Tallmadge -- The Board of Education approved the administration's request to move a teacher into the assistant principal position at Tallmadge Middle School and allow the current assistant principal to take a teaching position at Munroe Elementary School.

The Board authorized the personnel changes Jan. 16 with a 4 to 0 vote. Member Valorie Prulhiere was absent.

Jeff Manion, physical education teacher at the middle school, will move to the assistant principal position, and Jim Barbera, assistant principal will become a special education teacher at Munroe.

Barbera, who worked as a special education teacher at Munroe for nine years, the middle school for six years, and overseas in Guam for one year, will fill that position again at Munroe. He became the assistant principal at the middle school during the 2009-10 school year.

"I thought it was just a great opportunity to be back working with kids and their families. It's always been something I've been very passionate about, whether I taught at the middle school or here at Munroe," Barbera said.

He said he feels like he can make "more of an impact" as a teacher because he'll be working with fewer children instead of the hundreds he did at the middle school.

Manion, who has been with the district for 10 years, has been teaching physical education classes at Munroe and the middle school. He also is the lead teacher in the physical education and health department for the school district and technology specialist at Munroe. He has been helping Barbera with some assistant principal duties to gain experience as an administrator.

"I am extremely pleased to be named as the new assistant middle school principal. I have been preparing for this position for years and now feel extremely grateful for getting the chance to be an administrator here at Tallmadge Middle School ...," Manion said. "I could not ask for a better community and district to work for and hope to exemplify all of the characteristics they are looking for in a school administrator."

Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said the switch will accommodate an increase in special education students at Munroe, which is the result of students who had been going to schools outside of the district to get their specific needs met returning to Tallmadge.

Ferguson said by bringing the students back over the next year and a half, the district is expecting to save $170,000 in transportation, tuition and other costs related to sending students to schools outside the district.

Board President Rick Kellar called the personnel changes a "win-win-win."

"The kids are getting better services for less money with the same or better leadership," he said.

Instead of hiring a special education teacher who's certified in teaching children with moderate to severe disabilities for the grade levels at Munroe, Ferguson said it made sense move a former special education teacher back into that classroom.

Barbera will be the only mild-to-moderate special education teacher at Munroe. He'll be working with three students at first, and Ferguson said the hope is that an additional five will enroll this semester.

"He's one of the best special education teachers we've had in this district so for him to want to go back into the classroom was a win for us," Ferguson said.

Barbera will make an annual salary of $72,752. He made $72,300 as the assistant principal at the middle school.

Manion made $56,800 per year while teaching physical education at the middle school. He'll make $70,888 as the full-time assistant principal at the middle school.

Ferguson said Manion's move to assistant principal will be a "seamless transition" for the kids and their parents as he already knows the students.

The school district will look for replacements for Manion's former supplemental positions of technology specialist at Munroe and lead teacher in the physical education and health department for the district.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

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