Chagrin Falls Schools Board of Education has named Dr. Jennifer Penczarski as the next superintendent of Chagrin Falls Schools. The Board approved her three-year contract during a special meeting on April 14. Dr. Penczarski is currently the superintendent of Kenton City Schools in Kenton, Ohio. She will officially begin her role on July 1, 2021. Dr. Penczarski succeeds Dr. Robert Hunt, who is leaving the District to become the superintendent of the Barrington 220 School District in Chicago.
The Board of Education initiated a superintendent search in January with assistance from K-12 Business Consulting Inc. and included a diverse cross-section of the community.
After developing a superintendent profile that was based on input received during seven staff and community focus group sessions and from survey responses from more than 125 parents and community members, teachers, administrators, support staff members and students, the Board reviewed the credentials of 22 applicants.
Board interviews with six semi-final candidates were conducted virtually on March 29 and 31, after a committee of citizens and District employees first had the opportunity to ask each candidate questions during a Meet and Greet session. Three finalists were invited to return on April 5 to meet with administrators and District staff ahead of a second interview with the Board.
“On behalf of the Chagrin Falls Board of Education, I am excited to welcome Dr. Penczarski as the next superintendent of Chagrin Falls Schools,” said Board President Phil Rankin. “This has been a very difficult decision due to the quality of our applicants. In collaboration with the input we received from our community stakeholders, teachers, staff and administrative team, we are confident Dr. Penczarski’s passion for learning and her dedication to maximizing every student’s potential will serve our District well. Her success as a superintendent represents her commitment to establishing a strong vision and direction for Chagrin Falls Schools. We look forward to working with Dr. Penczarski as we continue our quest for excellence for all of our students.”
Dr. Penczarski has been superintendent of Kenton City Schools since 2010. In this time, she has transformed the learning organization of the district, redefined innovation in learning, reformed the organizational systems, invested in the future, and established transparent financial stability.
Prior to her superintendency, she worked at Tri-Valley Local Schools in Dresden, Ohio from 2005-2010 as the principal of Tri-Valley Middle School, principal of Frazeysburg Intermediate School, and assistant principal of Tri-Valley High School. From 1997-2005, Dr. Penczarski was the director of instrumental music, grades 5-12, for Tuslaw Local School District in Massillon, Oho. She was the managing director of the Miami University Marching Band in Oxford, Ohio from 1994-1996.
“I am extremely honored to have been selected as the next superintendent of Chagrin Falls Schools,” said Dr. Penczarski. “Chagrin Falls has a long tradition of excellence and I am looking forward to the opportunity of working collaboratively to take an already great School District to even higher levels. Throughout the interview process, I have witnessed a strong sense of community, commitment and pride from a diverse group of stakeholders. My husband and I also have experienced first-hand an extremely welcoming, helpful and caring community on our recent visits to the area. I am thrilled to begin the next step in this journey.”
Dr. Penczarski has served on numerous professional committees and has received many teaching awards. Most recently she served on the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) communication committee. She has presented at the Hardin County Chamber of Business Alliance Woman LEAD event, the National Dropout Convention, Battelle for Kids Connect for Success, and the Ohio School Board Association Capital Conference. She also has served on the board and as a member of many education and community committees/networks including the Western Ohio Computer Organization, Rotary International, Women of the Moose, Kenton Parks and Recreation, Children and Family First Council, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, and the Schlechty Center National Superintendent’s Leadership Network. She also was recognized with several awards as a teacher.
Dr. Penczarski received her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She was a member of the BASA Cohort XXVII for Superintendents with the Center for Creative Leadership Ohio School Leadership Institute. She received her licensure as a superintendent as well as her Masters in Education Administration from Ashland University. Dr. Penczarski received her Bachelor of Music in Education and Bachelor of Music Performance from Miami University. She currently resides in Kenton, Ohio with her husband, Michael, and they look forward to becoming a part of the Chagrin Falls’ community as soon as possible.