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Patrick Gallaway (614) 728-5959

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Three New Members Named to Youngstown Academic Distress Commission
To Help Continue Improvement Effort

Columbus, OH - Three new members have been named to the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission. Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner made the appointments today as part of the ongoing effort to support academic improvement in the Youngstown City School District.

Heffner has appointed Dick Ross, former superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, to serve as Commission chairman. Dr. Ross replaces Debra A. Mettee, who resigned earlier this year. He retired in 2008, after spending nearly three decades as a superintendent in Ohio schools.

Also appointed as at-large members of the Commission were Youngstown businessman Michael Garvey and Adrienne O’Neill, a veteran educator with extensive experience working with urban schools. They take the place of Sherri Lovelace-Cameron and James Hall.

"We are grateful for the tireless efforts of Ms. Mettee and the other commissioners,” Heffner said. “The next chapter of this important work will build upon their contributions.”

The new members will participate in the Commission meeting next Tuesday in Youngstown with Superintendent Heffner and other staff from the Ohio Department of Education. The Superintendent said he will ask the Commission to review and build upon its draft improvement plan that was submitted earlier this year.

“It is essential that the Youngstown school board, the district leadership team and the Commission work in partnership to implement deep changes that will give the children of Youngstown the education they need for the future,” Heffner said. “The urgency to really improve and not tinker around the edges is critical to Youngstown’s success as Ohio transitions from a minimum competency system to one that is based on new, rigorous academic standards. We must move beyond what exists so our students can get and keep good jobs when they graduate.”

The Youngstown Academic Distress Commission was created in 2010 under an Ohio law that requires direct state involvement when a district receives a rating of Academic Emergency on its annual report card and has failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress for four or more consecutive years. Three members are appointed by the superintendent of public instruction and two, who must be school district residents, are appointed by the local school board president.

Youngstown’s current district rating is Academic Watch.

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Biographies of New Youngstown Academic Distress Commission Members

Dick Ross retired in 2008, after a distinguished career as a leader in Ohio public education. From 1988-2008, he was superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, a diverse district near Columbus. Dr. Ross previously served as superintendent of Bryan City and the Ottawa-Glandorf Local school districts in Ohio. He is a current member and former chair of the Governor’s Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Mediation. Dr. Ross previously served in numerous leadership positions, including as president of both the Franklin County Superintendent’s Association and the School Study Council of Ohio.

Michael Garvey is president M-7 Technologies in Youngstown. Mr. Garvey has long been a provider of engineered solutions for heavy industry. For the past eight years, he has been involved in industrial metrology and 3D imaging. He transformed his family’s struggling business, Trumbull Bronze Co., into a high-tech precision measurement and manufacturing company known as M-7 Technologies. The company reduces manufacturing costs, improves product and service quality and reduces the cycle time required to manufacture or repair heavy industrial products through the application of digital database technology and advanced measurements systems.

Adrienne O'Neill, Ed.D., is the president of the Stark Education Partnership. Dr. O’Neill came to the Partnership from Canton City Schools where she served as the chief education officer for the district and the Timken Regional Campus project. Formerly, she served as president for the Academy of Business College in Phoenix and established the Academy of Technology High School. As an associate professor, she helped design the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Johnson and Wales University. Dr. O’Neill also served as an assistant professor of Education at Caldwell College and the director of graduate studies and assistant professor in the Educational Leadership Department at William Paterson University. For 16 years, she served as a superintendent of schools in New Jersey. She also served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, teacher and principal in the state of New York for 13 years.

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