By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — The Fairborn City School District Board of Education hired Mark North as the district’s new superintendent, effective Aug. 1.
North said he is feeling blessed to have the opportunity.
“I really believe Fairborn is a great fit for my family and me,” North said. “I’m excited to get up there and start working with people to contribute and make a positive difference.”
North, who was awarded a four-year contract during a special meeting Thursday, is currently superintendent of the Lebanon City School District in Warren County. Former FCS Superintendent Dave Scarberry left the position after 13 years of service to the district at the end of August last year following health concerns. His contract was set to expire in July 2016.
Interim Superintendent Terry Riley, who worked as the associate superintendent of Centerville City Schools until retiring a year ago, has served the school district since September 2015. He said in a previous interview that at the time he was hired at FCS, he was looking for a part-time or short-term position.
The Board of Education began a superintendent search in October 2015 with guidance from K-12 Business Consulting. The company distributed surveys during the fall months to develop a superintendent profile, which would reflect what the community desired to see in the next superintendent. FCS received applications from 25 individuals, which the board narrowed down to nine semi-finalists, who underwent interviews Feb. 17 and Feb. 18. The search was then narrowed down to three candidates, in which two of them returned for final interviews Feb. 29 and March 2.
“In the first interview, everyone was so open and honest about things they were proud of and things they struggled with,” North said. “I appreciate and respect [their honesty]. When it came to the board, I instantly felt that they were a group of people there with good intentions. The board of education is serious about working together on one goal and that is making Fairborn City Schools a better place.”
North has served as superintendent at Lebanon for the past 10 years. Between 2002 and 2006, he was the assistant superintendent of the Groveport Local School District. He served as superintendent of the Southwest Licking School District (Licking County) from 1998 to 2002, as superintendent of the Frontier Local School District (Washington County) between 1996 and 1998 and as superintendent of the Southern Local District (Perry County) from 1995 to 1996.
He has been involved in school construction projects of various sizes for the last 20 years and has achievements related to levies.
“Mr. North’s track record in supporting high student achievement, his success with bond issues, and his overall experience as a teacher and administrator, made him a strong candidate from the beginning,” said Board President Andy Wilson. “We believe he has the expertise to work collaboratively with the board, the staff and community to establish an exemplary vision and direction for the future.”
Before becoming a superintendent, North was employed as principal of Gorham-Fayette Junior/Senior High School (Fulton County) from 1992 and 1995, and as the assistant principal of Madison High School (Lake County) between 1990 and 1992. He served as a special education teacher and basketball coach for Licking Heights High School (Licking County) between 1988 and 1990. He began his educational career as a special education teacher, football coach and softball coach at Morgan High School (Morgan County) during the 1987-1988 school year.
North received his bachelor’s degree in special education and health education from the University of Akron in 1987 and his master’s degree in educational administration from Ashland University in 1990. He has served as a member of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) for 21 years. He also has given frequent presentations at conferences and workshops sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA).
North and his wife, Kate, will be moving to Fairborn this summer. The Norths have two children – Elena, 14, who will be enrolling in Fairborn High School and Lexi, 11, who will be attending Fairborn’s Baker Middle School. He said his family has been supportive of this endeavor since the start.
“What I’m most excited about is getting to know the board, staff and community and for us to work together to … keep striving to make FCS better for [all],” North said. “I’m really looking forward to being a part of the team.”