Joe Long was dressed casually Monday, the fourth day of his new job.
Long, the interim superintendent of the Archbold Area School District, planned to go up on the roofs of all three school buildings and look them over.
“Then go on down through, check out the systems, (plumbing, heating, etc.), and then look at the grounds,” he said.
Part of his role as an interim superintendent is to bring “fresh eyes” to the job.
“Take advantage of my experience,” he said.
“When you’re in a building month after month, year after year, it’s easy to miss some things.
“When I was here for the ACT (Archbold Community Theatre) play two or three weeks ago, as I was walking up to the building, I could see two or three things that needed to be addressed.”
•Efflorescence on some parts of the brick high school building, resulting when moisture leaves the brick and evaporates, leaving behind salts.
“It’s an appearance problem,” Long said.
•Paving stones in front of the entrance to the high school have settled to a lower level than the surrounding concrete, creating a potential liability issue, as someone could trip and fall.
•Posts for the gates for Blue Streak Drive, used to stop traffic during afternoon dismissal, are projecting towards the drive; a youth or adult on a bicycle or moped could strike the gates and be injured.
“There’s so much emphasis, and rightly so, on what’s going in the building to assist students with learning. It’s not difficult to miss some of these physical facility things that need to be addressed,” he said.
Educationally, Long said as an interim superintendent he won’t be bringing new initiatives to the school district.
“Everything I know about the Archbold faculty and staff is that it’s an excellent faculty and staff, and there are enough new initiatives from the state down, that for my time here, they’ll be just fine dealing with those,” he said.
As an interim superintendent, Long will be with the Archbold Area School District for one year, replacing David Deskins.
Deskins resigned to take a job as the director of human resources at the Penta Career Center in Perrysburg.
The Archbold school board will search for a permanent superintendent while Long serves in the interim.
One of the biggest initiatives for Archbold will be the implementation of the new tablet computer program, known officially as the One- To-One iPad Initiative.
The project will put tablet computers (Apple iPads) in the hands of every student and teacher at the high school starting this fall.
Long said when he first learned about the project, “My first thought was, ‘Good!’ It told me a lot about what was going on at Archbold.”
The tablet computers should help foster teamwork and cooperation in the classroom.
Long said the teachers already have theirs. Students, he said, were already “tuned in” to the technology.
“It’s difficult to see a teen walking along without a device (smart phone, etc.) of some sort.”
Long is no stranger to wind turbines. From his home near Grand Rapids, Long said he can see the four large wind turbines west of Bowling Green.
When asked about finishing the wind turbine project started by Deskins, Long said he served as construction manager for a new school project while he was superintendent in the Otsego school district.
“It was a role I enjoyed,” he said.
“From what I’ve read, Archbold has some excellent consultants who are very familiar with the field.
“This project wasn’t something the school district jumped into. There was a lot of study before the board committed to it.”
Long noted that a provision was added into the contract with the firm constructing the turbines that imposes a fine for late completion.
There is a fine for each day that the project is delayed past a certain deadline. The amount could be as high as $15,000 per month.
The fine structure “holds the company’s feet to the fire,” Long said.
He said it will be quite an event when the blades arrive.
“They are huge, and it requires a huge crane to install them. It’s quite a spectacle to see them go up,” he said.
In addition to Long, there’s one new administrator in the district, plus one administrator in a new job.
Royal Short, former middle school principal, has moved to the high school position, replacing Tim Meister, who is now superintendent at the Four County Career Center.
Matthew Shields moves from the Hilltop School District to become middle school principal.
Even with three new or new-to-the-job administrators, Long does not believe there is cause for concern.
“I think every one of the people mentioned have an understanding that the reason they’re here is because the kids are here,” Long said.
The administrators all understand their primary job is to provide a quality education for the students.
He said he was sure that because of Archbold’s reputation, the board was able to select from an extensive number of applicants.
And, knowing the Archbold community, board members found people who best fit in their new roles.
“There’s always a learning curve, but they’re coming in with fresh eyes,” he said. “They might have another way of looking at things, of doing things that will serve the district and the students well.”