YOUNGSTOWN — The new school year will bring several administrative changes as the Youngstown City School District strives to trim costs and improve efficiencies.
“We’re making some changes to better meet the needs of our scholars and the school district,” CEO Justin Jennings said in a news release.
The district is ending the contracts with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center through which some employees worked in the district. Some of those employees will become district employees.
Additional savings will be realized as Jennings isn’t filling positions of some administrators who are resigning this month. Also, the contracts for the principals of the district’s pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade schools are being reduced from 12 to 11 months.
The changes amount to savings of more than $1.4 million, according to the release.
Choffin Career and Technical Center’s leadership will be reduced from three principals to one.
Michael Saville, who has been one of the school’s three principals for the past three years, will be the school’s only principal next year. All three of the principals had been employees of the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.
Beginning July 1, Saville will be a YCSD employee.
“We plan to maintain relationships with both the Mahoning County ESC and MCCTC in other ventures,” Jennings said. “The partnerships for Choffin and with the ESC for some administrative employees served the district well for the last few years. We’ve now reached a point at YCSD where we believe we can meet our needs and the needs of our scholars in-house.”
Maurice Taylor, who also has been a Choffin principal for the past three years, will be the principal at East High School next year. Jeremy Batchelor, who has been East’s principal for two years, will move into Central Office as special assistant to Jennings.
“I am extremely honored and excited to join the East High School Golden Bear family,” Taylor said. “I am looking forward to working with like-minded colleagues to advance the mission of the district and continue building to establish the school as a beacon in the community. The goal is to work with families, staff, community partners and, more importantly, the scholars to make East High School one of the top high schools in the Mahoning Valley.”
At Choffin, Taylor worked to advance academic initiatives, improve curriculum, school climate and parent/guardian relationships. He worked with district leadership, support staff, team leaders and teachers to address the academic, social and career aspiration needs of the district’s students. During his tenure at Choffin, the school's overall grade went from failing to earning a "B" on the most recent state report card.
Before his time at Choffin, Taylor served as an instructional supervisor and intervention specialist with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.
Bridget Lambright, who joined Choffin as a principal for the 2019-20 school year, will serve next year as the principal at Rayen Early College Middle School. Deborah DiFrancesco, REC’s principal for the past several years, will move to Central Office.
Lambright has been in education for 23 years.
“I was a college dropout before I was a college graduate, and that crushing defeat led to some of the hardest moments in my life,” Lambright said. “Since my first day in education, I have promised myself that every scholar who crosses my path will get the skills to pay the bills. Youngstown's scholars have so much potential for greatness, and I feel honored to be able to play a role in preparing them."
Lambright served in the U.S. Army and earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a teaching certificate and a master’s degree in education administration from Cleveland State University in 1998.
Her teaching and leadership experiences have been in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District. She also has served on ODE committees and given presentations around the nation.
Lambright received The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher award.
"I will work with educators, families and partners to ensure that every scholar is prepared to pursue his or her 'E' — education, employment, enlistment or entrepreneurship — before moving on to high school," Lambright said.
Tascin Brooks, food service coordinator since 2016, will become chief of food services, effective July 1. Susan Paris, who has filled that role for many years, is retiring June 30.
“Sue has done a tremendous job as food service chief, and her whole department has risen to the challenge during the coronavirus pandemic these last few months,” Jennings said. “Tascin has been an integral part of all of that, and I’m confident that food service will continue to flourish under her leadership.”
“I am excited about being promoted to chief of food services for the Youngstown City School District,” Brooks said. “I look forward to continuing the excellent and important nutritional work that has been put in place by Susan Paris, Fran Buzzacco and all of the food service team. School nutrition is such an essential need today as it has taken on so many different roles as the availability of breakfast, lunch, supper and now emergency feeding sites have evolved over the last few years for our scholars.”
Before joining YCSD, Brooks worked as food service director in the Austintown Local School District for six years. She also works as an adjunct faculty member for Youngstown State University in the Food and Nutrition Department.
“As I embrace the future, I want to continue to move the department in a positive direction in wellness, good nutrition and solid community partnerships to better the lives of our scholars,” Brooks said.
Jason Yemma, who has served as an instructional framework specialist for three years, becomes Chaney’s new assistant principal beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Before becoming an instructional coach, Yemma worked as a teacher at Chaney.
“I am excited to rejoin the excellent community of leaders, educators and scholars at Chaney as the new assistant principal,” Yemma said. “I am proud to continue my career serving the community where I live. As an educator coming back to Chaney, I will promote a positive culture and further strengthen professional relationships with staff, scholars, families and other stakeholders. As a new leader in the school, I will continue to build the environment of high academic achievement that has already been established.”
Yemma earned his bachelor’s degree in middle childhood education from Youngstown State University after earning a bachelor’s in business administration from YSU and working as a retail/restaurant manager. He’ll graduate in August with a Master’s of Education in educational leadership from the American College of Education.
The ninth-grade academies at East and Chaney are being eliminated. Roshay Huff, who served as principal of East’s ninth-grade academy, will be principal at Kirkmere Elementary School beginning next year.
Eboni Williams, Chaney’s ninth-grade principal, will be co-principal at William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School. She will oversee sixth- through eighth-grades, while Aaron Bouie will be over the school’s lower grades.