When the Milford school board set out to look for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Robert Farrell when he retires in December, we knew we had a tough job ahead. We needed someone who is an instructional leader with vision to take Milford to the next level … someone who believes in transparency, fiscal conservancy, and supporting our entire community … some who will continue the strong relations developed over the past 9 years with staff, parents, community members, the business community, and the county in general.
We had an internal candidate, but the board believes very strongly in taking every step possible to ensure we have the best person possible for the district. I personally made a commitment years ago that, when it was time for Dr. Farrell to retire, I would push for a full search. The other four board members were of this same mind, and we hired Mr. Steve Horton from the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) to lead the process for us.
Mr. Horton led four focus groups for us to gather input prior to interviewing any candidates. We heard from administration; other staff; community members; and business leaders. Each group provided their perspective on what qualities Milford needs in our next superintendent.
We had 16 candidates apply, from a wide variety of backgrounds and locations. Of these, we identified five we believed could be a good fit. After first interviews, we felt only two had the possibility of being appropriate for Milford: Mrs. Nancy House, currently Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at Milford, and Mrs. Jennifer Penczarski, currently superintendent of Kenton City Schools. These two candidates took a comprehensive “aptitude test” through OSBA, which provided us perspective on their capabilities and areas of opportunity.
We brought both candidates for an intensive second interview, plus we held a community meet and greet where people could come talk with the candidates and provide the board with their perspective.
Every board member also received input from their own community contacts.
All this information came together to show that Mrs. House was clearly the right choice for Milford. Not only were Mrs. House’s interviews superior, but we have seen her in action and know without a doubt that she will deliver. She has worked in this district for 23 years, in a variety of positions, and has proven herself in every job she has taken on. She is an instructional leader with so many great ideas for how to take Milford to the next level. She is systems-focused and will ensure we are on the right track in every operational area. All aspects of the community were overwhelmingly in support of her.
Congratulations, Mrs. House! I look forward to working with you and seeing what you bring to Milford in your next role, as Superintendent (and the first female superintendent as well!).