Hire education in Warren district

VINCENT – The Warren Local Board of Education rounded out the district’s 2013-14 administrative team Monday by hiring two assistant principals and an athletic director.

Shane Freshour, a sixth-grade math teacher in the Belpre City School district, was approved as the Barlow-Vincent Elementary School assistant principal, while Ryan Lemley, a social studies teacher at Southern High School in Meigs County, got the job as assistant principal at the high school. Both hires were approved in a single 5-0 vote.

The board voted 4-1 to hire current Warren High School cross country Coach Debbie Proctor as athletic director. Board member Bob Allen voted against the motion, citing concerns about the selection process raised by two volunteer sports assistants at the meeting.

Freshour, a 36-year-old Parkersburg resident who has worked in the Belpre district for 11 years, said his wife is a graduate of Warren High School and he felt joining the district was a good opportunity.

“It’s a great school district, and when the job came open, I was quick to jump on applying,” he said.

Freshour also serves as Belpre’s junior high athletic director and is an assistant coach on the high school baseball team.

Lemley, who is Southern’s head baseball coach, was not present at Monday’s meeting, but incoming Superintendent Kyle Newton said he’s enthusiastic about the job and was a “great candidate.”

“I’m really excited for how he and Ben (Cunningham) will work together,” Newton said.

Cunningham was hired last week as the Warren High School principal along with Gallia County resident Robin Carter as the Barlow-Vincent principal. Newton said the administrators that left the schools – including two who became superintendents in other districts – will be hard to replace, but he’s pleased with the teams now in place.

“They complement each other well,” said Newton, who was hired last month to succeed current Superintendent Tom Gibbs, who is leaving for an associate superintendent job with the Athens City school district.

Proctor, 46, of Fleming, was hired as a full-time athletic director, taking over a job that had been split between part-time director Fred Ruth and high school administrators in recent years. She’s coming to the district from Camden-Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, where she is manager of guest and supportive services and a patient advocate.

“It’s humbling, but it would be rewarding to follow in the footsteps of those who’ve paved the way,” Proctor said, citing Ruth and previous athletic directors Dave Fouss and Jim Pifer.

At the start of the meeting, Jerry Mitchem, 62, a Warren Township resident and volunteer assistant coach with the varsity girls basketball team, told board members he was concerned with the makeup of the committee that chose Proctor.

“Why (weren’t) there more coaches involved in it, and why wasn’t a board member involved?” he said.

Mitchem and his son Jered, 26, a Little Hocking resident who volunteers with the track team, said they understood only one high school coach was on the committee and they’d heard from many people who thought there should have been more representation from sports teams.

Gibbs said after the meeting the committee consisted of Newton, Warren Elementary Principal Trisha Delaney (because no high school administrators had been hired at the time) and four high school teachers, two of whom have extensive coaching experience.

The elder Mitchem said he did not know Proctor and was not criticizing her abilities. However, he said he knew of four people “I would love to see have another interview” and felt had a strong enough background to oversee the athletics programs, especially as membership in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League is dwindling.

“I think if you do that, people can live with your decision from then on,” he said.

Board member John Nichols said he had gotten a couple of calls about the matter, and board member Bob Crum said he’d had several as well, all positive.

“I received nine phone calls … saying that we made a very wise choice,” he said.

Nichols noted that board members had been invited to participate with the committee.

“Me personally, I decided I would take the committee’s recommendation,” he said.

For her part, Proctor said she would have no hard feelings toward the Mitchems. Since they do not know her, she said, they were unaware of her background, which includes seven years of coaching first softball then cross country in the district. She said she has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and health care administration and, in her work at Camden-Clark, she has experience in budget planning, cost analysis and conflict resolution, among other areas.

“Had he known my educational background, I think he would think differently about me,” she said.