Yellow Springs School Board

Norman Glismann

Glismann leaves this week

Yellow Springs schools Superintendent Norm Glismann is leaving his job after two years because he did not feel he was a good fit with the community or the school district, he said.

“I have professional and personal values that had to be put on the back burner too often,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “You have to be true to yourself.”

However, Glismann said he appreciated his “good working relationship” with Yellow Springs principals and teachers.

On Monday night Glismann signed a contract with the Graham Local Schools, and he will begin his new job on Monday, Aug. 3. He submitted his resignation to Yellow Springs schools on Tuesday, July 28, and his last day on the job is this Friday, July 31. Glismann, who was chosen by the Graham district from an initial field of 17 candidates, received a three-year contract at $104,000 annually, according to a July 28 article from the Springfield News Sun.

The Graham school district is larger than Yellow Springs, with 2,400 students. It is a largely rural area that lies between Urbana on the east and Piqua on the west, northwest of Yellow Springs.

Originally from Nebraska, Glismann said that he feels at home with the more rural, conservative values of the Graham district.

“Family values and the ethics of hard work and integrity are present there,” he said of his new job. “My personal and professional values will fit better.”

Glismann declined to be more specific about the ways in which he felt his values conflicted with those of Yellow Springs.

Glismann was a finalist in several area superintendent searches in the past several months, so it was no surprise to the Yellow Springs Board of Education that he was seeking a new job. At a board meeting earlier this month, he had given his resignation for the summer of 2010, when his original contract expires. That action allowed the board to begin thinking about a search, since, according to Ohio law, a board may not begin looking for a replacement for a new superintendent until the current official submits a resignation.

However, the board did not expect that Glismann would find a job this late in the year, according to Board of Education President Aïda Merhemic, who said it was “very unusual” that a job would still be open at this date.

The board met in a special executive session on Wednesday, July 29, to explore options and take next steps, Merhemic said. Those options include hiring an interim superintendent from an Ohio School Board pool of interim employees, she said.

“I want to reassure the community that we will do our best and will move as carefully and quickly as possible,” in finding a replacement for Glismann, Merhemic said. “It’s important and necessary to have a sitting superintendent.”

Merhemic said that she hopes an interim person could be found within a week.

In a statement, Merhemic wrote that the school board “acknowledges Mr. Glissman’s two years of service, expresses its appreciation and wishes him well in his next endeavor.”

Glismann’s perception that he was not a “good fit” for Yellow Springs was “accurate,” Merhemic said in a phone interview.

“He made a wise decision to take care of himself and find a better fit,” she said.

Glismann was hired in April, 2007, after a year-long search, replacing longtime superintendent Tony Armocida. He was chosen from a pool of 30 candidates and stated at the time that he hoped to spend the last 12 to 14 years of his career in the village.

Immediately before coming here, Glismann was the principal at Bryan High School in Bryan, Ohio, and prior to that, he served as superintendent in several Catholic school systems, including the Houston–Galveston Diocese.

Several months into the Yellow Springs job, Glismann became involved in a controversy when he advocated the censorship of one of the Yellow Springs High School one-act plays, prompting an outcry from many students and parents regarding young people’s need for artistic freedom. The play, by YSHS senior Peter Keahey, was not presented as written, and the situation led to the formation of a committee of teachers, administrators, parents and students who looked into school guidelines for creative expression. The year-long process resulted in clearer lines of communication between playwrights and administrators, although the group ultimately came down on the side of artistic freedom.

Looking back on his career in Yellow Springs, Glismann pointed to several achievements. He is proud of having introduced the district to Interest-Based Bargaining, a technique that resulted in a “smooth” bargaining process and three-year contracts with teachers and staff, he said. He also feels the schools made strides in “learning and instruction,” and that steps were taken to move toward making safety and other improvements of some of the district’s older buildings.

Overall, he said, he wishes everyone well.

“There are a lot of good people in this district who are trying to do the right things for kids,” he said.

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