HEBRON – Wednesday morning, the Lakewood School Board announced that Mary Kay Andrews, currently Director of District Services at C-TEC, would be acting Lakewood superintendent as of January 2015. She will replace current Superintendent Jay Gault, who is retiring.
Lakewood board members worked with the Licking County Educational Service Center and its Superintendent Nelson McCray to search for a new superintendent after Gault announced his retirement during the August board meeting.
According to the Wednesday news release, board members intend to offer contracts during the December school board meeting to bridge the transition between Gault and Andrews.
Andrews comes to Lakewood with experiences for responsibilities including accreditation, facilities and grounds, districtwide technology and communications, as well as marketing and career development. She has been instrumental in supervising and improving existing satellite programs. She started two new middle school programs and has been leading the expansion of middle school service to all schools associated with C-TEC.
Andrews’ previous experience included the position of Director of the Secondary Center, which carries many of the same duties as a high school principal. She has demonstrated her care for students and their learning by ensuring that students graduated, maintaining one of the highest CTE graduation rates and CTE performance rates in the state. While secondary director, Andrews was an integral part of the new facility and building design, as well as obtaining experience with passing a levy to ensure funding for the project.
Board members worked diligently for the past several months going through the process of the superintendent search with Mc- Cray’s help and guidance.
“I’m thrilled,” said Andrews Wednesday. “It’s a great staff and faculty.” As superintendent, Andrews said she will focus upon student learning and achievement, and ensuring students are prepared for a smooth transition from school to careers and college.
“I want to make sure Lakewood is the premier option for the community,” Andrews said, adding there are plenty of educational alternatives for Lakewood district children to choose from, and it’s her goal that Lakewood is the first choice. Also, it’s important to Andrews that the district continues to “operate in a fiscally responsible manner.” She considers Lakewood to be her “home district” and she fully intends to invest her time and efforts into being Lakewood’s superintendent for many years to come.
Board President Judy White said the board’s vote to hire Andrews was unanimous. “Her desire for the position, her depth of experience, and her passion for learning really stood out to us,” White said. “As did her personality. She’s a real good fit for us.” White said Andrews has plenty of energy and looks forward to challenge of helming the district.
“We are not a broken district,” White said. “We’re in the best financial shape we’ve been in a decade.” She said board members were looking for someone to take Lakewood to the next level, not necessarily to place it in order. “We need that capstone piece to our organization,” White said, and Andrews is it.
White said Andrews will come on board with the district beginning January and work with Gault in transition. White expects there will be a public reception for Andrews after the first of the year.
In other Lakewood news:
• As of Monday, solar power is being generated for both Jackson Intermediate and Lakewood High schools. “The solar panels are on,” said Director of Pupil Service Patti Pickering, adding that the solar power project is completely finished. “And, ahead of schedule,” she said.
After years of enduring hurdles and delays, two solar arrays have been installed on Lakewood property to generate electric power for the intermediate and high schools. Lakewood has a long term power purchase contract with Solar Planet to purchase solar-generated power at rates expected to be below AEP’s rates.
The installation was financed by a group of typically high income investors put together by Solar Planet. Though the cost to generate solar power is considerably higher than the cost to generate conventional power primarily from coal and natural gas, the premium cost is offset by federal tax credits for investors and mandates for the use of renewal energy.
• Three seniors from the Class of 2015 were honored at the Nov 12 school board meeting for their scores on the 2013 PSAT. All are National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Scholars, They are Andrew Gulick, Stacie Carlton and Alexandria Muller. They were presented with framed certificates during the school board meeting.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year, and meeting published program entry and participation requirements.
• The board accepted the resignation of Randy Miller as a Lakewood High School computer teacher effective Feb. 27, 2015. Pickering said Miller will become Director of Technology, a new position, beginning March 3. She said adding a technology position is necessary as the district’s technology needs and capabilities increase.
•The board approved the resignation of Brett Vermillion as middle school wrestling and high school assistant track coach.
• Board members approved a supplemental coaching position for Robert Sanders as middle school boys basketball coach with a $2,809 contract; and a volunteer position for Dave Brink as volunteer middle school boys basketball coach.