By MAX FILBY
Edward Kurt will be the next superintendent of Findlay City Schools.
The Findlay school board voted Monday to name Kurt as the district’s next school chief, concluding a search that started in October. Kurt is currently superintendent of Margaretta Local Schools in Castalia.
“I just got the text about the vote 15 minutes ago,” Kurt said when contacted by The Courier on Monday night. “I’m very honored and excited to be the next superintendent there.”
Kurt will officially begin work for Findlay Schools on Aug. 1. He will be leaving a district of about 1,200 students and taking the helm of one with about 5,556, according to Findlay City Schools’ website.
“Findlay City Schools is a great community with some great partnerships with places like the University of Findlay,” Kurt said.
He will receive an annual salary of $138,000, according to his contract. The salary is almost a $20,000 increase from what Kurt is currently making at Margaretta, according to his superintendent application.
Kurt’s new contract assures him a 2 percent raise in 2015 and 2016, meaning his salary will increase to $143,520 during the next two years.
As superintendent, Kurt said he wants to focus on making sure Findlay operates efficiently under the current financial climate while still managing to maximize student learning and achievements.
“You really have to look at school funding to make sure we’re being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” Kurt said.
Although not present at Monday’s school board meeting, Kurt will attend the Feb. 24 board meeting with his family, said Shane Pochard, board president.
Kurt is planning to move to Findlay with his family before he starts in August, and he said they are “really looking forward to it.”
Kurt and his immediate family must establish their primary residence in the Findlay district by August 2015, according to his contract. The district will give Kurt $10,000 to move.
Before he officially starts the job, Kurt will begin transitioning into the position with the help of Dean Wittwer, Findlay’s outgoing superintendent.
“He’ll be good for the district,” Wittwer said. “I’m looking forward to a good and easy transition.”
Wittwer previously worked with his successor on state level committees for education, so the two already know each other a little bit, Kurt said.
Wittwer retired in May, then was rehired by the school board for one year, through July 31. He has been Findlay’s superintendent since 2005. Before coming to Findlay, Wittwer served as superintendent of Wapakoneta Schools for 12 years.
Kurt was one of the original applicants for the job, applying at the end of October.
The school board set a goal of making a decision before winter break in December, but then decided to seek out additional candidates before making a final decision.
“We stalled a couple of times because we wanted to make sure we found the right fit,” Pochard said.
The extended search brought in two more applicants, including finalists Ted A. Hug of Ayersville schools, and Brent Welker of Eastwood schools. Welker withdrew from consideration after a fire destroyed the administration building and bus garage in his district on Jan. 25.
“We went through a painstaking process, but ultimately we found the person who we think is right for the district,” Pochard said.
Send an E-mail to Max Filby