CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio – Jennifer Penczarski and her husband, Michael, are initially from northeastern Ohio, and that is one of many causes she was drawn to the place of Superintendent of Chagrin Falls Colleges.
“We’re from the Akron-Canton space so we wished to return dwelling in some methods,” mentioned Penczarski, a Lake Excessive Faculty graduate who grew up in Uniontown. “However I feel it is deeper than that.
“I feel the (essential) factor that drew us to Chagrin Falls was their educational excellence. Chagrin Falls is understood statewide for what it does, and different districts aspire to do the job.
“So I feel that makes it a really thrilling place.”
Penczarski, who has served as Superintendent of Colleges in Kenton Metropolis since 2010, will likely be Superintendent of Colleges in Chagrin Falls efficient July 1.
The Chagrin Falls faculty board employed Penczarski at a particular assembly on April 14. She was given a three-year contract, efficient August 1, however the board additionally approved her employment as appearing superintendent from July 1 to July 31.
Penczarski, 46, will succeed Robert Hunt, who’s leaving the district to change into superintendent of the Barrington 220 Group Unit Faculty District within the Larger Chicago space.
Hunt, who has served because the Chagrin Falls Colleges Superintendent since 2012, will stay with the district till the top of this faculty 12 months and help with Penczarski’s transition. He begins his new place on July 1.
In an interview on Friday (April 16), Penczarski mentioned she was very excited when she realized that she had been chosen as the subsequent superintendent of Chagrin Falls faculties.
“Chagrin Falls is a spot that my husband and I assumed match very effectively, from the interviews to some private visits that we had made,” she mentioned.
“I feel all through the method – talking with the neighborhood, with the employees, with the mother and father and with the board – that this can be a place the place we would slot in rather well. So we had been delighted.
Penczarski mentioned she appreciates the eagerness for college students and schooling of the folks she has met up to now in Chagrin Falls.
“I may inform you that it’s a very caring, very pleasant, very welcoming neighborhood,” she mentioned. “Michael and I went for a stroll and talked to some folks, and everyone seems to be so candy.”
Penczarski mentioned she was additionally impressed with the work the varsity district is doing academically, in addition to a few of its objectives and strategic planning.
“In case you have a look at their publication (state) generally, they’re doing an incredible job,” she mentioned. “I feel it is a actually strong basis that I can contribute to, and I hope to proceed main them within the path they wish to go.”
Akron Springfield Excessive Faculty graduate Penczarski and Michael have been married for 22 years. Her mother and father nonetheless reside in Uniontown.
Finalist in two analysis initiatives
Penczarski was chosen from 22 nominees and three finalists in a seek for a superintendent that started in January, after Hunt introduced he was accepting the job with Barrington.
Across the similar time, Penczarski was additionally a finalist in a second superintendent search. She was among the many prime three candidates thought-about by faculties in Lebanon Metropolis, Cincinnati space.
This case prompted the Chagrin Falls faculty board to lift its schedule. The board was initially scheduled to do last interviews for the place on April 13-14, however these had been introduced ahead to April 5.
“I utilized to Lebanon for various causes, simply to be trustworthy, however Chagrin was our first alternative,” Penczarski mentioned. “I had first spherical talks in each districts, and I made finals in each.
“Chagrin Falls interviewed me first for the second spherical and provided me a job, so I pulled out of Lebanon. I by no means went again and did the second spherical (in Lebanon), as a result of Chagrin Falls was the place we wished to be.
Penczarski’s contract with faculties in Kenton Metropolis – situated in Hardin County in northwest Ohio – expires subsequent 12 months. The Kenton Faculty Board accepted her resignation, efficient June 30, as superintendent at its common assembly on Monday April 19, which is able to permit her to start out Chagrin Falls faculties on July 1.
“I have been in Kenton for 11 years,” she says. “It is a neighborhood that I like, however I additionally want progress.
“We’re lifelong learners and we serve learners, so I feel it is essential to me that Chagrin Falls additionally helps me develop in my management, study and have alternatives that I haven’t got. right here in Kenton.
Penczarski added that she is assured that the Kenton Board of Schooling will be capable to discover a top quality alternative for her to “proceed the work we’re already doing.”
“I feel they are going to fill my place pretty shortly, provided that we worth the expansion of leaders and our administrators,” she mentioned.
“It is a quick time frame (for Kenton Faculty Board). They’ll have challenges, however I’ll assist them and ensure they’re effectively taken care of.
‘Tremendous massive sneakers to fill’
Penczarski mentioned she hasn’t had an opportunity to talk a lot with Hunt but and even meet him in particular person. However she readily admitted that taking up from Hunt she had “actually massive sneakers to fill.”
“He was simply acknowledged final 12 months because the (Ohio) Superintendent of the Yr (by the Buckeye Affiliation of Faculty Directors),” she mentioned. “I feel that claims so much about management and neighborhood.
“I feel it is actually essential to construct on the work that has already been completed and establish these strengths. If there are weaknesses and areas we wish to develop in, we wish to have the ability to establish them and begin planning and setting objectives to maintain us on monitor to maneuver ahead.
