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South Range hires new superintendent

BEAVER TWP. — The South Range school board this week hired a new superintendent to take over the district beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

The board unanimously approved a three-year contract for Bethany Carlson beginning Aug. 1, 2020 with a base salary of $100,000 and 1.5 percent increases in years two and three.

Carlson, currently the elementary principal at Struthers City Schools, will replace Dennis Dunham, who will be retiring at the end of this school year. The Berlin Center resident has been the Struthers Elementary principal since 2015 and has over 20 years of experience in education including as elementary teacher with Columbus City Schools and program director/Title 1 coordinator with Austintown Local Schools. She is a graduate of Youngstown State University with certifications and licensures from The Ohio State University, Ashland University and University of Dayton.

Board President Corey Yoakam said in a statement the process to find a superintendent to replace Dunham was very thorough and the board is excited about what Carlson offers the district.

“The school board has turned over every stone in a deliberate search which included contacting over 30 references, countless hours of discussion, and over seven hours of interviews,” Yoakam said. “The second interview included a community panel with residents from both Beaver and Green townships that represented different sectors of the community which presented their input on this very important decision. While we had a fantastic group of highly-qualified candidates, Bethany was the cream of the crop.”

Yoakam said a constant theme regarding Carlson arose through the more than 30 references – “she is a hard worker, a passionate advocate for the students, and an outstanding leader.”

Yoakam noted that Carlson’s vision for the district aligned “perfectly” with the district’s long-term strategic plan and goals. He said she also talked about areas in which the district can grow and how she was going to help in that growth while maintaining strength in areas of consistency.

“When it came to academics her reputation cannot be matched,” he said. “In every position she has held, Mrs. Carlson has consistently increased academic scores for all of her students.”

The board has a plan in place to transition from Dunham to Carlson.

“As this year progresses she will begin working closely with the board, administration and community members so at the start of her contract she is fully prepared to perform her duties,” Yoakam said.

In a written statement, Carlson expressed gratitude to the board for selecting her as the next superintendent of South Range schools.

“I look forward to working with the leadership to expand my knowledge of what makes South Range Local Schools excellent. This year will, fortunately, provide me the time to learn from Mr. Dunham, Mr. Phillips, the Administration, and the Board of Education. I thank the Board and Community for their support of this incredible opportunity to become a South Range Raider,” she said.

Yoakam praised Dunham for his dedication to the district and thanked him for announcing his retirement early enough for the board to transition a qualified candidate into the position.

“Mr. Dunham’s early retirement announcement allowed us to conduct this in-depth search and announce at such an early date. The board is looking forward to one more year of leadership with Mr. Dunham,” he said. 

khowell@salemnews.net

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