3 hope to be Perryville superintendent

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another step was taken Tuesday by the Perry County School Board in its search to replace retiring superintendent Kevin Dunn.

After narrowing down a list of 15 candidates, three finalists vying for the position appeared separately before a gathering of the school board and district staff members to introduce themselves and make the case for their hiring.

The finalists for the position are as follows:

* Dr. Aaron Cornman, superintendent at Pierce City Public Schools in Pierce City, Mo.

* Scott Ireland, superintendent of the Pleasant Hope School District in Pleasant Hope, Mo.

* Dr. Jonathan Oetinger, assistant superintendent for business and operations of the Waynesville School District in Waynesville, Mo.

Cornman said he was impressed with the Perry County School District.

"There is a great school district in place," he said. "But I see areas of improvement. We can improve in areas such as attendance and the dropout rate, but I know my morals and ethics can flourish here. I have the skills to continue the great work already happening here."

Cornman said his job would be to give teachers the resources they need to educate students and, to create a community of excellence, he would demand excellence from teachers.

"I won't stop at the minimum goals for this school district," he added. "I'll work with teachers so that together we can reach major goals."

Ireland, who is pursuing his doctoral studies, said he would not be a micromanager.

"It's the principal's job to run their building," he said, "but I'm quite capable of saying, 'This is what needs to be done."

Ireland, when asked how he would pursue resources from Missouri politicians who provide funding for the district, said he gained experience in that area in his current position.

"I've found the most political job you can have is the superintendent's job," he said. "I'll do everything I can do to keep funding levels from declining.

Ireland said he wants schools in Perryville to be the envy of all the schools in Missouri.

"I want us to be the district the other school districts turn to for problem-solving advice," he said.

Oetinger told the gathering he was drawn to the Perryville School District because of the interaction between the district and the community.

"I'm looking for a stable district to enroll my children in," he said. "It's not too large of a community, and from what I've found it is constantly aligned with the school district and its programs. That's the kind of district I'd like to run."

Oetinger said there is no difference between a superintendent and a teacher.

"We're both educators," he said. "My role would be to assist teachers in educating the students of this district."

Oetinger added that a school district should be 100 percent student-centered and that he would oversee instructional practices they will need when they leave here.

The question of student discipline was posed to the candidates. Each told how they would have disruptive students removed from classrooms.

School board President Tina Littge said she was pleased with the finalists.

"I feel like we have some good ones," she said. "I've heard positive feedback on all three of them. I don't think we would be making a mistake hiring any of them."

The position is expected to be filled by mid-December.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address: 326 College St., Perryville, Mo.

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