Fort Frye hires new superintendent

BEVERLY-The Fort Frye Local Board of Education on Thursday voted to accept the resignation of district superintendent Tom Gibbs, and during the same session hired Barlow-Vincent Elementary principal Stephanie Starcher as Gibbs’ replacement.

“It’s with much regret, but I’ll have to vote for it,” board member Dave White said of the decision to accept the superintendent’s resignation, noting Gibbs had joined the Fort Frye Local District just a year ago.

Gibbs was already superintendent of the Warren Local District when he agreed to also take on the duties of Fort Frye Local District superintendent last year.

He served eight year as Warren’s superintendent.

Gibbs has submitted his resignation in order to take a job as associate superintendent with Athens City Schools. The Athens board accepted his application Thursday night.

“Initially I’ll be in charge of transportation, buildings and grounds, and doing whatever I can to assist the superintendent-I’ll start Aug. 1 in Athens,” he said via a phone call following the Athens BOE session.

The resignation becomes effective July 31, but Gibbs said he’s already been living in Athens County for the last two years, where he also teaches classes at Ohio University.

Starcher has served as principal of Barlow-Vincent Elementary for the last five years, but has been with the Warren Local District for 12 years now.

“Mr. Gibbs has done a fantastic job in both districts, and I just hope I’ll be able to live up to the Fort Frye Board’s expectations,” she said after the board voted unanimously to approve her 3-year contract as superintendent, which will begin Aug. 1.

Her annual salary will be $92,000, according to board treasurer Melcie Wells.

“We’re very excited and happy to have her,” said board president Johnna Zalmanek, adding that Starcher had been recommended for the post by Gibbs.

Starcher said her contract as principal with the Warren Local District expires at the end of June.

The Warren Local Board is currently doing a statewide search for a new superintendent, she said.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity-a good fit for me,” Starcher said. “And I appreciate the Fort Frye Board’s willingness to approve my contract.”

The Fort Frye Board also approved a contract with Starcher for up to five days at $353 per day during her upcoming transition period into the superintendent’s position.

Starcher resides near Belpre with husband, Jeff Starcher, and their two daughters, McKinley and Sydney. The family has lived in the local area since 1996.