Independence Local Schools News Article

Independence Board of Education Hires James Vanek as Principal of Independence Middle School

Jamie Vanek, IMS Principal

Independence Board of Education hired James (Jamie) Vanek as the next principal of Independence Middle School.  Vanek replaces Kevin Jakub who accepted the position of principal of Buckeye High School in Medina.

Vanek comes to Independence from Learwood Middle School in Avon Lake where he served as assistant principal since 2015.  While at Learwood, he performed various duties such as serving as one of the representatives for Avon Lake City School District curriculum council, district supplemental committee, and attendance council.  He created, implemented and presented a safety management plan for all grade levels, and was part of a team that created current research-based schedules for seventh and eighth-grade students.  In addition, he managed various in-service opportunities for teachers, organized a district-wide grant writing program that earned more than $25,000 in grants, and spearheaded several parent programs related to anti-bullying and social media.  Vanek also created a “Streets to Cleats” program promoting positive relationships between local police and students.

“Vanek’s management, organization, interpersonal, and research and planning skills are outstanding and one of the many reasons we are delighted to welcome him to the Independence Local Schools’ team,” said Superintendent Ben Hegedish, Independence Local Schools. “Jamie is a leader.  He leads with compassion, energy, and integrity.  I believe he will be a great fit for our middle school and our community.”

Prior to Learwood, Vanek was employed at Parma City Schools.  He was the health and physical education teacher, head football coach, health and physical education department chair, and district facilitator for the health and physical education programs.

Vanek received his Superintendent Certification in 2018 from Ursuline College, his Master of Education degree in Administration in 2015 from Ursuline College, his Master of Arts degree in Health and Education Promotion in 2009 from Kent State University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from Ohio Wesleyan University.

“I am really excited to hit the ground running,” said Vanek. “Everyone has been so welcoming throughout this entire process making it feel more and more like home each day. Thank you again to the committee, Mr. Hegedish, and the Board of Education for this amazing opportunity.”

Vanek resides in North Royalton with his wife and two daughters.

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