West Holmes superintendent search narrows to 2

West Holmes superintendent search narrows to 2
Dave Mast

Current West Holmes Schools superintendent John Thomas has been praised for his work ethic and willingness to not just lead, but also let others lead as well. He is preparing to invest plenty of time guiding the newly selected superintendent through the operations.


First, there were nearly 30 candidates applying for the role as the next West Holmes Schools superintendent. Then there were eight, followed by six, and as of press time, that number stood at two.

With the guidance of Teri Morgan, senior deputy director of board and management services for the Ohio School Boards Association, the West Holmes School Board interviewed its final six candidates recently in the opening round of interviews, and the process narrowed the possible next superintendent down to two candidates they felt were the best fits to lead the district into the future.

The short list of two candidates included George Fisk, currently the superintendent at Norwalk Schools, and Eric Jurkovic, who is currently principal at New Philadelphia High School.

According to West Holmes School Board member Andrew Jones, the interview process went as well as the board could have ever hoped, and they feel confident the final-two candidates are more than qualified. Now it is simply a matter of zeroing in on which one they believe is the best selection.

“The interview process went really well,” Jones said. “We ended up going from eight interview candidates down to six when two of them withdrew prior to the interview process. All of the candidates we did interview did very well, were well credentialed, and we felt all six would be good candidates for superintendent somewhere. What we focused on in narrowing it down to two was finding the best fit for West Holmes and the community.”

The board and district worked closely with Morgan to create a list of qualifications the district was seeking in a new superintendent. Jones said Morgan gathered a great deal of data and input from both the district staff and community members, compiled it, and then gave the board a list of 10 questions they in turn asked each of the candidates.

“One of the nice things about that process was that each candidate was asked and had to respond to the same set of questions,” Jones said. “The questions ranged from budget, to leadership, to personnel issues, and it worked out really well because we heard answers from the same set of questions and really learned a great deal about each candidate through the process because they also had some wide-ranging questions for us.”

Jones said the board wanted to trim the list to two candidates through the first round of interviews, and they did so successfully. He noted each board member was in agreement that these two particular candidates stood out among what they said was a fine cast of candidates.

“It was encouraging to all be on the same page,” Jones said.

The second round of interviews took place Thursday, March 4, and while Jones said they would love to get a new superintendent named quickly, there is no need to rush because the board is actually ahead of the curve and had time to do some in-depth evaluation before they tab a new superintendent and begin the transition.

Jones said the plan moving forward is to have whomever the board chooses to come in and work closely with John Thomas, the current superintendent who agreed to take on the role for just one year as a transitional position. Jones said the board has been thrilled with the way Thomas has performed this year, both leading and allowing the staff and administration to lead as well.

“John has agreed to make himself available, even on weekends, so whomever we pick can come in and work closely with him to make for a smooth transition,” Jones said. “It’s nice to know that part of the puzzle is taken care of. It would just be a matter of coordinating our schedules with the finalist.”

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