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Superintendent's statements don't jive


Skilling finalist for superintendent position in Ohio



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December 01, 2010 - Oxford Superintendent Dr. William Skilling's statements regarding his status in an Ohio school district's search for a new superintendent don't appear to jive with what's going on south of the Michigan border.

"I still have not officially applied for the superintendent position at Granville Exempted Village Schools, I am only a person of interest to them," Skilling wrote in a Dec. 5 e-mail sent to Oxford district staff and community members.

Located in Granville, Ohio, which is approximately 30 miles northeast of Columbus, Granville Schools serves 2,550 students and consists of four schools – high school, middle school, intermediate school and elementary school.

Despite Skilling's statement, based on the local newspaper (newarkadvocate.com) and the school district's website (www.granville.k12.oh.us), Skilling is the first of two or three finalists for the superintendent position there.

On Friday, Dec. 3, Skilling took a personal day off from work and traveled the 260 miles (one way) to Granville. He "spoke in front of a half a dozen people" and "shared his vision" in a "public session," according to an article at newarkadvocate.com entitled "Granville schools superintendent finalist shares vision."

The district website indicated that his public event was the first of three "community dialogue sessions" featuring one finalist each.

The sessions are designed to give parents and community members a chance to meet each finalist, learn about his or her background and qualifications, then ask him questions and submit feedback about their impressions of him.

Finalists for the other community dialogue sessions scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 9 and Friday, Dec. 10 have not been determined, according to Granville Interim Superintendent Cathleen Heidelberg.

Skilling's participation as a finalist in what was clearly a public forum regarding the Granville job appears to contradict another statement he made in his Dec. 5 e-mail.

"Since I was meeting with (the) Granville Exempted Village School Board privately, I thought it would be kept confidential until I made a decision whether or not to pursue it," he wrote.

The community dialogue session Skilling participated in was advertised ahead of time in both the local newspaper and on the district website.

Judging by what he wrote in his Dec. 5 e-mail, Skilling's not interested in taking another position in Michigan, but he is leaving the door open for out-of-state opportunities.

"I do not have any interest in leaving Oxford Community Schools to take another superintendent position in Michigan," he wrote. "If I stay in Michigan, it will be in Oxford. When the day comes for me to leave Oxford, I will be retiring from public education in Michigan."

According to the on-line story at newarkadvocate.com, "Skilling admitted the timing of coming to Granville might not be perfect for him. But he said Granville has a great many advantages for him professionally and for his family. His wife's relatives live near Columbus. And he thinks Granville would be a great place to raise his children."

Skilling is quoted by newarkadvocate.com as telling folks at the community dialogue session, "I think I might have greater opportunity for greater balance here."

In his Dec. 5 e-mail, Skilling wrote that he informed Oxford School Board President Colleen Schultz "prior to meeting with Granville's Board" and indicated this meeting was done "as a courtesy."

Despite leaving messages at her home, work and cellular numbers, Schultz did not return calls seeking comment.

The Oxford Board of Education issued a statement Dec. 3 on the district's website (www.oxfordschools.org) that read – "When you have a superintendent who is held in such high regard throughout the educational community as Dr. Skilling, it is not uncommon for other districts to be interested in his services. The fact is that Dr. Skilling has had numerous districts contact him over the past two years about openings in their district.

"While Dr. Skilling has not been pursuing any other superintendent position, he was contacted by the Granville Exempted Village School District in Ohio, and as a professional courtesy granted them an opportunity to speak to him about their superintendent position."

Skilling's status as a finalist for the Ohio job came a day after a Dec. 2 posting on the Granville district website announced that he had just been added to a list of six candidates for the superintendent position. However, the district's posting noted Skilling "had been a person of interest earlier in the search."

The other five candidates were selected during the Nov. 20 meeting of the Granville Board of Education.

According to Granville's website, the district is "committed to selecting a new superintendent prior to the winter break." The district's goal is to have the new superintendent in place in January.

Heidelberg indicated this remains the district's goal, but that could change.

Skilling, who's been with the Oxford school district since July 2007, couldn't be reached for comment at the time this story was posted. Messages were left his cellular and office numbers.

This story will be updated on-line as new information becomes available.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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