WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The Westerville City School District’s (WCSD) new superintendent is getting ready to finish his first official week on the job.
Dr. Joe Clark was formally hired over the summer, but he officially started the job on Sunday. He previously worked in the Nordonia Hills City School District in northeast Ohio for 14 years, 12 as superintendent.
“I don’t know that I could have taken it any further. And so I was ready for a new challenge,” Clark said. “And coming down here knowing how strong Westerville is in so many areas but also having the humility to realize we still have places we can grow.”
He said one of the places he’d like to see Westerville grow is graduation rates. WCSD’s four year graduation rate is 92.5%, according to the state report card.
“We do really well academically but not as well as we can do, particularly graduation rate is something I think we can do better on and that’s something we’ll be addressing” Clark said.
Clark’s former district has about 3,500 students. Westerville has about 15,000. He described the difference in district size as a “big leap.”
“Leadership is scalable. If I’m leading 10 people or if I’m leading 20,000 people, it’s still about relationships, it’s about trust, it’s about vulnerability, it’s about communication. it doesn’t matter how many people you’re leading,” Clark said.
In his first four and a half months leading the WCSD, Clark plans to have meetings with 150 different community groups.
“With what I’m calling three questions meetings. I’m going to go out and I’m going to ask three questions to thousands of people. What do you like about the Westerville schools, how can we improve, and what do you expect out of your new superintendent,” Clark said. “My goal before I get into next summer is for the district to have a new strategic plan that sets the vision for where we’re going the next couple years.”
“It’s also a great way to build relationships with the community members because as you use social media, they see that you’re not just a suit behind a desk,” Clark said.