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Canfield chooses new superintendent

New leadership begins Aug. 1

May 9, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

At 11:07 p.m. May 8, the Canfield Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Alex Geordan as the new Canfield Local Schools superintendent. The board approved a three-year contract that starts on Aug. 1 at $105,000 per year.

"Mr. Geordan is a highly qualified and experienced leader we are confident will lead our school district in a positive direction," said school board President Adrianne Sturm. "He proved himself in both the [May 8] stakeholders interview and the following board interview, that he is the person to lead our schools in a collaborative effort that includes students, parents, staff and the community."

Geordan was among 50 candidates that the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and the Cleveland-based Finding Leaders organization had to start with when the search for a replacement for the retiring Superintendent Dante Zambrini began. That field was narrowed to six last month and then to the final two in time for last week's community interview. The second candidate scheduled for a Wednesday community interview had pulled out.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Jane and Alex Geordan were introduced to a room of 110 school and community members at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 8. Seven hours and seven minutes later, Alex Geordan was unanimously accepted as the new superintendent of Canfield Local School District.

Geordan presently is superintendent of Pymatuning Valley Local School District and resides in Southington with his wife Jane and an 11-year-old daughter.

He attended Youngstown State University where he earned his bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 1994, his master's degree in education administration in 1998 and his superintendent's certificate in 2005.

He began his teaching career in 1994, teaching second grade at Devon Elementary School in Warren. From 1995 to 1998, he taught fifth and sixth grade at Jefferson Elementary, also in Warren.

In 1998, Geordan entered his first administrative role as assistant principal of East Middle School in Warren and from 1999 to 2001 he served as principal of Laird Avenue School in Warren.

From 2001 to 2005, Geordan served as principal of Vaughn Elementary School in the LaBrae School District and from 2005 to 2008, took on the role of principal at LaBrae Middle School.

In 2008, he was hired as the superintendent of Pymatuning Valley Local School District. During his short time there, he saw the district's report card increase from 15 of 26 state indicators passed by students to 23 of 26 passed. He also saw Pymatuning Valley Primary School chosen as a School of Promise in 2011.

During his years in education, he has served as a summer enrichment teacher, was on a district language arts committee, and had accomplished a few successful grant writing projects. He also served as assistant football coach at Warren G. Harding High School, and, at LaBrae, was junior high head basketball coach, varsity baseball assistant head coach, and varsity football assistant coach.

Geordan's rich involvement in education helped get him to the final two in the Canfield superintendent's search, and helped put him in the hot seat for a community interview session last week. The Canfield Board of Education, along with MCESC and Finding Leaders had set up a public interview for all Canfield residents to attend. The interview team consisted of Dean Conley representing the teachers, Kathy Mowry representing the school administrators, Keith Moffo representing the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, Ed Pilloli and the Rev. Terry Hazel representing the community, and Sabrina Mangapora representing the students.

Each of the panel members had met in a focus group made up of those they would represent. Each group came up with a list of questions to ask Geordan during the panel session.

Tuesday's session began at 4 p.m. with Dave Kircher from Finding Leaders serving as master of ceremonies. As the questions were asked and Geordan responded, it became clear that one of his most important qualities was open communication with the community.

When asked about prioritizing a limited budget, he replied, "You have to know what your community wants. You have to ask questions and listen twice as hard and it has to be ongoing even after a budget crisis is over."

Rev. Hazel asked Geordan if he would do the three-year contract and leave Canfield as he is doing in Pymatuning Valley. He replied, "This is where I want to be."

Conley asked Geordan about his thoughts on open enrollment.

He replied, "Open enrollment was in place in Pymatuning Valley prior to my going there. It's what the community wanted. I've talked to people in Canfield and there seems to be a strong negative feeling for it."

Regarding a school levy, he said administrators need to listen to why people are voting no. He said their voices needed to be heard and everyone needs to be on the same page to move forward.

After the community session before 110 Canfield stakeholders, Geordan was taken away to tour Canfield while the focus groups met again and discussed the interview. Following that session, the board went back to the board office and went into executive session to conduct a final interview with him. Afterwards, Geordan left and the board ended the evening with a unanimous vote to hire him.

"We welcome Mr. Geordan and his family to our Canfield school community and look forward to working with him," Sturm said. "He joins us in honoring our school history of excellence and embraces the future. "



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