Academic Distress Commission confident about Youngstown Schools’ new CEO

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the Youngstown City Schools go through a transition in leadership, the man chosen to be the district’s new CEO said he’s learned a lot during his tenure for a school system in Michigan.

Dr. John Richard, chairman of the state Academic Distress Commission overseeing Youngstown Schools, admits it’s something of an “interesting spot.”

“I think the decision of the commission is that we are as coherent as possible moving forward,” he said.

Although Chief-Executive-In-Waiting Justin Jennings doesn’t take over for another couple of months, current CEO Krish Mohip is now away on family medical leave.

While the district’s chief academic officer will be in charge for the time being, commission members will take a more active role as well.

“We’re not interested in micromanaging but we are interested in being responsive to the community, to the staff,” Richard said.

Jennings, who is still working as superintendent in Muskegon, Michigan, realizes he’s having to balance two positions.

“With what happened, it kind of puts a monkey wrench into the timing. It looks like we may need to move it up a bit,” he said.

At one point, Jennings’ elected school board in Muskegon rated him as “minimally effective.” He said soon after being hired there, he made personnel decisions that didn’t sit well with some on the board.

“When you come into a turnaround situation, you’re not going to always be the most-liked person and sometimes you just have to grin and bear, and keep moving,” Jennings said.

While Jennings called his time in Muskegon a learning experience, the chair of the commission believes members made the right decision.

“He was just offered a multi-year contract recently and so I think that kind of speaks for itself,” Richard said.

Jennings is expected to start his new job officially on August 1.

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