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Michelle Person, of Cleveland, became the new principal at Mills Lawn School Aug. 1, 2020. She recently announced her resignation effective June 30. (Submitted photo)

Person to take ‘different path’

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Michelle Person, who is finishing her first year as principal at Mills Lawn Elementary School, formally announced her resignation, effective June 30, during the most recent school board meeting Thursday, April 8.

The board accepted her resignation, expressing both reluctance to see her leave and gratitude for her service to the district.

Person came to Yellow Springs from the Cleveland schools system last summer, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to fill the vacancy created when former longtime Mills Lawn Principal Matt Housh took an administrative position with nearby Huber Heights Schools.

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“It’s been an amazing year, even in a pandemic,” Person told school board members last week, adding that her departure was prompted by personal circumstances.

“My family and I are going to go in a different path,” she said.

In a phone interview Monday, Person said that she plans to work with her partner in his Dayton-based commercial real estate business.

“It was hit hard by the coronavirus,” she said. “We are going to try to grow it and build it up.”

She also will continue her work as a children’s book author and the founder and director of Just Like Me, a publishing and educational business focused on diversity in children’s literature and schooling, which she started while still in Cleveland.

The couple, who live in Beavercreek, have a daughter, who Person said just turned four. Person also has two older children — a son in the U.S. Marine Corps and a daughter finishing her sophomore year at Beavercreek High School.

Person described her time at Mills Lawn as a “great experience.”

She said that when she informed Superintendent Terri Holden of her intention to resign, she told the superintendent she was grateful to have worked “in a district that worked hard to do what was right for kids at all times.”

She submitted a relatively brief, two-paragraph resignation letter addressed to Holden, dated March 31, that concluded: “You have my full commitment and cooperation for a smooth transition of responsibilities and I wish you and the district the very best going forward.”

A copy of the letter as well as Person’s personnel file were obtained by the News through a public records request. The file contained only documents related to her application last year. According to the district, no evaluations had yet been conducted.

After receiving her March 31 resignation letter, the district posted the opening on various educational job websites. Requirements include at least three years experience teaching in a K–12 classroom, experience as an “elementary school principal or assistant principal within the last five years or equivalent leadership experience” and a valid and current Ohio principal’s license.

The cut off date for receiving applications is April 19, according to Holden this week, who said a committee would then be formed to screen the candidates for interviews. The district reported receiving 27 applications when Person was interviewed last spring.

One-year principal contracts typically run Aug. 1 through June 30. Upon Person’s hiring, the Yellow Springs school board had approved a two-year contract for her with a starting salary of $108,174, plus benefits.

Board President Steve Conn jokingly suggested Thursday night that the board might not accept Person’s resignation letter; and board Vice President Aïda Merhemic told Person that she was sorry the difficult pandemic-related circumstances of “this strange, strange year” kept her from getting to know the principal better, and she wished Person well.

Other business from the April 8 school board meeting will be reported in a future edition of the News.


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