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After 10 years as superintendent of the Crestwood Local School District, and 35 years in education, Joe Iacano has announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2013.
Iacano said he's looking forward to spending more time with his family.
"I have two kids in high school, and it's a great opportunity to see some of their activities," he said. "I'll be enjoying watching my son play baseball and wrestle for Firestone High School, and my daughter do her show choir routine and all those fun things that I often have to miss as superintendent."
During Iacano's time at Crestwood, the district was able to provide free all-day kindergarten, implement full inclusion in all grade levels for special education students and approve its 4.7-mill emergency levy, which is the first time the school has received new money in 20 years.
"He's done a lot of work with curriculum, professional development for the teachers and getting this district to an excellent rating and maintaining that rating for the past few years," said district Treasurer Jill Rowe.
Iacano was responsible for creating the position of curriculum director for the district, which he believed was necessary for the schools to have more success.
"When I came to Crestwood we had a lot of good, hard-working teachers and administrators, but I didn't see a real clear direction," Iacano said. "I think part of that had to do with the fact that there was nobody to coordinate staff development and how we go about teaching and helping kids learn."
Martha Phillips, president of the Board of Education, said Iacano was adamant about cutting back on Crestwood's spending, which included not replacing staff that retired and making good financial decisions.
"I'm going to be real sorry to see him go," she said. "I'm just hoping we can find a superintendent to follow him that will be able to measure up."
The Board of Education will begin its process of finding Iacano's successor by holding a special meeting regarding his retirement at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 17 at the Primary Building, 11256 Bowen Road.
Rowe said the Board of Education has a meeting with two companies next week to present superintendent searches, and hopes to issue a formal notice about the position in January.
Iacano said he feels like he's leaving Crestwood in a good place.
"We've had eight consecutive years of improved performance on the state report card, and that tells you that the systems and processes are working," he said. "I think it makes the district more attractive for incoming superintendents to see a district that's achieving well academically and is financially stable."
The Board of Education is hoping to hire someone at the beginning of June to allow a one-month overlap between Iacano and the new superintendent.
"It's been a great community to work in over the years and I just wish the staff, parents and kids the best," he said. "I'm very confident that the board will be very diligent in the search for my successor."
Prior to his 10 years as a superintendent, Iacano was the director of personnel and curriculum at Garfield Heights, principal for Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, assistant principal at Crestwood High School and taught social studies at North Ridgeville High School. He got his bachelor's degree in education from Kent State University, and his master's from the University of Akron.
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The levy passed, now we have money for the teachers union contracts in June 30th.