LORAIN — Diane Conibear-Xander is the mayor’s pick for the district’s Academic Distress Commission.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer announced the news Thursday afternoon via Twitter.
“Her heart for (Lorain City Schools) is unmatched, as is her professionalism, background and experience,” he wrote. “I look forward to her work as a commission member!”
Conibear-Xander replaces John Monteleone, who stepped down from the position in December.
Conibear-Xander brings 24 years of education experience to the commission, 14 of those spent working for Lorain Schools, she said. She served as a high school principal for seven years, overseeing the Southview-Admiral King merger with Lorain High School.
She left the district in 2014 and now works as director of pupil personnel and satellite programming at Polaris Career Center in Middleburgh Heights.
Despite leaving the district five years ago, she said in a statement that she has continued to follow House Bill 70 and its impact on Lorain.
“I have tuned in to LCS Board meetings, ADC meetings and Town Hall meetings. My next steps will be to gather critical facts and examine the truths about the current operational standards and practices of Lorain city schools,” she said. “The district’s current and future financial status, curriculum developments and implementation, as well as employee relations will be at the forefront of my work on the ADC.”
Academic Distress Commission chairman Tony Richardson said members welcome her to the panel.
“The Lorain Academic Distress Commission happily welcomes Ms. Diane Conibear-Xander to our team,” he said in an email statement. “Ms. Conibear-Xander is a world-class professional and consummate educator, who cares very deeply about students and families. We look forward to working with her in our endeavor to realize the Lorain Promise.”
Conibear-Xander said she plans to work to regain community trust and respect, consistently supporting teachers and putting students first.
“By authentically addressing the true needs and concerns of the Lorain community, I believe we can and will be a successful, urban-public district that makes our community proud to be a citizen, parent and student of Lorain City Schools.”
Conibear-Xander was one of the 37 applicants for the CEO position last summer. She was tapped by Richardson to “throw her hat in the ring” for the position, she said.
Following an expedited interview process, including questions by Leroy Nunery, senior strategic adviser with Atlantic Research Partners, the firm hired to help the commission find a CEO, she called the process “completely superficial and insincere,” in an email to Commission members afterward. She went on to say the questions appeared unscripted and Nunery was “disorganized and condescending at times,” and did not know her professional qualifications or experiences prior to the interview.
She and former Superintendent Jeff Graham were the only applicants known outside of the five finalists.
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