MOUNT GILEAD — Mount Gilead Board of Education members and school administrators are enthusiastic and optimistic as they look forward to opening in the fall.

Director of Special Education and Special Projects Molly Clapper said she is very grateful for the leadership of Interim Superintendent Larry Zimmerman who will continue with the district through the next school year.

“I’m very optimistic with our administration,” said Clapper, adding that both the Treasurer and Superintendent are very accessible.

Zimmerman said they have had several months of conversation on how to finish and restart school this year. They have done research on other schools and surveyed parents in the district.

“We are planning on coming back this fall,” said Zimmerman. “But school probably won’t look the same.”

While he praised the teachers for their teaching in virtual classroom situations this spring, he said that administrators and teachers believe that face-to-face learning is best.

Mount Gilead will be using the Pennsylvania plan as school reopens. The three stages are:

• Green opening: Where there will be fewer students on buses, temperatures will be taken and more hand washing will take place, along with other health measures.

• Yellow opening: With blended learning and possible rotation with fewer kids and some online learning. The district may be required to go to this stage if more distancing is required.

• Red: Means closing if required due to the COVID-19 situation.

Zimmerman said that each school district and school board in Ohio will be making its own decision on reopening. He is meeting with administrators of all the Morrow County school districts. They are working together on details as they re-start school this fall.

Clapper said there are several committees meeting and working on plans to reopen. One group includes parents and another group is a Wellness Task force.

Zimmerman reassured the board that much if not all the cost associated with the COVID-19 requirements can come from the CARES and Wellness grants. They total between $340,000 and $350,000. The grant money will be used first and expenses kept to a minimum.

In other business:

• The board approved an agreement with Wellington School Board in Lorain County to jointly employ the Treasurer Tina Gabler. She started as Treasurer June 1 following the resignation of Tonya Boyd.

Board President Jeff Sayers noted that Gabler lives in Morrow County and the two districts are cooperating very well.

“She is the right person in the right place to fit the job,” Sayers added.

Zimmerman said it is difficult to find someone to share two school districts. He said that he has worked with Gabler and knew that she is experienced.

The arrangement with Wellington School District will mean a cost saving for both districts. Details of the agreement can be found on the Mount Gilead school board meeting documents of May 26 and June 23, 2020.

Others approved by the board for employment in the 2020-2021 school year are:

• Rob Collier – Middle School career tech teacher

• Rachael Freeman – speech therapist

• Jake Hayes – High School science teacher

• Larry Zimmerman – Interim Superintendent

• A supplemental contract was approved for 2020-2021 for B.J. Trainer as interim high school head football coach.

• Part-time custodians and groundskeepers for summer June 8 – Aug. 28 were approved.

Retirements were approved at the May 26 meeting for:

• Betsy Anderson – Elementary secretary effective 8/31/20

• Sue Stevens – High School science teacher effective June 9, 2020

Retirements and resignations approved at the June 23 meeting include:

• Elizabeth Luane Campbell – Elementary music teacher retirement effective June 30, 2020

• Trent Kincade – Head golf coach effective June 2, 2020.

• Kim Porter – Third grade teacher retirement effective August 1, 2020.

• Phil Mauro – High School Health/Physical Education Teacher effective at the end of the 2019-2020 school year

• Jeremy Shipman, volunteer assistant girls basketball coach effective June 2, 2020

• Kara Strine – Park Avenue Guidance Counselor effective at the end of the 2019 – 2020 school year.

Zimmerman reviewed the NWOCA Services Agreement with the board. Parts of the agreement were approved for another year. However the Preschool Director position and Healthcare Consultant (Nurse) position were moved to “in house” employment. This will bring savings to the district of about $100,000.

Zimmerman and other administrators will also look at other required services that are presently contracted outside the district that can be hired locally for additional cost savings.

Zimmerman recommended that the board hold off on some supplemental contracts for coaches. He is waiting to see what activities will be possible in the fall. He said there is a lot of interest in coaching positions. However, he is holding off with contracts so that the district isn’t committed in contracts if COVID-19 restrictions would not allow activities.

The next school board meeting will be July 28 at 7 p.m. It is possible that it will be held in the Community Room at the High School. The location will be announced later.


By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel