April showers bring May flowers! April also brings state testing, spring sports, high school musicals, and many other activities. Spring Break is over, and we are in the stretch to end the year on a positive note. There are plenty of school events for you to partake in this spring. I hope to see you at some of them.

There is also plenty of exciting news in the schools. Let me share some with you.

Northfield nominated for award: Northfield Elementary has been nominated as a Hall of Fame School and may be recognized by the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators. As part of the nomination they recently completed an extensive application with questions about the school. This application was reviewed by state association members. Northfield qualified for the final stage of receiving the Ohio Hall of Fame award. OAESA sent two representatives from Columbus to interview staff, students, community members, and administration. Results will be announced during the month of April. If Northfield is selected as a Hall of Fame school after the site visit, they will be recognized at the state conference in June.

Ledgeview nominated for award: The Ohio Department of Education recently nominated Ledgeview Elementary School for the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award. Ledgeview is one of three schools statewide that the Ohio Department of Education may nominate to the US Department of Education. Ledgeview staff completed the application that describes the school's practices and details its academic performance over the past five years.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Every year the USDOE seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. More than 7,500 of schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award since 1982. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

New technology director hired: At its March 20 meeting, the Board of Education approved my recommendation to hire Mike Russ as the district's new technology director. Mike graduated from Nordonia High School in 2002 and comes to us from Willoughby-Eastlake, where he is a computer technician. Mike also spent time working for Smart Solutions at the Chagrin Falls Schools and MCPc, Inc. Mike's first day was April 10. Mike replaces Kyle Livengood, who took a similar position with the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. Welcome Mike!

New business manager: At the April 24 meeting I will recommend the Board of Education hire Matt Gaugler as our new business manager starting May 1. You may know Matt as Petermann's general manager of our transportation department. Matt brings a good level of experience and has impressed us very much over the past year with his communication, customer service focus, and his leadership skills. Matt replaces Tom Hartman, who moved to North Carolina. Welcome Matt!

Great teacher news: Congratulations to district librarian Angela Wojtecki for being selected for a fellowship from the OxBridge Teacher Seminar program. Angela will attend Oxford University in London this summer for a week-long, intensive seminar focused on the role of the library in education today. This is a very exclusive fellowship, with less than 10 percent of all applicants receiving a fellowship scholarship to attend. We congratulate Angela on this amazing opportunity and look forward to what it will bring to the district.

More great teacher news: Nordonia High School German teacher Endre Lszl Szentkirlyi recently was awarded the very prestigious Hungarian Silver Cross of Merit civilian citation. Endre was granted this award from Jnos der, President of Hungary, based on the nomination of the Hungarian prime minister. Endre, who is an associate of the "56 Films" production company and a member of the American Hungarian Educators Association, was given the award in recognition of his dedicated service and his untiring organizing activities in maintaining the cultural heritage of the Hungarian community in Cleveland. Congratulations, Endre!

Even more great teacher news: Congratulations to Ledgeview psychologist Keith Mesmer for winning the Ohio School Psychologist Association Pete Gross Best Practice Award. The Pete Gross Best Practice award was established in 1988 to recognize school psychology programs that demonstrate exemplary professional practices and to provide information to other school psychologists. It was named in honor of Pete Gross, a school psychologist who later worked for the Ohio Department of Education, Division of Special Education. Pete Gross understood the good that school psychologists can do for children and, in his role with the state department, worked with us to provide the best services for children. He continually challenged us to develop the skills needed to function at the level of "best practice." Great job Keith!

As always, thanks for supporting the Nordonia Schools, have a great month, and remember to follow me on Twitter @DrJoeClark.