BOE takes no action on hiring director of special education

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A motion to hire a new special education director for Sidney City Schools was taken off the agenda Monday night following an executive session by the Board of Education.

The board was expected to hire Chris Barr as the new director, replacing Tammy Drerup, who resigned to take a position with Centerville City Schools. Barr is currently the assistant principal at Sidney Middle School.

“I’d like to apologize to Chris Barr,” said Board member Jason Schaffner. “I think this is unnecessary and I think it’s wrong. From my heart I say I’m sorry.”

Schaffner said there’s a perception that Superintendent John Scheu was “making the decision because you’re dating his daughter. The committee is recommending it but the board chose to not act on it.”

Board member Linda Meininger also agreed with Schaffner that “we should have taken care of it tonight. But we’ll wait on the new superintendent.”

Board President Bob Smith said he was optimistic the new superintendent will be hired by the end of the week. The board’s choice for the position met with staff and community members Tuesday night, June 26.

“He’ll take into consideration what the committee recommends,” said Smith. “We’re putting 10 days into a contract (for Barr) so there’s no gap in services. We want the new superintendent to have a role in hiring the director.”

“We want to give the new superintendent some type of say in the position,” said board member Mandi Croft, “as they will be working closing together. In my mind, this is not punishment for Chris.

“I can only say what I feel and I am speaking up for the community on what I’ve heard from them,” said Croft.

Smith said he has heard “amazing things about you (Chris Barr). If the new superintendent makes the same recommendation, I’ll be the first to jump on board.”

In addition to removing the item hiring Barr as special education director, the board also removed an item dealing with an administrator reassignment. If Barr had been hired as special education director, Dan Barnes would have been reassigned from Sidney High School assistant principal to SMS assistant principal.

“I’d like to have your opinions on what to tell Dan Barnes and Diane Voress (SMS principal),” said Scheu after the action had been taken.

Prior to the executive session, three members of the interviewing committee voiced their support for Barr. Speaking were Michael Moore, Emerson Elementary School principal; John Willoughby, Sidney High School assistant principal; and Raquel Martin, intervention specialist.

“I think he’ll do a good job for us,” said Moore. “Chris has a plan for us (the district.”

Willoughby said Barr was one of three candidates interviewed for the position.

“I worked with him at Hardin-Houston Schools and he did an outstanding job as a teacher,” said Willoughby. “It’s neat to see someone who has a path they want to take. Chris has been on this path for several years. It’s neat that he can achieve that goal.”

Willoughby said Barr has the management and administrator skills to be successful as the special education director.

Martin said there were three wonderful candidates who had applied for the job.

“I believe Chris was more outstanding than the others,” said Martin. “He’s already part of the staff and that will make for a smooth transition.”

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.