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Warren Elementary principal to retire

Photo by Michele Newbanks Ashley Skinner is taking over the reins from Joe Oliverio as he prepares to retire as Warren Elementary School principal.

VINCENT — Warren Elementary School will see new leadership next school year, but the current and future principals are working together to make the transition seamless.

It was announced at Monday’s Warren Local Board of Education meeting that Joe Oliverio would retire after 39 years in education and Ashley Skinner was presented as his replacement.

Skinner has worked for Warren schools for eight years and for Wood County Schools before that. She said she works with the whole band of students, from gifted students who need some acceleration to at-risk students.

“Maybe setting them up for documentation to show that they need some special education services and start that qualification,” Skinner said.

She said she’s always been in this area, getting her master’s degree at Ohio University, her parents live on Warrior Drive.

She had been trying to get back into Warren, but there wouldn’t be a posting that year. She was finally given the opportunity when enrollment was high and they needed another fourth kindergarten teacher.

She said she’s started to remove herself from her current position and there will be a long-term substitute starting Monday. She will be principal this fall, with Oliverio working through June 30.

She said she feels blessed that she wasn’t just thrown into the position, but she has time to work on the job transition.

She applied for the principal position after Oliverio announced his retirement to the staff right before spring break.

“This is where my heart is. When I went to apply I just wanted someone who knows this area and is here to stay,” she said.

She also has children enrolled at Warren Elementary. One is in fifth grade, one is in third grade and her youngest, a 3-year-old, will start school in a couple of years.

Skinner said she’s looking forward to working with the teachers.

“How our building is designed, you are stuck there with your pod. You just see your pod mates, but you don’t get to venture out. I’m excited to support the teachers and see them in action.”

She’s also excited to see the kids she worked with in kindergarten rise through the ranks as third and fourth graders.

Skinner said she is interested in getting back into the activities like the literacy nights that were held at Little Hocking Elementary.

“I know our communities want that and so do our families,” she said. “It’s just a mix of seeing people again. We offer a lot for the community.”

Literacy night will be held May 5 with a camping theme. Students will walk away with a book and activities to do over the summer, she said.

Oliverio doesn’t have plans for his retirement, but he said he and his wife enjoy traveling

He’s been with Warren schools for five years, starting as associate principal at Warren Elementary. The 39-year teacher took over as principal this year.

“I was a high school band and choir director for 14 years. I got into administration in Wood County and enjoyed the opportunities they had,” he said.

After retiring in West Virginia, he was looking forward to new things when Warren Schools called and asked him to come in to talk about a job.

“It was a great opportunity to get back in, but 39 years is a long time. I feel I’ve accomplished the goals that were established. I look forward to what else life holds,” he said.

He said when it came to the timing of his retirement, “when you know you know.”

“I wanted to be fair to the community, the staff and the students,” he said.

He said he will not miss all the walking he does in his job.

“Last year I put over 600 miles walking in this building during the school year,” he said. “This year, I’m almost at 520. That’s in dress shoes. Concrete building with concrete floor. You do the best you can.”

He said there is a sense of fellowship and belonging at Warren.

“I’m going to miss the day-to-day contact with kids. That’s the whole reason most people get into education,” Oliverio said. “The goofy things they say, the smiles, the hugs, the high-fives. They give you energy. This job takes a lot of energy sometimes, so if you can get some from 775 kids under the age of 10, it’s exciting. There’s never a dull moment.”

He said he’s known Skinner since the time they both worked for Wood County Schools.

“There’s a mutual respect for each other. I want her to succeed. I’ll do everything in my power to assist her until she gets the key fob,” he said.

He said he’ll be enjoying his retirement while the school gets ready for the next school year.

“They’ll be ready for the students, they’ll be ready for the teachers and I’ll be ready for a glass of sweet tea,” he said with a laugh.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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