New West Carrollton school chief called analytical with ‘laser focus’

A new superintendent is on the job in the West Carrollton City School District for the first time in 18 years.

Former New Bremen Superintendent Andrea Townsend began Tuesday as the successor to Rusty Clifford.

RELATED: 5 things to know about new superintendent

Hired in late March, Townsend was able to gradually transition into the job through the spring and summer, working with Clifford before he departed at the end of July. Clifford closed out his tenure with the district before taking an administrative post with the Montgomery County Educational Service Center.

Being able to work for four months with a predecessor who spent nearly two decades in the job, Townsend said, was a big plus.

“He’s put so many good programs in place,” she said. “And me having the opportunity to overlap with him and learn about those programs was a great advantage for me.”

RELATED: West Carrollton hires new superintendent

Townsend inherits a district that recently approved a levy but has strides to make with state test scores. It is also exploring replacing aging buildings and, Townsend said, looking to become a “hub” for the three communities from which it draws students.

The suburban district of roughly 3,800 students from West Carrollton, Miami Twp. and Moraine received D’s in performance index and early literacy improvement on the most recent state report card. But it got B’s for student progress and graduation rate.

Townsend is a “is a hard-working and hands-on leader,” West Carrollton school board President Roberta Phillips said via email.

MORE: West Carrollton bridge in ‘dire’ need of repair

“She has a proven track record of using data to managing budgets and lead effective learning programs,” she added.

Townsend said she plans to rely on those data analyzing skills, “and then using (the) information to move the district forward.”

One of the initial goals, she said, is “create a structure and a process to look at student growth and achievement, and instruction in the classroom.

MORE: City gets $47K for drug prevention program

“That’s our big focus this year,” she said. “We’re digging into some student data, learning how to use that data effectively to improve what we’re doing.”

District officials said they are working with a state support team – local and regional Ohio educators with a history of school improvement – to help focus on English Language Arts and on attendance. Another emphasis: a new law taking affect this school year tightening truancy guidelines.

“This is not to imply that we are not expecting improvement in all areas,” Phillips said. “But we need to put focused effort into ELA to improve our student learning, testing and scores. Improvements in ELA will also translate to better scores in other areas.”


Goals are being set, Townsend said, “at the district level, the building level and at the teacher level, so we’re all on the same page and we’re all moving toward a common process.

“So I look at the report card as a starting point for us and a place to grow from,” she added.

The district is in the early stages of working with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to examine the future of its buildings. A meeting set for last week was postponed by the commission, Townsend said.

The state will address West Carrollton’s buildings, issue a report of each one and perform enrollment projects, she said. Earlier, district officials said they expected the process to take a few years.

MORE: Other articles by Nick Blizzard

In the meantime, Townsend said, she will encourage more community involvement.

“We want to increase participation with the community and our partnerships and become that hub for the area – where folks want to come and support our teams and support our kids,” she said.

The community, Phillips said, “can already feel a change in our communication - our Facebook and Twitter accounts have been re-energized” with Townsend coming on board.

“They can expect a more direct message with a laser focus on the district goals,” she added.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Dayton school board quiet on Corr, task force issue
Dayton school board quiet on Corr, task force issue

Dayton’s newly seated school board on Tuesday hired a security director and moved to appraise several properties that could be for sale, but there was little discussion of two big issues facing the district. Rhonda Corr update Beverly Meyer, the attorney whose report was key to Superintendent Rhonda Corr being placed on paid leave, met with school...
Who is White House physician Ronny L. Jackson?
Who is White House physician Ronny L. Jackson?

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson became physician to the president in 2013, when he was appointed by President Barack Obama. It’s a position that has been around since George Washington became president, but it did not become official until Congress created the title in 1928.  Jackson is the 18th person to hold the position, which is...
Deflating tires to drive on ice, snow can be dangerous trick, experts say
Deflating tires to drive on ice, snow can be dangerous trick, experts say

Some drivers say they have a trick to keep from slipping and sliding in ice and snow -- they let some air out of their tires.  Experts say it can help, but it can also be dangerous.  Ralph Creamer of Dayton said it's a technique he started using years ago on the job.  "I answered calls and I lowered the tire pressure and that helped...
Driver trapped after semi overturns in Xenia
Driver trapped after semi overturns in Xenia

Federal Road remains shut down as a wrecker truck will work to flip the semi that had overturned in Xenia. The scene will take at least a couple of hours to clear, but State Route 72 is open, OSP said. According to OSP, the driver, a local man hauling machinery, hit a patch of snow and lost control of the semi.  He was trapped in the cab but was...
White House physician releases official report with details of president’s exam
White House physician releases official report with details of president’s exam

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the physician to the president, released the particulars of President Donald Trump’s physical exam in an official report Tuesday. It was Trump’s first periodical physical as president and was conducted last Friday at the Walter Reed Army National Military Medical Center. The results were released with...
More Stories