July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Knight staying on as Medina Schools superintendent

MEDINA — The Medina school board Monday voted unanimously to make Dave Knight the district’s superintendent.

The 15-month contract runs May 1 through July 21, 2015, and provides an annual salary of $102,500.

The board and Knight could continue the contract for an additional two years if both parties agree.

Interim Superintendent Dave Knight has taken the position fully after Monday's meeting of the Medina School Board. (NANCY JOHNSON / GAZETTE)

Interim Superintendent Dave Knight has taken the position fully after Monday’s meeting of the Medina School Board. (NANCY JOHNSON / GAZETTE)

Both parties would be required to inform the other by January if they planned to terminate the contract in July.

“The contract gives us a lot of flexibility,” board President Tom Cahalan said. “During January 2015, we will discuss the option to extend Dave’s contract for another year. The difference between this contract and other ones is that if Mr. Knight chooses to leave before his contract ends, we’re under no financial obligation.”

Knight assured the board he was committed to staying at Medina Schools “as long as this board feels they need me.”

“Since I’ve started in April of last year, the board has been in a constant reactionary mode,” he said. “I’m hoping we can now move forward to a proactive mode.”

Knight, a retired Sidney Fenn Elementary School principal, was hired as interim superintendent after Superintendent Randy Stepp was placed on administrative leave April 8, 2013, pending completion of a special state audit into his spending of district funds from a “carryover” fund held at the Medina City Schools’ Educational Service Center.

In October, the board voted to fire Stepp after a special state audit reported $4,121 in illegal spending by Stepp and $1.5 million that was either not properly documented or had an unclear purpose.

Knight’s job was expected to be temporary. But last month, Cahalan announced the search for a permanent superintendent was suspended because Knight had earned the right to keep the job.

The new contract, which was reviewed at an April 10 meeting, is just two pages long.

“Not the usual seven or eight pages,” Cahalan said. “We removed ‘interim’ from Dave’s title.

“What we’re saying is we want Dave to stay. We like what he’s doing. We want Dave in the driver’s seat as superintendent.”

Knight is scheduled to present his plans for the district’s future “possibly at the June board meeting,” Cahalan said.

“I’m hoping I can prove my worth each and every day,” Knight said, “But don’t operate out of faith; I like when people ask questions. Keep asking questions.”

In other action Monday, the board accepted the resignation of Jeanne Hurt, the district’s director of public relations, effective April 25.

Hurt has worked in the Medina school system for 24 years and is moving on to a position at United Way of Medina.

Contact reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.