Following months of state and semi-national searching, on March 19, the Poland Board of Education announced its choice for the new superintendent of Poland Local School District.
Salem native David Janofa will officially begin his job as superintendent of Poland Schools on Aug. 1.
Janofa, who is currently superintendent at Sandy Valley School District in Stark County, said that he is both excited and passionate about the opportunity to return to the Mahoning Valley and to lead Poland schools.
New superintendent David Janofa takes the helm of Poland Schools on Aug. 1.
"I know truly that the expectations and the standards are tremendously high in the Poland Local Schools," Janofa said.
A graduate of the Salem High School's class of 1983, Janofa recalled to audience members that as far back as high school, people from Poland always "stood out" to him at athletic matches.
"You could just tell the pride and the enthusiasm that they had for their student athletes," Janofa said in an interview. "I still remember it to this day, how I was awestruck, how the community of Poland would support - whether it was at a home game or whether it was at our place."
Since 2006, Janofa has worked at Sandy Valley, where as superintendent, he reported that he was able to see state report card ratings rise.
"Three years into the position, we were able to achieve our first excellent rating," Janofa said. "Since then we've had three out of the last four years that Sandy Valley district has been excellent."
Prior to his time at Sandy Valley, Janofa served as both a high school principal and business operations manager at Marlington Schools in Alliance.
Athletically, Janofa has been active since his days in high school football and wrestling. After playing football at Youngstown State University and earning his bachelor of science in education, Janofa started his teaching career at Crestview Local Schools. He then went on to teach at Salem, also holding head football and head wrestling coach positions while at his alma mater. In total throughout his academic and administrative career, Janofa said he has been coaching for around 18 years.
Out of 26 applicants for the position, Janofa made it to the final round of interviews. Poland School Interim Superintendent Don Dailey explained that out of the 26, eight candidates were invited to first interviews and then two final candidates were chosen to be interviewed by administrators and stakeholders. Janofa's experience was one of the things interviewers looked at when naming him best choice for the district.
"He [Janofa] had experience as a teacher, experience as a coach, an athletic director, a business manager, a high school principal and he was superintendent the last seven years at Sandy Valley," Dailey said. "In addition to that, he stressed collaboration. He believes strongly in team effort."
Janofa has three daughters, Maggie, Emma and Clara. His wife Kelly is a third-grade teacher at Salem's Reilley Elementary School. At the meeting, Janofa introduced his family, saying that his wife is looking forward to being a Bulldog. Maggie, a nursing graduate, is recently employed at Salem Community Hospital, 11th-grader Emma is heavily involved in theater and choir, and 8th-grader Clara is involved in athletics.
At the meeting, Janofa stressed how excited he is to begin working with Poland school administrators, also adding in an interview that he was amazed and honored at the support the Poland community had shown at the meeting, adding that it meant a lot to him.
"I am so excited about being here and starting this journey. I don't have all the answers, but I know if we surround ourselves with great people, we're going to do great things," Janofa said of collaborative leadership. "Certainly that has been done here, and hopefully I can continue that journey."
The Poland Board of Education began searching for a new superintendent in January, enlisting the help of The Mahoning County Educational Service Center and MCESC Superintendent Ron Iarussi to assist in the search to replace Dr. Robert Zorn who retired last year after 42 years of service in the school district. Don Dailey is currently serving as interim superintendent until June 30.