By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer
UNION TOWNSHIP - The West Clermont Local School District has hired a lifelong Clermont County resident and former district principal as its new superintendent.
Gary Brooks, currently superintendent of the Batavia Local School District, starts work Aug. 1. He replaces Superintendent Michael Ward, who is retiring.
Board members Monday voted unanimously to hire Brooks, who was chosen from a field of 19 applicants.
"One of the things that struck me during the interview is, he is very child-focused," said Board President Jeff Burgess. " He kept bringing up things in the context of the kids - how it would affect the kids. He seemed like a real child advocate."
The board gave Brooks a three-year contract with an annual salary of $118,000. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Brooks was named superintendent last summer at Batavia, a small Clermont County district adjacent to West Clermont. Before taking the Batavia job, Brooks was principal of Deer Park Junior/Senior High School. He also spent six years as principal at Withamsville-Tobasco Elementary in West Clermont.
As West Clermont superintendent, Brooks will be in charge of a 9,000-student district, one of the largest in the state - a big leap from Batavia's 1,900 students.
His knowledge of the district and a strong West Clermont support staff will take the edge off of his serving just one year as a superintendent in a smaller district, Burgess said.
"One of the things that struck us is his knowledge of the issues facing the district, the people in the district and his knowledge of the community," Burgess said.
Like Ward, Brooks is also very approachable - an attribute that the public requested in its next superintendent, Burgess said.
Brooks, a graduate of Amelia High School, received his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, where he also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, a Master of Arts in Art Education and a Master of Arts in Education Administration.
His wife, Margaret, is a fourth-grade teacher at Brantner Elementary in the West Clermont district. The couple has two children.
The school board will host a public welcome reception for Brooks from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday at the Glen Este High School cafeteria, 4342 Glen Este-Withamsville Road.
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