WARREN - A former superintendent from Trumbull County is returning to the area to work at the city school district - as its executive director of business operations.
Warren City Schools Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously appointed Michael Wasser of McDonald to the post. He was awarded a one-year contract, which provides an annual salary of roughly $90,000, effective July 23, 2012, through June 30, 2013. Wasser is replacing Michael Notar, who moved from the position to the high school principal's seat earlier this year.
Joshua Englehart, lead principal at McGuffey, was named executive director of business operations in May but did not remain in the position.
"It's good to be back, to be closer to home," Wasser said. "I've always loved this area and working in Trumbull County. It's a good move for me."
Wasser, who was at Tuesday's meeting, has been working as an elementary school teacher for Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district since July 2010. In February 2010, Wasser resigned as superintendent at McDonald Local School District shortly after the state's Financial Planning and Supervision Commission rejected the district's financial recovery plan. At the time school officials said Wasser would remain with the district through the end of the school year, but that his interaction with the school board regarding the district's financial planning process would be limited.
Wasser started with McDonald in 2003. On Tuesday, he said little of his time there except that he was sad to go.
The McDonald Local School District was placed in fiscal emergency in 2009 after it was discovered it was in debt for $2 million. In 2012 , the district passed a financial recovery plan designed to save it more than $500,000 over the next two years. However, the state determined it wasn't enough and suggested the district attempt to save an additional $400,000.
A 1972 graduate of McDonald High School, Wasser spent seven years in Warren City Schools as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
Warren School Board President Regina Patterson said she is aware of McDonald's financial hardships under Wasser's reign, but trusts the district administration's recommendation that he is the best man for the job.
"We are confident in his qualifications and his references," Patterson said after the vote. "That has nothing to do with now, here in this school district, where we feel he is a good fit. We are confident in his abilities and that he will do the job."
Loree Richardson, interim superintendent, said several people applied, and five candidates were interviewed.
"We checked his references and qualifications over thoroughly and spoke with past board members from other school districts, and we received positive responses from his references," Richardson said. "We are glad to have him back."
Meanwhile, Warren could soon be in the market for a new principal at Warren G. Harding High School.
Notar, who has been serving in the position since Ruth Zitnik left in January, said that nothing is official yet. However he is a top candidate for superintendent at another school district. That school board is expected to vote on the matter at a meeting tonight.
In related news, the school board named Dani Burns a K-8 principal at Lincoln; Christopher Neifer, a K-8 principal at McGuffey; and Andre Smith, a 3-5 pod leader at McGuffey. Burns and Neifer were each given a one-year contract, effective July 16, 2012 through June 30. Smith's contract extends from July 30, 2012 through June 30, 2014.