AYERSVILLE — The resignation of board member David Kern was accepted by the Ayersville Local Board of Education during its meeting Monday evening. An agreement with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center (NwOESC) to lead a search for the district’s next superintendent also was approved, and superintendent Don Digilia announced middle/high school students will go to remote learning Jan. 4-8, 2021.
In addition, the board approved a resolution declaring it necessary to renew a 1.6-mill, five-year levy for the district’s indoor natatorium, okayed a pair of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the Ayersville Education Association concerning employee attendance and sick days during the COVID-19 pandemic, and learned the district earned LEED silver certification (see related story, page A2).
Kern, who served on the board for six years, tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 22. In November, he was elected as a Defiance County commissioner with his term commencing in January. Kern was elected to a second term on the Ayersville Local Board of Education in November 2019, and would have liked to stay in both roles if allowed.
“I was told by the board of elections that I can’t serve in both capacities because there would be a conflict of interest,” said Kern. “I looked into whether or not I could serve both, but it wasn’t meant to be. I would serve on both if I could do so.”
Kern thanked his fellow board members, past and present, Diglia and CFO/treasurer Abby Sharp, for the opportunity to serve at Ayersville.
“I would like to thank the community for giving me the opportunity to serve on the board, it has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Kern. “It’s bittersweet moving into my new position, my new position is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but having to relinquish my seat on the board is very tough.
“It was wonderful working with Don and Abby on the school building project, and with the community on that, we couldn’t have done it without everyone,” added Kern. “I’ve enjoyed working with this board and past boards, maybe someday I’ll be back here, but I want to thank everyone, again, for this opportunity.”
Diglia thanked Kern for his service to the board, to the Ayersville Education Foundation and for being a member of the new building core team.
“Mr. Kern has been a voice for the Ayersville community, serving countless hours working on how to make public education the best it can be for every child,” said Diglia. “I would personally like to thank Mr. Kern for his dedication, hard work and commitment to the comprehensive educational experiences of our students.
“You have provided the vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs and school facilities,” added Diglia. “Thank you, Mr. Kern.”
A special meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the board to review applications for the board vacancy. The person selected to fill Kern’s vacancy will serve out the rest of his term that expires Dec. 31, 2023.
Ayersville Local Board of Education president Char Ondrus, shared the board began seeking applicants on Dec. 14, and that prospective board members have until Wednesday to apply. Applicants can send a resume and cover letter to Ondrus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have three applicants to date,” said Ondrus. “We plan to meet Wednesday night to discuss the applicants we have received, and we plan to hold interviews the week of Dec. 28.”
A new member will be selected prior to the board’s organization/regular meeting Jan. 11, 2021.
The board also approved an agreement with the NwOESC for the purpose of leading a search for the next Ayersville Local Schools superintendent. In October, Diglia announced his intention to retire at the end of his current contract, which expires July 31, 2021.
Diglia who was hired as superintendent at Ayersville Local Schools June 3, 2015, came out of retirement to take the position at Ayersville after serving for 10 years as superintendent at Elida Local Schools.
Ondrus shared that the board and NwOESC will work together to find Diglia’s replacement.
“(NwOESC superintendent) Kerri Weir will meet with us to discuss what we’re looking for in a superintendent and the timeline to hire a new one,” said Ondrus. “Last meeting, Kerri came to us and showed us the impressive services the NwOESC offers and some of the materials they’ve used in recent local searches.
“We know the ESC is very thorough and will be helpful in our search,” added Ondrus. “The good news is we don’t need to be in a rush, because Don is still here until the end of July.”
Citing an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and contact tracing, Diglia announced students in grades 7-12 will go to remote learning Jan. 4-8, 2021. Students in grades K-6, however, will report for in-person learning.
Said Diglia: “After seeing an uptick in cases following Thanksgiving, we felt it would be in our best interest to do this to give us something breathing room after Christmas. Currently four of the five districts in county plan to go remote that week.”