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ACGC hires longtime teacher Wall as principal, restoring one of administrator positions eliminated during lean budget years

Longtime ACGC teacher Robin Wall has been hired as the district’s 5-8 grade principal. The district will now have two principals in the lower grades, and the superintendent will continue to also serve as high school principal. (Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange)

GROVE CITY — A longtime teacher in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District has been hired as its new 5-8 grade principal.

The board officially hired Robin Wall at its meeting Monday.

This will be the first time since 2009 that ACGC will have two principals and one superintendent on staff for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Five years ago, the district was in statutory operating debt and the school board as a cost-savings measure agreed to cut its administrative team to two people — a K-8 grade principal and the superintendent who doubled as high school principal.

The decision to add another administrator at this time shows how far the district has come financially and educationally.

The district’s budget is healthy, its first- through sixth-grade student scores are excellent and the district has been nominated for the national Blue Ribbon school award from the federal Department of Education. The award recognizes schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made.

Superintendent Sherri Broderius said bringing back another principal will help “build the bridge” between the successes in the 1-6 grades and carry that “high performance” forward in the district.

In an interview, Broderius said the teachers and students “deserve some specific, individual attention” that having another principal will help accomplish, along with continued professional development for teachers and watching student test data.

Wall, who has worked with the district for her entire 17-year career in education, was selected from a field of 27 candidates.

She was a fifth-grade teacher for 15 years and served as the building operations manager at the elementary school for two years, when the school’s test scores went from some of the worst to some of the best in the state.

Wall said she’s excited to work with middle school staff and students.

“It’s important to note that ACGC is doing some really great things,” said Wall. “It’s all about the student achievement. It’s all about the kids.”

Broderius said having another principal will also help ACGC meet new state mandates that require teachers to complete self-assessments and have a professional growth plan.

“That deserves a lot of principal attention,” said Broderius.

New state initiatives that require students to complete college and/or career readiness programs before they graduate will also require additional time.

With the addition of Wall, Broderius will continue her duties as superintendent and 9-12 principal and Elementary Principal Kodi Goracke will have additional duties with an expanded pre-school program.

“This is a good thing for kids,” said Broderius of the administrative changes.

In other action at the meeting Monday:

* Broderius said the district’s application for the national Blue Ribbon award has been submitted and all that remains in the process is final certification by the state Department of Education. She said it’s likely the district will be notified in October whether or not it will receive the recognition. Winners will be honored at a November event in Washington, D.C., she said.

* The board approved the health and safety levy for 2014 expenditures that will be paid in 2015. At $93,500, the expenses are nearly double from last year. Business Manager Dan Tait said the new fire marshal who examined the district’s buildings has found issues that need to be corrected. Any improvements mandated by a fire marshal are automatically qualified to be paid with the health and safety levy, which does not require voter approval.

* The board briefly discussed progress on preparations for a general fund levy question that will be on the ballot in November. Because of legislative changes, the final levy request will be adjusted, but the final figure is not yet known.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750