The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 20, 2014

Conneaut Area City Schools superintendent is resigning

Kent Houston will retire at the end of 2014

CONNEAUT — Kent Houston, Conneaut Area City Schools superintendent, will resign his position due to retirement at the end of 2014, he announced at Wednesday night's Board of Education meeting.

Reading from a statement at the end of the meeting, Houston said "there is no perfect time to leave," but acted now to give the board plenty of "time to find the next leader of the (school district)."

“It has been an honor to serve the families and students of Conneaut,” he said.

After the meeting, board president Cris Newcomb said the board will meet with John Rubesich, Ashtabula County Educational Service Center superintendent, to map out a plan to find Houston's successor. Rubesich has plenty of helpful experience in that area and "lots of knowledge about candidates," Newcomb said.

Houston was hired as superintendent in July 2008, succeeding Mary Zappitelli, who holds an identical position with the Geneva school district. He served as principal at Conneaut High School for two years before leaving to work as Geneva High School principal during the 2007-2008 year.

When the time came on the meeting agenda to accept the resignation due to retirement, members passed the recommendation without comment. At the end of the meeting, however, members thanked him for his service.

"I grew up with you," Newcomb said. "There were ups and downs, but your heart has always been in the best interest of the school district."

"I truly appreciate the dedication you showed this district," said member Suzanne Bernardini.

Houston also thanked his team of administrators. "I'm comfortable leaving this place with the administrative team that's in place," he said.

Newcomb said the board's challenge will be to find a "motivated" candidate, as well as one willing to take over the ambitious chore of building the sports complex taking shape via donations near the football stadium.

Members knew a few months ago that Houston was mulling retirement, Newcomb said. Documents just firmed up allowed Houston to make his announcement, he said.

The goal is to find a new superintendent who can work alongside Houston before his departure, Newcomb said. Houston has accrued time that could allow him to step down before his Dec. 31 departure date.

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