Penczarski Named as Next Superintendent of Chagrin Falls Schools


Shortly after the announcement that current Chagrin Falls School District superintendent Dr. Robert Hunt would depart for the Barrington 220 School District, the search for a qualified individual to fill his spot began.
With help from K-12 Business Consulting, the school board began their search. After interviews, and deliberation, the pool was narrowed down to three candidates.
Ms. Aireane Curtis, the superintendent of Windham Exempted Village Schools, and Ms. Maura Horgan, the director of curriculum and staff development for Newark City Schools, were both qualified candidates. However, Dr. Lisa Penczarski’s qualifications as superintendent of Kenton City Schools set her apart.
“I think that her experience speaks for itself,” said Vice Principal Ms. Amanda Rassi. “Having currently held a position as a superintendent for the last 11 years it really gave her an advantage over other candidates because she could speak to the work that she has been doing already.”
With a unanimous 5-0 vote from the school board on Wednesday April 14, Penczarski was officially named the next superintendent. She is scheduled to take over the position on July 1, an extra month before her contract is set to take effect on August 1.
“In my opinion it’s great that she’s willing to take over so soon,” said senior Julius Lelonis. “With Dr. Hunt leaving on July 1 it wouldn’t be good to have a full month with no superintendent so I’m glad she decided to take an early start.”
Her early start isn’t the only thing getting students excited. Some students are looking forward to a bit of change as well.
“Even though so much has changed over the last year I don’t think this will set it over the edge,” said junior Andrew Zimcosky. “I’m looking forward to some excitement and hopefully things will continue to go smoothly.”
However, this highly anticipated transformation might not be coming any time soon.
“I don’t see much changing within the first year,” said Rassi. “[Dr. Penczarski] seems to want to get an understanding of who we are and what we do before making any sweeping changes.”
This slow and steady attitude might be for the best, as some students oppose a widespread revamp.
“I think it’s a good idea to take things slow right now,” said Lelonis. “Things have gotten hectic and school has adjusted dramatically throughout the pandemic so staying grounded and not going over the top could be exactly what the district needs.”
Regardless of changes to come, with the selection of a female superintendent the Chagrin Falls School District now has more female leadership than ever.
“I appreciate that it gives young women in the district an opportunity to see other women in positions of power and positions of authority,” said Rassi. “While gender never played a role in who was hired, it has definitely helped us all work well together because we have all shared similar experiences in our growth as leaders.”