Board: Morrison is right fit

By William Duffield bduffield@civitasmedia.com

February 12, 2014

XENIA — When picking its next superintendent, the Xenia Board of Education has been diligent to make sure they get just the right person. During Monday’s meeting, the board hired the person it felt was the right fit, former Beavercreek superintendent Denny Morrison, to run the Xenia Community Schools.

“We are pleased and excited to work with Mr. Morrison as we continue to move forward during this period of transition,” board president Cheryl Marcus said. “Mr. Morrison brings a wealth of experience that we believe can benefit our students and our community.”

Along with his time in Beavercreek, Morrison, who was hired to fill in as superintendent pro tem until taking over as superintendent on August 1, also served as superintendent for the Mad River Schools. He also has been a principal, assistant principal and director of curriculum in his career, which began with a 12-year span as a Spanish teacher.

“I am so excited to be in Xenia and I am really looking forward to getting started,” Morrison said during Monday’s meeting. “There are already so many wonderful, hardworking people here and I look forward to getting to know them and working with them.

“I promise that I will do my very best every single day. Success will take a total community effort. We all have a tremendous stake in the future of our children.”

Morrison’s contract with the district calls for him to be paid at a rate of $519.23 per day as superintendent pro tem. When the one-year superintendent contract kicks in on August 1, Morrison’s salary will be $135,000

Morrison said that, in any situation, he always asks “Is this decision the best decision for our students?” He added that there is a need for effective communication throughout the community.

“Having Mr. Morrison in place for the next 17 months will give us strong leadership as we look to the future for our schools and our entire community,” Marcus said. “All of our work must be focused on the learning needs of our students and preparing our young people for their future endeavors.”

Morrison said his plan for the district is serious.

“When the Board of Education appointed me as your superintendent, I discovered that my hopes and dreams for our students were universal throughout the district: we all want to see each Xenia youngster experience success,” Morrison said. “I am sure that you understand that is not a trivial endeavor — it is an awesome responsibility.”

Morris said the responsibility includes the entire Xenia Schools community, even those without children attending school.

He added that the success of a school is more than test scores.

“I want our district test scores to improve,” he continued. “I want every child to be prepared for college or for the world of work. However, the effectiveness of a school system cannot be gauged by the results of a test administered in a single day or a single week. we are about so much more than that.

“We must instill values in our young people and help them develop personal responsibility,” he continued. “These are the same virtues you and I learned a long time ago — sometimes referred to as ‘old fashioned values’. If we do not cultivate them, they will disappear.”

Morrison said the district’s vision must provide the tools to make each child the best he or she can be, including:

• Challenging academically gifted students and make sure they are not “deterred by mediocrity”;

• Students who come to school every day, do a good job, and stay out of trouble must not be taken for granted. They must be rewarded and shown that they are appreciated;

• Student who struggle to overcome learning and physical disabilities must have access to best methods to grow and develop to their maximum potential; and

• Students who have the ability, but are simply not succeeding in a traditional classroom must have opportunities that address their special circumstances.

“We have to find alternative programs that will allow our at-risk children to experience success and earn their diplomas,” Morrison said.

William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield