ASHLAND — Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center Superintendent Michael Parry is leaving after two years on the job to return to southwest Ohio. The Career Center Board of Education voted unanimously without comment at a special meeting Tuesday, July 31 to accept Parry’s resignation, effective Aug. 31.
Parry is leaving the area to become superintendent at the Grant Career Center in the Claremont County Community of Bethel. The school is about one hour east of the Butler Technology and Career Development schools in Hamilton, Ohio, where he was executive director of Secondary Education before coming to the Ashland-Holmes County area.
Parry said he just received a contract extension and was looking to be at the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center “a long time” when the Claremont County opportunity became available. He explained that he took advantage of the offer for family reasons.
“I feel this is a risky decision, professionally, because we’re headed on a wonderful trajectory here and everything is trending in the right direction,” Parry said. “But if I take my superintendent hat off and put my dad hat on, that is the driver of the decision because my daughters, who are 10 and 12, can get back into the same school and the same community where they have deep roots and we as a family have deep roots. That’s the only thing that makes it attractive.”
Parry said the Career Center board has been very supportive and has been very optimistic about the future, just as the business community and the community at large have been. He also said the staff has been “wonderful” and described the teachers as “top notch” because they love teaching and their students and it shows.
The Grant Career Center is similar in size and student population to Ashland County-West Holmes and has nearly the same secondary programs but fewer adult programs and courses. Parry said the most remarkable difference is that there are twice as many people in Claremont County as there are in Ashland and Holmes Counties combined.
“Part of the challenge, like it is here in Ashland, will be to select, operate and revitalize programs to attract the maximum number of students,” he said. “It’s all going to be about relationship building with associate schools, businesses and industry so we can produce a workforce that business and industry needs and we’re connecting with the students that the associate schools want us to connect to.”
Parry plans to continue working at the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center through the end of August. He notified local board members of his intent last week.
After accepting Parry’s resignation, the board met in executive session for about 90 minutes to discuss options to fill the vacancy. No decisions were made although Parry said he expects the board to hold another special meeting in a week or so to take some type of action.