Lisbon school board promotes Siefke to superintendent

LISBON – The Lisbon school board decided to stay in-house when choosing a new superintendent, naming junior-senior high school Principal Joe Siefke to the position.

The board voted 4-0 at Wednesday’s meeting to hire Siefke to succeed longtime Superintendent Don Thompson, who is retiring June 30. The three-year contract calls for Siefke to be paid $96,000 per year.

“I’m obviously very humbled and thankful for the board giving me the opportunity to move the district forward,” he said afterwards.

Siefke, 46, served as principal for the past five years and assistant principal for five years before that.

He was among four people interviewed for the job, with the others being superintendents from school districts in Belmont and Tuscarawas counties and a middle school principal in Ashtabula County.

Board President Jim Smith said they have the greatest respect for Thompson and his achievements, and the fact he was mentor to Siefke weighed heavily in their decision, but Siefke was the best candidate in his own right.

“The continuity that Mr. Siefke will provide, to not only students and staff but the board and district as well, is a good thing,”

Smith said. “We want to keep doing what we’re doing and this allows us to do that.”

A 1985 graduate of Lisbon David Anderson High School, Siefke received a bachelor’s degree in education from Kent State University in 1989, a master’s degree in curriculum instruction from Ashland College in 1996 and a master’s degree in education leadership from Franciscan University in 2003.

Siefke spent his first 15 years in the Lisbon school district as a middle school mathematics and language arts teacher before being promoted to assistant junior-senior high school principal.

He and his wife Tammy live in Lisbon with their two children – Taylor, who is a sophomore at the high school, and Trevor, a second-grade student at McKinley Elementary.

Other board members expressed their support of Siefke, with Gary Peruchetti saying he has always favored promoting from within when you have qualified candidates.

Gene Gallo told Siefke he had some big shoes to fill in replacing Thompson, who has been superintendent for the past 10 years. “I have to tell you I’m an unabashed Don Thompson fan,” Gallo said, adding he believes Siefke benefited from having worked closely with him over the years.

Board member Martina Grimm was absent from the meeting.