Buckeye Local’s Sudvary named first principal of the year

AWARDED — Buckeye Local High School Principal Coy Sudvary, center, was named principal of the year during a ceremony at Thursday’s administrator’s breakfast of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Sudvary was chosen after a nomination and review process that took several months. With him are Ron Sismondo, left, ESC supervisor of professional and curriculum development, and ESC Governing Board President Larry George. -- Paul Giannamore

WINTERSVILLE — Buckeye Local High School Principal Coy Sudvary was named the first principal of the year selected by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center during the ESC’s annual administrators breakfast Thursday.

Sudvary was presented a plaque during the breakfast at St. Florian Hall, which was attended by superintendents and administrators from throughout the ESC’s school service area. The honor includes a $700 award to the school’s principal’s fund.

The breakfast is the informal annual kickoff to the school year for the area school districts.

“As educators, we tell time in nine-week increments,” said Chuck Kokiko, Jefferson County ESC superintendent.

Superintendents from area districts that are served by the ESC, as well as representatives of Eastern Gateway Community College and the Franciscan University of Steubenville provided updates.

Maureen Taggart, who completed her first year as Toronto superintendent, said a school-based health center debuting for the 2018-19 year will be the first of its kind east of Columbus and south of Cleveland for Ohio. She said site work is under way for the elementary school addition to the Toronto Junior-Senior High School complex, with a groundbreaking set for Oct. 5.

Dana Snider, Harrison Hills superintendent, said she comes close to tears thinking about the construction of a new school complex in her district that is being made possible by the influx of oil and gas capital. She recounted how the district had to close three buildings and lay off teachers not long ago.

She said the $62 million school complex under construction is bringing back students who left the district via open enrollment and made the most recent round of teacher negotiations simple to conclude, with 4 percent raises being given for the next three years.

“I believe we’re blessed. I believe all of you are blessed. It will come to you. It moves in cycles,” she said of the energy capital.

Also talking about a $63 million building project was Superintendent T.C. Chappelear of the Indian Creek Local School District. Voters approved a levy in May that will enable the district to tear down the Buchanan and Indian Creek High School buildings and build a new building on that campus, as well as tear down the building on Bantam Ridge where the district offices are and build a new elementary school there, as well as undertake $10 million in renovations at Hills at Mingo Junction.

The administrators also got to meet the new principal of the School of Bright Promise, Jane Bodo, as well as the new superintendent of Southern Local Schools, Tom Cunningham.

Larry George, ESC governing board president and president of the Jefferson County JVS board, said the vocational school’s small animal program has become the school’s largest.

William Gorman, chief operating officer of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said the university has undertaken a strategic planning process that will take about eight months. He said the goals are for the university to increase overall enrollment, increase outreach efforts and broaden relationships with groups and organizations in the Ohio Valley. Gorman said the university will welcome the largest incoming freshman class for the fall semester and is completing the conversion of the former Holiday Inn hotel to be a residence hall, using area contractors for all the work.

Franciscan Education Department Chair Mary Kathryn McVey asked administrators who came through the university’s programs to stand, as well as those who have mentored Franciscan students. Nearly half the 125 or so in attendance stood.

Jimmie Bruce, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, said the new $2 million student success center that will debut with the first fall semester will be called the Gator Center, after the school’s mascot. EGCC, too, will see its largest fall enrollment. He noted it’s good for the area to have two institutions of higher learning enjoying record freshman classes during a time when many schools are seeing declines. He said EGCC will have more than 18,000 students by the start of its second fall semester, in October. Online courses are continuing to grow “astronomically,” he said.

The school will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall, having started as the Jefferson County Technical Institute in 1968. He said a major part of the celebration will be Sept. 25, with Gatorfest, for high school students to learn more about EGCC, and an afternoon public celebration.

The Gator Center makes a new main entrance for the school building in a structure that had been the school’s computer center in the days when big mainframe computers were needed. The center will house admissions, a Barnes and Noble college bookstore, financial aid, tutoring and more.

He thanked the school administrators for letting students and parents in the area know about EGCC’s opportunities, including Credit Plus for high school students, in-county tuition discounts, Horizon Grants, and foundation scholarships.

Bruce said in addition to completing its first year in Division III junior college baseball, a women’s softball coach has been hired and the Gators will field a team next season.