With Ryan Wagner, assistant principal at Newark High School, leaving the job he’s held for three years to become principal of Avon High School on July 1, there was an opportunity to make three administrative staff changes in Newark Central School District.
The board of education unanimously approved those changes, which go into effect on July 1.
Robyn Ross-Squirrell, of Farmington, a teacher on special assignment in 2017-18 serving as dean of students at NHS, Perkins and Lincoln schools, will become assistant principal at NHS.
Greg Herbst, of Canandaigua, who served as assistant principal at Newark Middle School since 2012-13 school year, will become assistant principal at Lincoln and Perkins schools.
John Ginter, of Fairport, who served as an administrative intern performing the duties of an assistant principal at NMS this year, will officially take that role.
Superintendent Matt Cook said he is pleased with the opportunity to fill these positions with existing staff at no additional cost to the school district.
“First of all, I am happy for Ryan Wagner that he will go from being our assistant principal at the high school to the new high school principal in Avon,” Cook said. “This is a big move and a challenge that he is more than ready for. Once it was clear that Ryan was leaving, it led to an interesting opportunity, which rarely happens.
“I’m always looking for any opportunities I can find to save money and enhance the program. Our proposed 2018-19 budget that passed in May was developed with no positions being cut, leaving a placeholder this next school year for all salaried positions. We had planned for the potential to use a significant amount of our reserves to maintain our program for students and keep staffing levels the same next year.”
With Wagner leaving and Sue Achille, principal of Perkins School, and Stephanie Miller, principal of Lincoln School, expressing hope they would not lose support for student needs at their buildings provided by Ross-Squirrell, Cook said he was pleased when Herbst approached him with the idea that he returned administratively to his roots in teaching in the primary setting, a desire he’d expressed before Cook started as as superintendent five years ago.
With Ginter completing his administrative internship as an assistant principal at NMS at the end of this school year, — as well as being trained through the Wayne-Finger Lakes Leadership Institute — he had the qualifications for the open position at NMS.
“I believe in an open hiring process, and that people are better when they have to compete for their jobs,” Cook said. “I also believe that the Leadership Institute and the yearlong internships that we provide are a great way to essentially ‘interview’ candidates for potential jobs. So, a perfect storm of sorts allowed for me to accommodate Greg, Sue and Stephanie, while keeping Robyn and John in the district and saving money from Ryan’s already budgeted salary. This means less potential use of reserves in 2018-19.”
Ross-Squirrell, who was functioning part-time as interim principal at Lincoln School, started working for Newark CSD in 1997-98 at Kelley School as a long-term substitute. She was hired full-time the next year as a fifth-grade teacher, a job she continued until August 2008 when she became the district enrichment and arts-in-education coordinator. In 2016-17, she was an administrative intern at NHS, Perkins and Lincoln schools.
She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Nazareth College, master’s degree in political science from George Mason University, administrative special education certification from Nazareth College and educational administrative certification from SUNY Oswego.
“I have invested my whole career in the Newark Central School District, and want to see our schools achieve a greater level of excellence,” Ross-Squirrell said. “I believe that building relationships is the foundation of what makes an extraordinary school.
“Over the past two years, during my internship and as dean of students, I have developed and continue to develop, refine and invest in relationships with staff, students, parents and the community. I want to be a part of a team working toward a common goal, and I know that team is with NHS Principal Tom Roote, the entire staff and students. Being an assistant principal will allow me to give back to the community that has taught me to be compassionate, an advocate for students as well as my peers and to strive for change so our students become capable, responsible citizens.”
Herbst started working for Newark CSD as an assistant principal at NHS in 2004, and later assumed the additional duties of part-time district director of health, physical education and athletics. He moved to NMS as an assistant principal in 2012-13, and continued with his part-time duties as district director until Chris Corey was hired in 2015.
In 1991-99, Herbst was a PE teacher at the primary level in Canandaigua City School District before moving through middle school to the high school level. He was an assistant principal at Canandaigua Academy in 1999-2002 before becoming the K-12 director of health, PE and athletics at East Irondequoit Central School District in 2002, a position he held for two years.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in education, sports and leisure studies at St. Lawrence University, as well as his master’s degree in education and educational administrative certification from The College at Brockport.
“I am extraordinarily excited about returning to my roots in primary education,” Herbst said. “I have grown immensely during my time at the middle school. Additionally, my passion for our special needs population and behavioral interventions have intensified. I have also deepened my understanding of instructional strategies and the assessment feedback loop.
“It will certainly be difficult to leave my friends, colleagues and the families that we serve in the middle school, but I am sure this is the right time for me to support our school district with our emerging needs at the primary level.”
Ginter, who worked as a school counselor at NHS for eight years before starting his administrative internship at NMS, earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in school counseling at University at Buffalo. His internship at NMS in 2017-18 meets the internship requirement of the administrative degree he is working toward at University of Rochester.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to work at the middle school,’’ Ginter said. “I am so grateful to be able to continue to work with my Newark family. I am also excited about the work in front of us to insure the success of all students.”