John Monteleone said he’s looking to establish good rapport as the Oberlin Schools’ new assistant superintendent.
“People are definitely more important than the process,” said Monteleone, principal of Lorain’s Washington Elementary School. “If you build people’s capacity within them, the process takes care of itself. I’m just looking forward to getting to know the community, the district, and learning and listening a lot.”
The hiring of Monteleone, one of five applicants for the job, is expected to be approved by board of education members April 26.
A salary hasn’t been set for Monteleone who earns about $95,000 annually, said district treasurer Angela Dotson.
If approved, Monteleone would begin work Aug. 1. The school district hasn’t had an assistant superintendent since John Schroth was promoted to superintendent in 2011.
Schroth died of cancer in April of last year and superintendent David Hall was hired in July.
Hall said Monteleone’s duties will include overseeing curriculum and federal taxpayer achievement programs for economically disadvantaged students as well as data analysis, grant writing and overseeing after school programs.
The district hasn’t had a full-time curriculum instructor since 2014. Ann Glass is the district’s part-time curriculum instructor.
Hall said Monteleone will bring a strong work ethic and “phenomenal” leadership skills as well as curriculum and grant writing experience to the district.
“We’re fortunate to have him,” Hall said. “I plan to lean on him for a lot of support.”
A lifelong Lorain resident, Monteleone began his educational career in Lorain in 1999 as a fourth grade elementary teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School where he worked with Hall, then a Hawthorne assistant principal. Monteleone, a 39-year-old father of two, said he gets along well with Hall and his long-term goal is becoming a superintendent.
He said he was inspired to apply for the Oberlin position after being impressed with the city and district while attending events at Oberlin College and levy meetings with Hall. Moving from a bigger school system to a smaller one — Lorain has about 6,200 students compared to roughly 1,000 in Oberlin — allows for more personal interaction with staff, students, and parents.
Monteleone was principal at Larkmoor Elementary School for three years before moving to Washington in 2012. A year later, the Lorain Schools were placed in academic takeover by the state after three years of low standardized test scores. The unelected Lorain Academic Distress Commission oversees district academics.
Critics say the takeover disenfranchised voters and reduced local control, but Monteleone said there have been positive aspects. He said additional oversight by the Ohio Department of Education increased academic achievement and improved curriculum.
With about 87 percent of Lorain students living in poverty and some transient, educating students is challenging. In his job application letter, Monteleone said he’s made Washington’s English Language Learning program more inclusive and started a nine-week parental engagement program to help parents become more invested in their children’s education. He said he has strong communication skills and good relationships with business people and individuals in Lorain.
With competition increasing from publicly-funded, privately-run charter schools, Monteleone wrote that public education is at a crossroads.
“For it to survive, it must be looked at and behave differently,” he said. “Our focus needs to be founded in a stable and well- prepared teaching force that continuously participates in purposeful collaboration.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or GoodenowNews on Twitter