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School Board Announces Four Superintendent Finalists

School Board Announces Four Superintendent Finalists

June 19, 2023 Update: Mr. Petrey has informed the Board that he has removed himself from the search process. The Board appreciates his interest in the position and wishes him the best.

The Lakota Local Schools Board of Education took another important step in its search for a new superintendent, announcing four finalists to continue on in the interview process. The vote to approve the motion took place at the conclusion of the Board’s June 14 special meeting, which also marked the end of the first round of interviews. The finalists include:

  • Michael Acomb - Director of Business & Personnel / Chief Operating Officer, Solon City Schools
  • Todd Petrey - Chief Operations Officer, Mason City Schools
  • Jason Spencer - Director of School Leadership, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Ashley Whitely - Assistant Superintendent, Wyoming City Schools

“It was a pleasure to meet with the candidates who most closely aligned with our district’s current needs and future aspirations,” said Board President Lynda O’Connor. “The candidates offered a range of experiences and strengths, but this group of finalists truly represent the qualities our staff, families and residents say they value the most in Lakota’s next leader.” 

The search process kicked off in May with a community survey and the Board’s selection of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) as its partner search firm. A three-week recruitment period also included five separate focus groups held on May 17 and 31 to gather feedback from staff, families and community members. Prior to that, the results of the community-wide survey, completed by more than 2,000 individuals, also helped the Board prioritize the most important leadership qualities. 

The focus group summary provided by OSBA’s facilitator was a compilation of all participants’ individual comments. Key themes or points of emphasis included high visibility and presence in the schools and the larger community; a focus on visioning and innovation; a deep passion for students and staff through consistent, transparent and accountable communication; and proven success in managing a district that is growing in numbers and diversity. 

Finalist Overviews

Michael Acomb has served in his current role as the chief operating officer of Solon City Schools since 2020, recently co-leading a community-centric process to update the District’s strategic plan. He has spent his entire 26-year career at Solon City Schools - a district of nearly 4,500 students - serving as a principal, assistant principal, curriculum technology resource teacher and elementary teacher. View Michael Acomb’s cover letter and resume. 

Todd Petrey has spent his 27-year career at five different Ohio school districts, including three years as principal at Lakota’s Creekside Early Childhood School, superintendent at Springboro Community City School District and most recently, Chief Operations Officer for Mason City Schools, a district of 10,600 students. He categorizes his most recent leadership experience and achievements into the areas of fiscal responsibility, collaboration and strategic planning. View Todd Petrey’s cover letter and resume. 

Jason Spencer offers 24 years of experience in K-12 education as a former teacher, assistant principal and principal. In his most recent role as director of school leadership for Cincinnati Public Schools, which serves 35,000 students, he has supervised and served as an instructional coach to school principals and led the District’s safety services. View Jason Spencer’s cover letter and resume. 

Ashley Whitely has spent the past 12 years of her 19-year career serving the students of Wyoming City Schools as assistant principal, principal and most recently, the District’s assistant superintendent. In her current role, her experience in the 2,000-student district has involved district visioning, staff professional development, culture and climate building and instructional improvement. Early in her career, she was a teacher at Lakota East High School. View Ashley Whitely’s cover letter and resume. 

Next Steps

“We are especially pleased to be on track in our goal to hire and transition our new superintendent into Lakota before the start of the new school year,” O’Connor emphasized. “We are eager to move through the final stages of this process, including an upcoming opportunity for our community to meet the finalists.” 

Plans are being finalized for the Board’s second round of interviews the week of June 26, which will also include an opportunity for a community meet-and-greet. The Board’s goal is to make a final decision and appoint a new leader before the end of June. Additional details will be posted to Lakota’s website as soon as they are available. 

  • school board
  • superintendent