Robert Hohlbein

Robert Hohlbein

HAVILAND — An experienced administrator was hired as the next principal of Grover Hill Elementary School during a special meeting of the Wayne Trace Local Board of Education Friday morning.

The board was also given an update by superintendent Ben Winans on how the district is educating and feeding students during the mandatory shutdown of schools by Gov. Mike DeWine amid the COVID-19 pandemic (see related story, Page A2).

Hired by the board on a three-year contract as principal at Grover Hill Elementary was Robert Hohlbein, who has spent the past 25 years in education, including the last 24 at Delphos City Schools, where he’s served as an elementary principal. Hohlbein will replace Kevin Wilson, who will retire at the end of 2019-20.

“Robert has been in education for 25 years, he began his career in special education (one year at Van Wert), before moving to another district where he’s been ever since,” began Winans. “He’s been a PE (physical education) teacher, an intervention specialist, a title teacher and was principal of two elementary schools.

“The varying educational experiences he’s had, at the level he’s going to be working, was one thing that set him apart,” continued Winans. “Another thing that set him apart was his development of a highly success ‘Begindergarten,’ two-year kindergarten program, and the fact he’s heavily involved in special education.”

Winans shared the district had 22 applicants for the position, and that two rounds of interviews were held.

Hohlbein is an Ottoville High School graduate; a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education; and a graduate of the University of Findlay (UF) with a masters of arts in education. In addition, he obtained his principal licensure from UF.

When asked about why he was interested in the principal position at Grover Hill Elementary, Hohlbein replied: “The makeup of the Wayne Trace district, the Grover Hill building and the opportunity there, and its proximity to my home are what most attracted me.”

Hohlbein, who lives in Ottoville with this wife, Kimberly, and their two children, Zach (12) and Kendall (9), is looking forward to meeting the staff at Grover Hill Elementary, and is hopeful to be back to work by fall.

“I’m excited about this opportunity, and I look forward to meeting everyone at Grover Hill and being ready when the doors open on the next school year,” said Hohlbein. “I’m ready for things to get back to normal, and I’m hopeful that by fall we’ll be past what’s happening now (coronavirus).

“Once I get to know the staff and the inner workings of the building and district, I’ll be able to bring in some additional things I’ve learned from my Delphos setting, and to combine the resources, tools and experiences at Grover Hill so we can continue to grow and to meet students’ needs.”

During the special meeting Friday, the board also approved the transfer of Brittany Cavinder from her current position as an intervention specialist at Grover Hill Elementary, to a fourth-grade teacher at that building.

“Brittany has been in our district the past two years, the first year as a long-term sub, and is currently an intervention specialist with us. Her licensure allows her to be able to move into that fourth-grade position,” said Winans. “With her energy, and the excitement she brings to education, we’re excited to see what she can do.”

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