Three familiar faces are taking the helm at area schools this year.
Jude Meyers is serving his first full year as superintendent of Old Fort Local School District and also is the elementary principal. Brian Shaver is the director of parish and school for St. Wendelin Catholic Church. Mike Eaglowski returns to the area as superintendent of Upper Sandusky Exempted Village School district after having served at New Riegel Local School District and Lakota Local School District about a decade ago.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Jude Meyers, superintendent and elementary principal for Old Fort Local School District, spends time with students on the playground Thursday morning.
Meyers said he always loved education and recalled wanting to be a social studies teacher and coach.
He spent seven years teaching in Catholic schools in Fremont. He then spent 10 years at Woodmore Local School District, serving as a teacher and head basketball coach, and six years at Genoa Local School District, serving as the assistant principal and athletic director.
Meyers then got an opportunity to work for Fostoria City Schools and said it was a good experience. He served as principal of Fostoria High School.
"The community was supportive," he said.
Meyers had been interviewing for superintendent jobs and said he knew Laura Keller, former superintendent of Old Fort, who talked to him about going to the district.
"Everything just fell into place here at Old Fort," he said.
Meyers served as the K-12 assistant principal and athletic director. He became the interim superintendent in January and continued serving as the athletic director when Keller took a job working with Race to the Top.
He said he told board members that if they liked the things he had done, he would like to stay.
He was named the permanent superintendent in May and completed his term as interim superintendent in July. He also serves as elementary principal.
"I think things are going well. ... You learn something new every day," he said.
Meyers said Old Fort is a great school district. He said he is proud to be there, loves going to work every day and feels at home.
He said the district has good people.
"We're a family," he said.
Meyers said he always tries to make decisions based on what is best for students. The world is changing, he said.
"We need to continue to look at the way kids do things," he said. "Are they prepared when they leave here?"
As director of parish and school for St. Wendelin Catholic Church, Shaver reports to the Rev. Nicholas Weibl.
"It's a brand-new position," he said.
While Weibl continues to serve as the school superintendent, Shaver oversees the budget, daily operations, compliance, human resources, record keeping and administration, which includes Mike Amlin, the new principal.
"(School administrators) don't have to deal with tuition issues," he said.
Shaver said the committee that opted to create his position spent a lot of time and effort to present a quality restructuring model. St. Wendelin is the only church in the diocese using the model the committee created, and officials are hoping it might become a new model for other small, rural and parish-driven schools, he said.
Shaver, a 1995 graduate of Fostoria High School, converted to Catholicism and taught social studies at Calvert High School after graduating from Bluffton University in 1999.
In 2001, he took a Fulbright trip to southern Africa and started teaching social studies at St. Ursula Academy in 2002.
Also while at St. Ursula, he became director of operations, which he said facilitated his ability to be qualified for his new job at St. Wendelin.
He said heard about the position through the diocese and was attracted to it because of the strong sense of community in the parish and school and because it was in his hometown.
About a month after he started in the job, Shaver said everything had been going well, and the parishioners had been welcoming. Shaver, whose goal is to be a good steward of resources, said his job is interesting.
"There's never a dull moment," he said.
Eaglowski is serving his 30th year in education. His 16 years as a superintendent have included working for New Riegel Local School District 1996-98 and Lakota Local School District 2000-03. He most recently spent five years as superintendent at Mad River Local School District near Dayton.
Eaglowski said he was born in Tiffin while his father was an assistant football coach at Heidelberg University.
"I was mainly a basketball coach," he said.
Eaglowski said he saw the Upper Sandusky job listed through Ohio School Boards Association. He said he was familiar with the school district and city and had worked the school's treasurer previously.
"Things worked out," he said.
Eaglowski said he and his wife, Jodi, went from a full house with three children to an empty nest in a matter of 30 days, which is why he thought it was an ideal time to return to the area.
"We always wanted to come back," he said.
Upper Sandusky is a central location for the Eaglowskis to be near their children. He said Mitch is in graduate school at Eastern Michigan University, Murphy is in graduate school at Ohio University and Austine is studying at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Eaglowski's first day with the district was Aug. 1, and he said things had been going well as of a month after he had started. The district has great staff and students and a community that genuinely cares about the district, he said.
The parents and community are supportive of and take great pride in the district, he said.
"We've had a good start of the school year. ... Kids are here to learn," he said.
One of Eaglowski's goals is to continue to meet people.
He said he tries to get to the district's buildings on a daily basis, but it is difficult to meet everyone sometimes. He said his goal is to be highly visible in the district's four buildings.
Eaglowski said he wants to get a district long-range plan implemented.
"That would be an all-encompassing long-range plan. ... They've had some different ideas, but to formally put it into a document, we don't have that," he said.