Updated Fri, Jun 7, 2013 4:30 pm
Athens City Schools’ new associate superintendent says he’s looking forward to working a little closer to East Elementary, where his daughter has been enrolled for two years.
On Aug. 1, Tom Gibbs, 43, will officially take over for Business Manager David McAllister, who retired after serving 14 years with the district. Until then, Gibbs will be finishing his current contract as superintendent of two school districts in Washington County.
“It’s an excellent fit,” Gibbs said. “I’m excited to have all my focus in one place.”
Although the job titles are different, the duties will remain the same, said Supt. Carl Martin. The change in the name has more to do with retirement systems. In Ohio, a business manager’s retirement is not managed by the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, which is the system Gibbs has been paying into his entire career. Because it was unclear what the new system would have done to the years he’s already served, Gibbs requested the name change.
In his new role as associate superintendent, Gibbs will manage the support functions of running the district — areas like transportation, building and grounds, security and possibly food services. Martin will continue to oversee the academic aspects.
This will be a pleasant change for Gibbs, who has had to do it all for two districts. Gibbs, a former principal at Warren Local Schools in Vincent, took over as the district’s superintendent eight years ago. When Fort Frye Local Schools, located 14 miles north of Vincent, couldn’t find a suitable superintendent in 2012, the district’s board members decided to try sharing both the superintendent and the treasurer.
The job merger created for Gibbs two districts that cover a combined 337 square miles and serves about 3,400 students, and he didn’t have a business manager or associate superintendent to help out. (By comparison, Athens City Schools covers 89 square miles and serves 2,795 students.)
“This is work I’m very familiar with, as I’ve been doing it for years,” Gibbs said. “It will be a much welcome change to be able to focus more directly on those aspects of the business of schooling.”
In his new role, Gibbs said he’ll also be able to refocus his attention on completing his doctorate at Ohio University in education administration. His wife is also pursuing her PhD at OU.
“We’re very happy to have him,” Martin said, adding that — although no promises have been made — he’d be in the running to be his successor.
Warren Board President Sidney Brackenridge said while Gibbs struggled to pass bond issues during his tenure, he saw the district through the No Child Left Behind implementation and through its current “excellent” and “effective” ratings.
“He’s been very good to us,” Brackenridge said. “We’re losing a very good superintendent.”