LOUDONVILLE — Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village Schools has a new superintendent this year, and with that comes new goals for the district.
Jennifer Allerding stepped into the superintendent role on Aug. 1. She came to the district from Galion, where she served as superintendent for three years.
With her, she brought new ideas and goals for Loudonville-Perrysville. Families will see some of those goals roll out over the next few months as students return to the classroom.
“I’m really a relational person, so I like to meet people and talk with people and get to know them, so I’m excited about having the opportunity to immerse myself in the school community and school culture,” Allerding told Ashland Source.
“I always like to be around a team that’s very innovative and likes to do things differently, so I’m excited about, ‘What are some other opportunities that maybe we haven’t had that we can provide to our students?’”
Allerding’s main goal coming into the district is to build relationships in Loudonville. She believes that’s the foundation “of everything.”
“That’s the most important thing to me right now,” Allerding said.
She met with all the seventh grade students and all the new teachers in the district, too. Allerding said she shared her beliefs about education with them on Aug. 16.
“People remember the way that you treat them,” Allerding said. “We talked a lot about that, and how we’re going to respond to families and children and community members.”
She also hopes to increase safety in the school district.
“We can do all of these great things for kids,” Allerding said. “We can provide all these wonderful opportunities and if, at the end of the day, these kids are not coming home to their parents, nobody cares about anything else.”
She said security projects have already been underway in the district.
The board approved a new alert system for the district, called Centegix, in May, according to previous reporting from Ashland Source. That system cost the district $138,210, with $20,000 covered by a state grant. It got installed last week.
Allerding noted she’s working with the Ohio School Safety Center to complete an additional threat assessment for the district, too.
In addition, Allerding helped hire a principal for the elementary school, a curriculum director for the district and a pupil services director as she stepped into the job. All those folks begin their new positions this fall.
New sheriff at McMullen
Zach Brumfield has taken over as principal at McMullen Elementary School. Brumfield went through Mansfield City Schools for his own education.
Before coming to Loudonville, he taught in Mansfield City Schools, too. He taught second and third grade, moved up to fourth grade math and science and then stepped into administration at the middle and high school level.
“I realized during that time that my passion for education was at the early childhood level, so then I was looking for a job opportunity that would allow me to continue my administrative work in an elementary setting,” Brumfield said.
Like Allerding, Brumfield’s main goal for the year is building relationships and getting to know the families, students and staff.
He said since his entire teaching career has been in Mansfield City Schools, it will be a challenge getting to know a new school system. But Brumfield said it’s one he’s excited to embrace.
He added that growing up in the area, he’s always been impressed by Loudonville-Perrysville Schools. Brumfield said the district has a tradition of academic excellence, and he’s found plenty of support as he’s entered his new role.
“I’ve just been blown away by the community support in Loudonville-Perrysville,” Brumfield said. “The amount of people that are invested in this school system — obviously, families and parents and guardians of students — but even beyond that, community organizations and alumni that have come through; that outpouring of support … and being able to be a part of that is just something that is very exciting.”
Communicating about curriculum
Allerding also helped hire Matthew Henderson, who came on this year as Loudonville’s new curriculum director. He started at the beginning of August.
Henderson has been in the area working in education since 1998. He spent the past four years as the superintendent of Crestline, and resigned to take his new position as curriculum director in Loudonville.
“As a superintendent, it’s an extremely time-consuming job,” Henderson said. “I found myself missing things my kids were involved in, and I just couldn’t reconcile that.”
He’d worked in curriculum before and liked the job. He added that his district neighbored Galion, where Allerding used to be the superintendent. Henderson got to know her, and said he looked forward to working with her in Loudonville-Perrysville.
Similarly to Brumfield and Allerding, Henderson said his main goal during his first year in the district is getting to know the position and district.
He wants to see what tools teachers are using in their classrooms and support what’s working well. Henderson added it’s important that students are successful in their transitions from one grade level to the next.
In terms of curriculum, he said the most major change parents and students can expect is more communication. He’ll focus most on kindergarten through sixth graders and literacy.
“We’ll be communicating more frequently about challenges students are facing as readers and how we’re working on that,” Henderson said.
He said along with that, screenings for dyslexia and interventions for students struggling with reading might change.
“We want to reduce the identification of students with disabilities later on by intervening in literacy as soon as possible,” Henderson said.
Henderson said as he learns the position, his door is open. He said he’s happy to meet with parents and community members.
Loudonville also has a new director of pupil services in Kristy Grimwood. She brings a background working with students with disabilities.
Before coming to Loudonville, Grimwood worked for three years as an elementary school principal and special ed director at Crestline.
“With student services, that’s all the people who help support students in educational settings but also as the whole child,” Grimwood said. “So, the nurse, the counselors, the school liaisons — I provide support and guidance to them.”
She also ensures the district’s compliance with rules for taking care of students with disabilities. That means she attends individualized education program meetings and annual performance report meetings. All of it goes toward making sure each student can be successful at school.
Grimwood’s biggest goal in her new position is building upon co-teaching, a practice used for teaching students with disabilities. That practice typically combines a general education teacher and special education teacher working in tandem to include students with disabilities in the classroom.
“One of my other big things is changing that mindset of accelerating students with IEPs,” Grimwood said. “And, so, are we writing goals that push their learning along with their peers?”
She said everything’s been going well with the new job so far. Teachers, staff and the community have welcomed her, and getting questions answered has been easy, Grimwood said.
Along with all the other new leaders, she’s looking forward to her new role and working at Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village Schools this year.
“It’s important to remember that Loudonville has such a bright future,” Grimwood said. “There is so much great going on here, and I’m excited to be a part of that and to be able to help continue that momentum forward.
“We’ve got a lot of awesome things happening here. We’ve got a lot of great leadership all the way down from central office staff, to building administrators, to teacher leaders, to custodians and janitors and secretaries all helping out to make sure everything is going smooth. And everyone is in it for the right reasons here.”
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