When new interim superintendent Tom Tucker steps into the Wellington Schools on Aug. 29, he’ll enter a district that has seen high turnover on many levels in recent years.
Former superintendent Dennis Mock left Wellington for the same position in Margaretta in early August, resulting in the Ohio Education Service Center’s Greg Ring being named acting superintendent until Tucker was brought out of retirement.
“When Margaretta’s superintendent job opened up, I thought I may get a call,” said Tucker. “After Mr. Mock was offered the job, I was happy for him but had no idea Wellington would be calling me. Mr. Mock called me and asked if I’d be interested, and I was.”
Tucker served as Lorain City Schools superintendent from 2012 until his retirement in 2015. Before that, he worked in Lorain from 1980 to 2008 in a number of positions including human resources director and teachers’ union negotiator. He left there in 2008 to become the Sandusky Schools’ assistant superintendent, then was promoted to superintendent in 2010.
In Lorain he had passed a levy, balanced the budget, brought back art and music programs, and increased enrollment.
“The difference between the two districts is sheer numbers,” he said. “I’ll be able to get to know kids a little better and be working with staff in Wellington more directly. In Lorain I presided over 15 or so schools, which adds up to 60 or 70 principals. There’s layers of people that didn’t let you be as hands-on as what will happen out here.”
Tucker said periods of high turnover, especially in smaller school districts, can often be attributed to shallower pools of candidates and what time of the year the job opens up.
He also said he is not aspiring to become Wellington’s permanent superintendent.
“This is on an interim basis. That’s what my contact states,” he said. “Traditionally in smaller districts, where there aren’t quite as many administrators, the cycle to hire people comes in the spring… It’s difficult to hire an up-and-coming administrator this time of the year in a smaller district. In larger districts, there is a larger pool of candidates waiting in the wings.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.