent of the Rolling Hills Local School District in Byesville, Ohio, near Cambridge. He has served as a principal, district value-added specialist, summer school coordinator, a 21st Century Grant manager, a teacher and a reading specialist, as well as a superintendent.

According to the Ohio Department of Education’s most recent district report card (2008- 2009 School Year), Rolling Hills, with three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school, is just a bit smaller than Northern Local. Rolling Hills has an average daily student enrollment of 1,962 compared to 2,312 for Northern Local. Rolling Hills is rated “Continuous Improvement,” meeting 18 of the 30 state indicators. Northern Local is ranked one notch higher at “Effective,” meeting 26 of the 30 state indicators. There is a significant difference in the percentage of students considered economically disadavantaged – 55.9 percent for Rolling Hills compared to 37.3 percent for Northern Local.

Perkins received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University, his master’s degree from Muskingum University, and his superintendent certification from Ohio University.

Perkins comes to Northern with an innovative perspective and a positive attitude, according to the release. He possesses a solid understanding of district finances and curriculum development. He is currently serving on the State Finance Committee and the Advisory Council to the State Superintendent. He and his wife Rachel, along with their two daughters, will relocate to the Northern Local area.

DeRolph said Perkins will likely start August 1, if not sooner. If he does start sooner, DeRolph said interim superintendent Dora Jean Baumgarner will step down early. “It should be a pretty seamless transition,” he said. Baumgarner took over after former superintendent Jack Porter suddenly retired effective April 1.

Return to top