Ed Weber will begin his tenure as superintendent of the Wellington Schools on Feb. 1 following a contentious search and hiring process.
Weber said he understands apprehensions held by parents who’ve seen frequent administrative turnover in Wellington.
“They’re going to have those fears because that’s what their short-term experience has been,” he said. “Until I’m here for longer than the short-term, those fears won’t go away. I don’t want to minimize how people feel. It is what it is. Hopefully, as I expend myself in the community and get the day-to-day work done they’re going to see that things are different.”
He arrives after serving as principal of the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine for the past 10 years — one of three schools located on the John Hay Campus and part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
For the past month, he has worked in the district alongside interim superintendent Tom Tucker in an effort to smooth the transition process. He was mayor Hans Schneider’s guest Jan. 21 for the monthly Coffee with the Mayor breakfast at Bread-N-Brew on South Main Street.
“Feb. 1 doesn’t even feel like my official first day,” Weber said. “One of my priorities right away will be to go on a listening tour around the community. I think the coffee breakfast certainly aligns with that. I want to meet some of the top companies in the Wellington district, visit some of the churches, and start planning those meetings now so they can happen right away in February.”
Weber was selected over two other finalists: William Greene, assistant superintendent of business services in the North Ridgeville school district, and Tim Simpson, assistant principal of Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma and principal of McCormick Middle School in Wellington from 2009 to 2015.
“I want to speak with the parents, the farms, the community organizations, and really collect a lot of input,” said Weber. “All of it will be taken into consideration as we begin to put together our academic planning for next year.”
The board voted in favor of hiring Weber 3-2, with members Ayers Ratliff and Daniel Rosecrans casting the dissenting votes.
Weber said academic and fiscal success can still be found despite continuing decreases in state and federal aid to public education.
“As we modernize our curriculum and workforce we should see steady improvement in our academic achievement,” he said. “That should lift a lot of confidence in our schools going forward. I do think the state, to some degree, picks winners and losers in what programs they fund and which ones they don’t. Maybe we need to look carefully into new state initiatives that are getting the funding and see if they would benefit our students. That can help the district both academically and financially.”
The Wellington Schools received an overall D grade on its most recent Ohio report card and F’s for progress, elementary reading, and gap-closing.
Administrators such as Wellington High School principal Tina Drake have criticized formulas used on the report cards such as counting students who opt out of state testing as zero scores after the state gave them permission to not take the test in the first place.
“The models aren’t perfect by any means,” said Weber. “I do think the last round of report card upgrades really made it more rigorous. In the past they scored you in certain categories out of 100 points but now it’s 120 points. You hate to see that happen, but on the other side, I love that they’re trying to push the benchmark higher. Our students only win when we raise the benchmarks. A district never likes getting a C or a D, but this concept of raising the benchmarks for students is good. How they come up with the formulas is sometimes questionable, but the concept is good.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Ed Weber will take over Feb. 1 as superintendent of the Wellington Schools after serving as principal of the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine for the past 10 years.