Generally folks wish to make massive modifications once they step into new positions, Penczarski mentioned.
“I do not know it is all the time the most effective plan,” she mentioned. “It is actually essential for me, in transitioning to Chagrin Falls, to be sure that my first precedence is to hunt to know first.
“It is a high quality of management that we train our youngsters right here in Kenton, so I’ve to hunt first to know and study, after which to construct on the foundations that now we have laid.
Penczarski mentioned she noticed what she would describe as “shared management and possession” in faculties in Chagrin Falls.
“It seems like they empower their employees and college students to take possession and lead the academic course of,” she mentioned. “It is important, to essentially have a powerful tradition and to have the ability to do an unimaginable job and obtain these very excessive requirements.”
As for the strengths she thinks she brings to the place, Penczarski mentioned she was “very open, trustworthy and clear.
“I feel it actually helped me achieve success right here at Kenton and simply be a powerful chief generally,” she mentioned. “I work very arduous to construct these intentional relationships and these mutually helpful partnerships, in order that the neighborhood is actually a part of the varsity and the varsity is actually a part of the neighborhood.
Started as a music trainer
Penczarski began his profession as a music trainer. At one time, his profession purpose was to change into an expert bassoonist.
“I performed bassoon within the Lake Excessive Faculty orchestra and likewise within the Canton Youth Symphony Orchestra in highschool,” she says. “I took music classes for school credit score from Akron College whereas I used to be in highschool.”
Penczarski went on to earn a BA in Music Schooling and Music Efficiency from the College of Miami at Oxford, the place she served as the overall supervisor of the marching band for 2 years.
“I did each levels, however I simply knew I used to be going to show the youngsters music,” she mentioned. “That is what I wished to do.”
Penczarski’s first job was director of instrumental music from grades 5 to 12 at native faculties from Tuslaw to Massillon, the place she labored from 1997 to 2005.
“Whereas I used to be doing this job, my supervisor instructed me, ‘You would possibly take into consideration getting your administrator license as a result of you’ve gotten robust expertise for working with folks and fixing issues,’” she mentioned. declared. “I wanted to get my masters diploma so that is what prompted me to go to Ashland (college).”
Penczarski graduated with a Masters in Instructional Administration from Ashland College, the place she additionally obtained the required credit for a Principal’s License.
“My husband took a job in Columbus, so we moved to Columbus,” she mentioned. “I had the selection between discovering one other musical place or turning into a director, and I assumed it was an awesome alternative for me to change into a director.
Penczarski was employed as an assistant principal at Tri-Valley Excessive Faculty. She then labored for the native Tri-Valley Colleges in Dresden – about 65 miles east of Columbus – from 2005 to 2010.
“It was a beautiful faculty district,” she mentioned. “I used to be a director at totally different ranges.”
After two years as a highschool deputy principal, Penczarski was principal of Frazeyburg Center Faculty for a 12 months, then principal for 2 years at Tri-Valley Center Faculty.
“Once more, the Tri-Valley superintendent mentioned, ‘You will have robust expertise as an administrator,” she mentioned. “I am nonetheless trying to develop so I made a decision to get my Superintendent’s Certificates.”
Penczarski returned to Ashland College and obtained her license to observe as a superintendent.
“My husband was going to make one other profession change, so I had the chance to search for positions, and I ended up becoming a member of Kenton Metropolis faculties (as a superintendent) 11 years in the past,” she declared. “It was an awesome place.”
Penczarski began incomes a PhD in Instructional Management on the College of Miami in 2017 and graduated final 12 months.
Transition time is “ essential ”
Penczarski mentioned her first purpose – even earlier than she began her official duties at Chagrin Falls faculties on July 1 – is to return to the village to satisfy and discuss with folks and study as a lot as she will.
She mentioned the Chagrin Falls Faculty Board allowed her to work 5 to fifteen days within the district by July 1, so she may spend time with Hunt and “study the techniques and the way issues work.”
“The Board of Schooling was very sensible and considerate in the truth that they wished me to transition (with Hunt), and that is essential,” she mentioned.
“There’s additionally a plan I am engaged on that I name my first 100-day plan. I am very intentional and strategic, even with regards to transitioning, to verify we cowl all of our bases and proceed to maneuver within the path Chagrin Falls wants and to achieve success.
Penczarski mentioned she and Michael wish to discover a dwelling within the Chagrin Falls neighborhood if doable.
“Housing is at present troublesome, so I do not understand how shortly this can occur,” she mentioned. “However our hope is to get to Chagrin Falls as quickly as doable and get established.
“I feel that was certainly one of my strengths right here in Kenton, that we lived within the neighborhood. It makes all of the distinction, since you do not simply do faculty occasions; you arrange neighborhood occasions, and it actually exhibits that you’re invested.
“We really feel like we’re a part of this neighborhood and we wish to be a part of the neighborhood of Chagrin Falls. It is very important us. “