By MARY ANN GREIER
SALEM - John Lundin, the newly-named principal at Buckeye Elementary School effective Aug. 1, said he's heard nothing but great things about the Salem city school district.
The school board approved his hiring Monday night to replace longtime Buckeye Principal Dennis Niederhiser, who's retiring at the end of the school year after 36 years with the district.
"I'm really grateful and honored for the opportunity. I've got some big shoes to fill," Lundin told board members.
The 44-year-old from Canton currently serves as the principal at Sandy Valley Elementary in the Sandy Valley school district, a position he's held since 1999. Over his 21 years in education, he's racked up 15 years of administrative experience.
"You bring a lot to the table," Superintendent Tom Bratten said.
Lundin was one of 30 applicants for the position. Bratten said the list was narrowed to six who were interviewed and then down to two. Niederhiser and the other principals and administrators were involved in the process.
"It wasn't going to be good enough for us without his blessing," Bratten said of Niederhiser, who has already spent some time talking with Lundin and will be meeting with him again.
The board approved a three-year contract with a base salary of $81,000. Board President Brad Myers welcomed him and said "we appreciate your willingness to serve here."
Lundin attended the meeting with his wife Cindy and their children, Taylor, 15, and Tom, 13.
"I am honored and privileged to serve the Salem community and Buckeye," he said.
According to a press release issued by Bratten, Lundin graduated from Glen Oak High School in Canton and received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Kent State University in 1990 and received his graduate degree and principal's certification from Ashland University. He taught first grade and fifth grade at Plain Local school district in Stark County and became an administrator as assistant principal at Stanton Middle School for the Alliance City Schools. He also served as principal at Rockhill Elementary and Parkway Elementary schools in the Alliance City Schools.
In the press release, Bratten described Lundin's "exceptional experience and knowledge of curriculum as two of his strongest assets. It is great to have someone with John's experience and curricular knowledge join our team, especially during a time when so many standards and teaching approaches will be changing for our staff and students."
Lundin said he was looking forward to getting started.
In other business, the board approved continuing contracts for Michael Kopachy and Lisa Miller and limited contracts for 33 teachers, hired Lois Wagner as a 2.5-hour cafeteria worker, Kristina While as a 12-month audio/visual duty aide and Jennifer Flannery as a classified substitute for cafeteria, custodial or aid.
The board non-renewed three teachers and five substitute teachers effective at the end of the school year, but Bratten said they end up doing that every year for federally-funded positions, but they'll most likely be rehired. They also approved a reduction in staff of one kindergarten teacher for next school year until they see how many kindergarten students they're going to have for the fall.
The board approved Mills Insurance Agency to offer student accident coverage for the next school year.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org