Delaware City Schools Assistant Superintendent Doug Behnke is retiring in June after serving several years in the district.
Behnke, who also oversees human and material resources, leaves the district June 30 after 15 years. The school board this week approved his replacement, current Conger Elementary School Principal Jerry Stewart, a seven-year employee of Delaware City Schools.
Stewart was granted a three-year contract beginning Aug. 1 to be the executive director of human and materials resources. Stewart will officially begin his new position on June 27, working alongside Behnke until he retires.
The district will operate without an assistant superintendent for awhile, which will save money, superintendent Paul Craft said. Behnke’s salary as assistant superintendent and human and material resources is $109,535.40. In his new position, Stewart will make $102,978.20 a year, about $6,600 less than Behnke.
The assistant superintendent has the responsibility of being in charge when the superintendent is out of the office. Typically, the assistant superintendent role is given to a person who has more experience at the district’s central office since important decisions might need to be made in the superintendent’s absence, Delaware City Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Ruhe said.
Stewart will be in charge of all human resources activities within the district, including checking references, doing background checks and hiring personnel. He will also conduct all new employee training classes and would also be responsible for discipline, such as suspensions and terminations.
The position also is in charge of supply and equipment purchasing in conjunction with the district treasurer and oversees other departments in the district, such as business and food services and transportation.
Stewart has lived in the county since 1972 and previously served for five years as a middle school principal for Buckeye Valley. He has also previously worked as a teacher.
“This is something I’ve always been interested in since I started my teaching career,” Stewart said. “I saw the effect that great teachers have in the classroom. What could be more fulfilling than to have all students and teachers succeed.”
Stewart has a very strong sense of policy and procedures and was a stand-out candidate for the position, Ruhe said.
The district has begun its process to hire a new principal at Conger Elementary School, receiving more than 50 applications, Craft said.
“This really is a strong set of candidates,” Craft said, adding that some candidates have applied from neighboring county school districts. “It’s a good difficulty to have.”
The applicant pool will be whittled to three candidates who will be interviewed this month at Conger Elementary School. Those in the running will have three 45-minute interview sessions with administrators and a school board member, community members, parents and a member of Conger classified and certified staff.