ELIDA — The Elida Board of Education approved the hiring of a new high school principal and assistant principal at a special board meeting Wednesday, but not without disagreement.
Darren Sharp, who was hired as the assistant principal in the spring, was approved to be the new high school principal, after former Principal Brad Mendenhall quit unexpectedly earlier in July. Dan Larimore, an Elida high school math teacher, was hired as assistant principal.
Neither of the new hires have much experience in the positions they will be taking on beginning Friday, something Jeff Cristoff and Christine Ulrich expressed concern about.
Not only do the new hires not have the experience Cristoff believes they should, he also said that Cox did not go about the hiring process in the correct way and that there was a lack of communication. Ulrich also is concerned about who will mentor the new administrators.
“Although Mr. Mendenhall’s departure was sudden and unexpected, it does provide an opportunity to strengthen the leadership team based on prior administrative experience,” Cristoff said.
However, Cox said he did not violate the hiring procedure in any way. The procedure was rushed, which was because contracts begin Friday and he wanted to get someone in place before that date.
Both of the new hires have a great deal of potential as administrators, Cox said, and he would not have hired them if they didn’t. Pat Schymanski, Brenda Stocker and Jason Bowers supported Cox in how he went about hiring the new administrators.
Sharp was one of five or six applicants for the position, according to Cox. Out of the applicants he felt that Sharp would be the best principal for the school, especially after the praises his references made when Cox called. In addition, when Sharp was hired in the spring he was looked at by a panel with Mendenhall and a few teachers and they thought highly of him.
“I know that he doesn’t have a lot of administrative experience, however, he has tremendous potential to be a student-centered leader and to lead our school academically and to create an environment of success for all of our students that are here in the high school,” Cox said of Sharp.
Larimore has worked in Elida High School for many years, according to Cox, and is a very respected teacher. He was one of three choices for the assistant principal position in the spring. Cox also felt because he has worked in the building before he was a strong hire.
“I get that they don’t have a lot of experience but I’m going to work with them very closely to make sure that they’re the kind of administrators that Elida Local Schools can be proud of,” Cox said.