WINTERSVILLE - Longtime Indian Creek Assistant Superintendent Court Stewart will retire in January.
Superintendent John Rocchi announced Stewart's retirement Wednesday.
Stewart served within the Indian Creek Local School District for 39 years. He has also been involved with the district's new middle school project since its inception, and Rocchi said Stewart will continue working part-time until January to see that project's completion.
"He's been incredibly valuable on our middle school project and I appreciate everything he's done for me during the year I've been superintendent. He's made my transition smooth, and he's such an asset to the district," said Rocchi.
The middle school project is the result of a levy approved by voters in November 2008. The levy amount included 2.2 mills for construction, plus an additional 1.25 mills for maintenance and permanent improvements for a total of 3.45 mills. The total cost of the project is $17 million and is being partly funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
Rocchi said the assistant superintendent's position will be filled by Thomas Chappelear, who will focus on professional development curriculum and technology areas.
Chappelear received a bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1991 from West Liberty University, a master's degree in educational administration in 2004 from Franciscan University of Steubenville; and a doctorate degree in educational leadership studies in 2011 from West Virginia University.
From 1997-2005 he served as a high school social studies teacher at Indian Creek High School.
Rocchi also announced the district will be participating in the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, which will provide scholarships to students who, for the 2012-13 school year, are eligible to attend kindergarten through 12th-grade and have an Individualized Education Program from their district of residence.
The amount of each scholarship will be based on the disability identified on the students IEP and will not exceed $20,000.
The program comes after Gov. John Kasich signed the biennial state operating budget in June 2011 that included language to create a new special education scholarship program named after former state legislator and special education advocate Jon Peterson.
The scholarship money allows parents the choice to receive special education services through a private or alternative public school provider, so in effect a child wouldn't be restricted to schooling in his or her local district, said Rocchi. However, parents will be responsible for costs exceeding their awarded amount.
Rocchi also mentioned the district's participation in a dyslexia pilot project to begin with the 2012-13 school year.
House Bill 96, which was signed by Kasich in December, requires the superintendent of public instruction to establish a pilot project involving school districts to provide early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia.
Rocchi said the pilot project must operate for three school years. The goal of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of early screening and reading assistance programs for children at risk for reading failure and whether those programs can reduce future special education costs.
The Ohio Department of Education Office for Exceptional Children selected eight school districts to participate in the pilot project on a voluntary basis, and the Edison Local School District also will be participating in the pilot program, said Rocchi.
He said districts may be funded up to $40,000 per year and that funds for the second and third year are only made available upon successful completion of the first year.