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New CCHS principal’s job offer is withdrawn

STEUBENVILLE — One month after naming a new principal for Catholic Central High School and Bishop John King Mussio Junior High School, the job offer has been withdrawn by officials with the Diocese of Steubenville.

In a letter to parents, the pastoral administrators, in collaboration with the diocesan office, said the change of heart was “based upon the needs and priorities” for the schools, but did not elaborate.

An individual close to the situation said when the diocesan panel “re-evaluated the situation, the needs and priorities didn’t match and they decided to go another direction. Nothing really happened.”

“They brought him in for a couple different visits, they talked to him,” he said. “(His) needs needs and priorities did not line up to what we were looking for.”

On April 26, the diocese had announced Dayton native Joshua Ater, 45, would be the next principal, succeeding Thomas J. Costello, who said in February that he was leaving his position as principal of both schools at the end of the school year. Ater, the former president and CEO of Lehman Catholic High School in Sydney, in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, was to start the new job July 1.

Ater’s expertise was in marketing and fundraising: In announcing his hiring, school officials had said he was responsible for more than doubling fundraising efforts between the annual fund and auction events during his three years at the school as well as leading a new strategic plan.

“Rather than conduct a new search at this late stage, Jude Lucas was appointed interim principal on Monday for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Dino Orsatti, spokesman for the diocese,

He said a comprehensive search for a new principal will begin in January, the start of the new year.

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