Monday, September 22, 2003

Sycamore district nurses fledgling superintendents



By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BLUE ASH - To most it's known as the Sycamore School District, but to an increasing number of northern Greater Cincinnati school systems, it's gaining a reputation as the "cradle of superintendents."

In recent years, three school districts - Lebanon, Kings and Loveland - have hired superintendents from Sycamore schools, a trend education experts say is unusual.

"It's a rarity that in such a short period of time that three people come out of one district," said Roger Effron, president of Cincinnati-based Effron & Associates, which specializes in recruiting school administrators.

• In August, Charles Mason was lured from his Sycamore assistant superintendent's job to become Kings school superintendent.

• In 2002, Kevin Boys, also a Sycamore assistant superintendent, was hired to head up Loveland City Schools.

• In 1999, Bill Sears left his second-in-command position with Sycamore to take over the superintendent's job with Lebanon schools.

"It's unusual that one district becomes such a farm system for superintendents," said Effron, who helped recruit Mason and Boys to their respective districts.

All four suburban school districts are consistently among the top Greater Cincinnati academic performers on the Ohio proficiency tests.

As to why so many administrators come from Sycamore, Effron said, "The district provides their administrators with many quality experiences, and ... these are also quality people."

Sycamore Superintendent Karen Mantia, starting her fourth year with the school system, agreed. "We really encourage our administrators to grow as professional educators. It shows that as a school system we try to hire the best."

Sears liked Sycamore enough to spend 29 years there, working his way up from teacher through the administrative ranks and spending his last six years as an assistant superintendent before leaving in 1999 to lead Lebanon schools.

"What makes Sycamore special is the commitment and support from the community to provide a high quality of education," he said. "It was such a great place for me that I moved my family there and all three of my children are Sycamore graduates."

---

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com




SPECIAL REPORT
Special bridge section
Do you drive on the bridge? Rate the 'Fear Factor'
Accident stats show big rigs get bad rap

LOCAL HEADLINES
Amos: Drive-thru justice
City hires outsource expert from P&G
As students read brochures, parents bemoan college costs
Rainy weather restrains West Nile
Butler County grandmother touches lives big and small
Miami strike deadline nears
Sycamore district nurses fledgling superintendents
Forest Hills has College Night
Grads buy Stewart school for $1.6M
Attendance a record for Chamber's Butler Expo
Couple found dead in shooting
Priest's 75th brings surprise
Door-to-door permits studied
Regional Report
Sunday's local news section

KENTUCKY/INDIANA
Teen hit in chest by ball dies at hospital
17 million Americans receiving treatments
Bush to help Fletcher
Police investigating death of 7-month-old
Lawsuit challenges Legislature
Council tightens rules on endowments
Indiana Gov.'s death raises questions about candidates' health
Teens left notes on arms before deaths

OBITUARIES
Designer Tony LaFata, 89, made clothing for celebrities
William C. Oldfield, 60, practiced law through his battle with cancer