NAPOLEON — The search to replace retiring Napoleon Area City Schools superintendent Dr. Stephen Fogo has been cut to four candidates, according to a press release from Cheryl Ryan of the Ohio School Boards Association.

Fogo, who has served as superintendent the past seven years and 24 years in all in the district, announced his resignation for the purpose of retirement, effective July 31, at the December 2018 meeting of the board.

According to the press release, the search to replace Fogo was organized in January, progressed through a six-week recruitment, several community and staff focus group sessions, a first round of interviews with eight candidates, and has now moved to the next stage, where the board has chosen four candidates as finalists.

“The board really enjoyed meeting all the candidates in the first round. We had consensus around the four we’ve chosen to continue with, and are glad each of them are also still enthusiastic about this opportunity,” said Napoleon Area Board of Education president Ty Otto in the press release.

The four finalists are: Erik Belcher, Fayette Local Schools superintendent; Chad Cripe, Tippecanoe Valley High School (of Akron, Ind.) principal; Tim Myers, Van Buren Local Schools superintendent; and Ryan Wilde, Napoleon Junior/Senior High School principal. Cripe was also a finalist to become the next superintendent of Defiance City Schools. That position was offered to Bob Morton on Thursday.

According to information on niche.com, Fayette Local Schools serves approximately 400 students in grades prekindergarten-12; Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation serves approximately 2,000 students in grades prekindergarten-12; Van Buren Local School serves approximately 1,000 students in grades kindergarten-12; and Napoleon Area City Schools serves approximately 2,000 in grades prekindergarten-12.

The four finalists will interview again for the position on Wednesday with board of education members. The finalists also will meet briefly with a group of selected staff and community members. An announcement about the next superintendent is expected to be made before the end of the month.

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