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Leetonia taps retiring SR boss

LEETONIA– The Leetonia school board Thursday afternoon hired the retiring superintendent of a neighboring district to guide Leetonia.

The board granted a three-year contract effective Aug. 1 to Dennis Dunham as schools superintendent at $90,000 annually. He is set to retire from as superintendent of South Range Local Schools this summer after 14 years in the position.

The board also approved up to 30 days for Dunham to work between June 1 and July 31.

His experience and passion earned him the job, according to board President Michael Henderson.

“We were able to meet with several strong candidates who shared very good ideas for the district,” Henderson explained. “But it was a combination of [Dunham]’s experience and enthusiasm for the school and community that the board liked. He is the best fit for Leetonia schools right now.”

Dunham is an East Palestine High School graduate and holds a master’s degree from the University of Dayton. He began his career at Southern Local Schools as a teacher, coach and administrator before spending the past 24 years at South Range where he served as high school principal before becoming schools superintendent.

He lives in Green Township with his wife of 25 years.

Dunham told the board Thursday he is excited to get started at Leetonia.

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and making a difference in the lives at Leetonia,” he said. “Building relationships and getting to know people is important…working together is the only way to achieve greatness.”

The board received 28 applications and interviewed six of them, then three of them, over the past couple weeks.

The board in January named Dr. Andy Tommelleo as interim superintendent through July 31, but the contract can be terminated upon 10 days written notice by either the board or Tommelleo.

Tommelleo stepped in after the board placed longtime superintendent Rob Mehno on administrative leave following an undisclosed allegation raised by an employee. The county prosecutor’s office reviewed complaints of sexual harassment against Mehno but declined to press charges. The board approved Mehno’s resignation in February and agreed to pay him a lump sum of $60,000.

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