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A personal update

About six weeks ago, our family circumstances were altered in such a way that we are required to relocate about an hour and a half from Canton to Lorain County. While it’s not appropriate to publicly share the specific reasons, Lorain County is where my wife is from, where my stepsons currently attend school (we drive them back and forth) and where my in-laws reside. Once this reality became clear to us, I met with our district leadership team and then the Board of Education to share the recent developments in my personal life and how those changes would eventually impact my professional life. Word quickly spread that I was resigning. I’ve been addressing those rumors since that time, which is one of the many reasons I’m writing to you today. In the midst of these developments, just last week, I was notified by a board member in the Lorain City Schools that the State was going to post the position of CEO/Superintendent for Lorain City Schools, a district currently under State oversight. For those unfamiliar with Lorain, it is located in the northern part of Lorain County, and I served there previously, from 2015-2017. He recommended I apply. I submitted my application for the position last night. It’s important to me that I am the one to share that information with you. This is the last thing our family thought we would be announcing after a truly wonderful year in the Canton City Schools. As many of you know, we purchased a home in Canton and are in the middle of remodeling it, truly excited to live here. We have developed dear, dear friendships in this short time. No matter if you’re in Canton for a year or a decade it doesn’t take long to discover who Canton is and what Canton is all about — we love it here. Although I can’t predict the outcome of the process for position for which I’m applying, I do understand that as the word gets out, the mere fact that I’ve applied will create a distraction we don’t need. I apologize for that. I’ve had people suggest that in order to honor the commitment I made to the Canton City Schools, instead of moving, I should live in the house we own in Canton while my wife and children move to Lorain County. The thought was that I could see my family on the weekends. The reality is that I would love to honor the commitment I made to our Canton community. However, I also made a promise to be a husband, father, son, stepfather and stepson. To provide perspective into my journey, my wife is a cancer survivor. Her cancer returned two years ago. Almost two years ago to the day, her doctor told us that she had a growth on her liver that was “inoperable and would result in the loss of life.” We thought we had about six months left together. Miraculously, we received a call a week later from the same doctor who said that the first radiologist misread the results. He now believed that the growth was noncancerous that wouldn’t grow or spread. She had more tests that confirmed the latter theory. I share all that to say that I can’t live separate from my family. Life is too short.

Canton City Schools has an amazing team and I am very proud that we have begun implementing a strategic plan for the district that was informed by listening to stakeholders and educational experts to improve our culture, expand the arts, provide expanded social-emotional learning supports, and an overall more rigorous educational experience for our students.

Although we were blessed to accomplish a great deal over the past year, there is so much work still to be done. Regardless of whether my circumstances dictate that I continue my professional path in Canton or Lorain I have total confidence in our staff and leadership team — a team that has included and will continue to include the leadership of all of our unions. We have very talented people who are passionate about serving and engaged in best practices. This is the true formula for success to ensure the children of Canton are taken care of, and that the community remains strong. Our community supported a levy during a time of incredible economic uncertainty — which speaks to the confidence they have in the direction we are heading. Moving forward, I have no doubt our staff will maintain our current trajectory. The board of education, administrative team, teachers and support staff in the Canton City Schools are some of the finest individuals I’ve ever worked with. Throughout the many changes over the past few years, and the many they will see in the months and years to come, our employees have demonstrated the energy, expertise and heart needed to get our kids what they need to compete. This was especially evident when the COVID-19 crisis hit and we needed to respond quickly with a plan to provide for the basic needs of our students and families, in addition to all that is required of delivering quality remote learning. We have truly amazing people. I want to give special thanks to the members of our Board of Education for the overwhelming level of support they provided for our work, our staff and for me personally - especially over the past couple of months as I worked through the challenges of our family’s new reality. I truly appreciate the compassion and support they’ve demonstrated.

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