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Lakota School Board announces the 4 finalists for its next superintendent

Entrance to Lakota East Freshman Campus
Zack Carreon
Entrance to Lakota East Freshman Campus

After a special meeting held on Wednesday night, theLakota Local Schools Board of Education announced the finalists for the district's next superintendent.

The four finalists include:

  • Michael Acomb, chief operating officer from Solon City Schools near Cleveland
  • Todd Petrey, chief operations officer at Mason City Schools
  • Jason Spencer, director of school leadership at Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Wyoming City Schools Assistant Superintendent Ashley Whitely

The board has been searching for a new leader since January when former Superintendent Matt Miller resigned from the position.

Following his resignation, Miller sent a letter to the board citing a hostile work environment created by board member Darbi Boddy as his reason for leaving. He claims Boddy harassed him and tried to ruin his career. Miller now works at the Butler County Educational Service Center as coordinator of innovative education.

RELATED: Lakota parents ask board to prioritize inclusion after superintendent's resignation

One of these four candidates will take over a district that's made headlines in recent years over battles surrounding discussions aboutrace and diversity in its schools, and transgender issues.

Board Member Boddy has been at the center of many of these conflicts. During his final days in the district before becoming superintendent at Princeton City Schools, former Lakota West High School Principal Elgin Card said these internal battles have turned Lakota Schools from a district many in the community were proud of into one that people in the region laugh at and don't want to be a part of. At Lakota's last diversity committee meeting in May, Card said all the controversy had made hiring quality educators in the district difficult over the past few years.

A few months ago, Interim Superintendent Robb Vogelmann informed the board that he did not want to pursue the top job at Lakota and would return to his position as assistant superintendent when a new leader is chosen.

RELATED: Lakota school board member wants to ban trans girls from athletics and the girl's bathroom

All four superintendent finalists have close to two decades or more of experience in education. The candidates will now go through a final round of interviews with the board and will be given an opportunity to meet and talk with people in the school community before a final decision is made.

The Lakota School Board says it intends to appoint a new superintendent by the end of June.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.