YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Joe Meranto sat Tuesday afternoon outside his north side Youngstown home and at age 71, after 50 years in education, said it was time to retire.
“I always used to think about the great running back Jim Brown who said it’s better to get out one year too soon than one year too late,” Meranto said.
Meranto started teaching in 1971 at St. Anthony School on Brier Hill, later becoming the school’s first lay principal.
After 32 years with Catholic schools, he spent 14 years as director of Youngstown’s Choffin Career and Technical Center.
“I still believe career tech is so important. If I had my way, every student would take career education for a couple years in high school,” he said.
Meranto spent his last four years as superintendent of Youngstown City Schools, which are run by a CEO.
“I took it feeling that I could act as a bridge between the elected board and the CEO and that’s what I’ve tried to do the last four years,” Meranto said.
Meranto said Youngstown City Schools don’t have a governance problem — the state takeover is not the issue. Rather, it’s community and social problems that carry over into the schools.
“You know, if kids are coming to school hungry and there’s a trauma in their life, we need to address those things and then the academics will follow,” Meranto said.
“I could cry when I think about the hard-working teachers and administrators and support staff in this district that care so much about kids, and go over and above and all we get rated on is test score. It’s unfair,” he added.
Meranto’s last day is June 30.
When talking with Meranto, his passion for education is evident. He promises to stay involved somehow, but still, it’s time to go.
“I want to say like Sinatra. Regrets, I’ve got a few, but then again too few to mention. I wouldn’t do anything different,” he said.
Meranto is pleased with the job CEO Justin Jennings is doing and thinks Youngstown City Schools are headed in the right direction.
A spokesperson for the school district said she didn’t know if the decision had yet been made on whether to fill the position of superintendent.