Community votes on CEO qualities for Youngstown Schools

Those who attended the Academic Distress Commission's forum answered questions about the characteristics they would like to see in the school system's CEO

The Youngstown Academic Distress Commission held a public forum before selecting a CEO for the schools.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Academic Distress Commission held a public forum Wednesday night, giving the 125 attendees a chance to voice their opinions on the selection of a Chief Executive Officer for the Youngstown City School District.

The CEO position was created as part of the plan to improve Youngstown schools.

The commission voted to extended the deadline for applicants interested in the position to next Tuesday, May 17 so they could hear from the public.

Those who attended the meeting participated with Turning Technologies response cards. They answered questions about the characteristics they would like to see in the school system’s CEO.

Among the responses, 57 percent said they were employees of the Youngstown School System.

Sixty-nine percent said they did not understand the role of the CEO, 57 percent thought the CEO should come from a Mahoning Valley community and 72 percent thought the CEO should have lived in or come from an urban community.

One person asked why there wasn’t a “no CEO” button, a theme that continued into the public comments.

“The Academic Distress Commission and the CEO process constitutes an unscrupulous and illegal takeover of the Youngstown City Schools,” said Reverend Ken Simon from the Community Leadership Coalition on Education.

Peggy Palma, of Youngstown, asked that the new CEO not come from a charter or private school.

“My assumption would then be that his job is to hand over the buildings and the materials that we paid for to a private for-profit organization,” she said.

Joseph Napier Sr., also of Youngstown, was happy with what he heard so far.

“Change is good. Change has finally come to the Youngstown City School District and I applaud the process.”

School Board President Brenda Kimble listened in the front row. She said she liked asking for public input, but really wants to know the person who will be picked.

“Many times we go through processes like this and then we’re very disappointed. This is about our students, and we have to have somebody in here who’s really dedicated to saving our students and public education.”

If you were not able to attend Wednesday night’s forum, you can still give your input by taking the community engagement survey on Youngstown City Schools’ website.

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