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CCS Superintendent Angela Chapman outlines priorities in new, but familiar role

 Columbus City School Superintendent Angela Chapman speaks to news media at a press conference Tuesday, May, 23, 2023.
George Shillcock
Columbus City School Superintendent Angela Chapman speaks to news media at a press conference Tuesday, May, 23, 2023.

Newly-minted Columbus City Schools' Superintendent and CEO Angela Chapman wants to lead by example, following an eventful school year that started with a teachers' strike and ended with her appointment as superintendent.

Chapman is one week into the job and held her first press conference Tuesday at the Columbus Education Center.

She outlined how the district is preparing for the end of the school year next week, and preparing for summer programming and beyond into the next school year.

Chapman said she wants safety, literacy and improving communication and relationships to be her top priorities. She was interim superintendent for CCS since January and was one of three finalists considered for the role.

The district started the 2022-23 school year with a teachers' strike. Now less than one week before classes end, Chapman says she needs to lead by example to make teachers feel more appreciated.

"We intentionally want to shift the tone in our district. We want all of our staff members, no matter what role they play in the district, to feel welcomed and have a sense of belonging," Chapman said.

Chapman, whose children are in the district, said safety is a top priority for the district, and recently talked with Columbus Education Association President John Coneglio about making it a priority throughout the district. She said she wants to work with the local community and CPD to address any safety concerns.

"There isn't a day where I don't think about safety. And certainly now as our students are transitioning to summer, I think about, you know, the 45,000 students who are typically under our care each day during the school year," Chapman said.

Chapman also addressed attendance in the district, and noted there has been a decrease in chronic absenteeism. The district will be providing statistics on how it's been improving attendance at its next Board of Education meeting.

"We have invested a lot of resources into the awareness about why attendance matters, as well as strategies to proactively address attendance before those patterns are established," she said.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.