Andrew Gibson has been hired to replace Ryan Coleman as principal of Amherst Junior High School.
Hailing from the Columbia Schools in eastern Lorain County, Gibson was chosen Monday in a unanimous vote of the Amherst board of education.
“I am absolutely convinced that we got it right, and the reason we got it right was because it was a collaborative effort,” district superintendent Steven Sayers said of the hire.
He said staff members from custodians to teachers weighed in on the selections process.
Coleman, who will step down at the end of the school year, said Gibson emerged as the top candidate during the interview process. “I’ve got three babies who are going to go through that school,” the outbound principal laughed, emphasizing how important the decision was for future Amherst students.
Gibson is serving his first year as principal at Columbia Middle School.
He was previously athletic director for the Keystone Wildcats for two years. At the LaGrange high school, he taught world history, psychology, sociology, and global issues classes over the course of four years.
His teaching career began at the Firelands Schools, where Gibson was a substitute for three years while getting his license and studying at Ashland University. He holds a master’s degree in administration.
Amherst on Monday approved a three-year contract starting Aug. 1. He will begin with a $91,800 salary.
Coleman, 41, announced in December that he’d leave his post and instead take a part-time position as special education preschool director for Amherst.
The decision, he said, was made to help his father, longtime Admiral King High School principal David Coleman, run two family-owned gas stations. They include Pure on Cooper Foster Park Road and the Marathon on Cleveland Avenue.
The younger Coleman said his father was “getting tired” after four decades running the businesses and wanted his son to step in and help.
The principal change at AJHS comes as the Amherst school system is gearing up for a huge change.
This summer, Harris Elementary will be demolished to make way for construction of a new Powers Elementary next to the junior high on South Lake Street. Once complete, it will house prekindergarten through third grade.
But doors won’t open until the 2019-2020 school year.
That means some awkward temporary shuffling around of grades in the meantime. This fall and next, Powers Elementary will hold prekindergarten through second grade, Nord will get third through fifth grades, and AJHS will be home to grades six to eight. The changes won’t affect Steele High School.
The squeeze meant district officials had to take a tough look at open enrollment — students from elsewhere who are accepted into the Amherst Schools — for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Michael Molnar, executive director of educational services, said all but two or three percent of open-enrolled students will be able to attend. Letters are being sent to those who will be asked to attend elsewhere due to space restrictions.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
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