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Dayton Schools Lose Both Principals; One Becomes Southgate Superintendent

This story has been updated with corrected titles for each principal.

Dayton Independent Schools will be looking for two new principals as both schools - Dayton High and Lincoln Elementary - lost their top administrators to other opportunities.

Elementary school principal Greg Duty is the new superintendent at Southgate Independent Schools, and high school principal Jeremy Dodd is relocating to Williamstown with his family near where he just bought a farm and will take a principal role at that city's elementary school.

"A few months ago my wife and I purchased four and a half acres down in Dry Ridge," Dodd explained. "I felt that an hour commute both ways was too much, especially with occasional night games and other events, many times I would get to school at 6:30 a.m. and not get home until 9:30 or 10 p.m. I love the kids, and the school, and the challenges, but I am a dad first and I wasn't getting enough family time."

His new school offers kindergarten through fifth grade and his daughter, Gabrielle, 9, will be in his school.

"She is all kinds of excited that I will be her principal," he said. "My son, Lucas, is 12, and he will stay at Turkeyfoot (Middle School) another year because he is in the band. Next year he will transfer to Williamstown."

Dodd said in the three years he has been at Dayton, he has helped to raise all the test scores, and both the elementary and the high school are now proficient, which Dodd is very proud of. He said it was not just him, but the team of teachers and the students who helped achieve that. But the thing he is most proud of is that during his three years he watched the community come back to believe in the schools again, and he thinks it is because of the personal attention that the students receive from the teachers and staff, and because the parents know that the faculty care about their children and want them to succeed.

Greg Duty is excited about becoming the new superintendent of the Southgate Schools. Duty is a graduate of Dayton High School, and coming back to the school district after teaching at Erlanger for 9 years was satisfying.

"It is an absolute honor to sit at my desk and look out my window and see the house I grew up in on 5th street," he said. "I have been here 7 years, two years as assistant principal at the High School and five as the principal of Lincoln elementary. As a child I always loved the school experience. I love when the kids give me a hug. I am going to miss them."

Duty said it was a great challenge, and a blessing to serve the community. He said it is always nice to be able to leave a place better than he found it, and he believes the whole district has positive momentum.

He said he believed that when it was time for him to move on, God would let him know, and that is what happened when he applied to be the superintendent at Southgate. He is looking forward to the challenges that the new job will bring.

"The thing I am proudest of is the kids working hard to be the best they can be," Duty said. "I tried hard to recognize the kids for the achievements they had. Everybody deserves affirmation for the great things they do. I always tell the kids to live by the Golden rule and it will come back to them. Even if they would accomplish a tiny thing, to that child it is a big thing, and it should be recognized."

Duty praised his teachers and staff, and said everyone from Superintendent Jay Brewer down has been a help to him.

"Everybody has a role to play, and they do it well here," he said. "And I know one thing: the kids deserve the best so they can have the best chance to succeed."

Superintendent Jay Brewer said that he knew the departures were coming.

"They both let me know they were going to apply for the jobs they got," Brewer said. "So I knew in late April, early May, that I could be looking for two principals. But that is part of our district motto: Growing Forward. It doesn't just apply to the students; it is also for the staff and teachers and principals. Actually, three to five years is about the national average for a principal tenure because it is such a demanding position."

Brewer said that there is a procedure that all the schools follow for interviewing and hiring new principals, and they will be following those rules. They always pay attention to parent and staff surveys, and the posting is required to be kept up for 30 days. He said he hopes to have the new principals hired in time to introduce them at the July school board meeting. The first day of school is August 17 and he said they should be settled in by then.

"It is a great tribute to our district that we are turning out great leaders who can go forward to add their leadership to other communities," Brewer said. "It is a very positive indication of the great work in our community."

Board Chair Rosann Sharon echoed Brewer's sentiment.

"We want our people to grow," she said. "I am proud that other communities are going to see what great people we have here working for our kids."

Note: An earlier version of this story had the principalships reversed. Duty was principal of the elementary school and Dodd was principal of the high school. The error was made by the editor, not the reporter. RCN apologizes for the oversight.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Greg Duty and family (left) and Jeremy Dodd (provided)
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