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Independence Local Schools Welcomes New Staff
As the 2017-18 school year draws near, Independence Local Schools welcomes several new employees, as well as announces new roles for existing staff.

Roger Howard, director of curriculum and instruction, has left the district to become a consultant for Educational Service Center (ESC) of Cuyahoga County. “I cannot thank Roger enough for the wise and steady leadership he has provided our district,” said Superintendent Ben Hegedish, Independence Local Schools. “While his new position is an excellent opportunity for him and perfect for his strengths, he will be missed. We are fortunate to have Roger in our own backyard with his new role at the ESC though as he will be working with our administrative team regularly throughout the year as a consultant.”

Director of Technology Mike Pennington will keep his lead role in technology integration and will also be taking on many of Roger Howard’s duties with curriculum and instruction. Pennington’s official title will reflect these responsibilities as the district’s Director of Curriculum and Technology Integration. “Mike has consistently demonstrated the collaborative leadership and technical skills to continue with our strong foundation of academic excellence while helping us reach for innovative ways to engage students in our ever-changing world,” said Hegedish. “Mike has worked closely with Roger and will continue to do so as we transition as a district.”

To fill the administrative opening left by Howard’s departure, the Independence Local Schools has hired Tom Dreiling as Assistant Superintendent and he will oversee the business and operations of our district. Dreiling joins the district from the North Olmsted City Schools, where he has served for the past eight years as middle school principal. Dreiling has extensive background and a successful track record in facilities planning, instructional programming, and district operations. He received his Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education and Teaching from Ohio Northern University and his Masters of Educational Administration from the University of Akron. In addition to working for North Olmsted City Schools, he was a principal at Woodford Elementary in Barberton, an assistant principal, and began his career as a 3rd and 6th grade teacher.

“Tom will play an integral role with our facilities and tangible components of the Independence Local Schools. Between myself, Mike, Tom, and Roger serving as a curriculum leaders to our district, along with our strong team of principals, we look forward to continuing the excellence in academic achievement and growth of all our students.”

Jim Foster, who has worked in the maintenance department for the district for two years, has been named Assistant Service Manager for the district. “Jim has proven to be a great asset to our district and I am excited about his new role as he continues to demonstrate leadership and initiative with our buildings and grounds,” said Hegedish.

In addition to these administrative changes, the district has hired a number of new staff members who will be formally introduced at our district's convocation on August 22. They include Molly Nupp (Speech Language Pathologist); Erica Strand (Science Teacher, Independence Middle School); Rio Vincz (Enriched Reading, Independence Middle School); Karen Soltis (Preschool Specialist, Independence Primary School); Martin Mrugacz (Second Grade Teacher, Independence Primary School); and Andrea Ljubi (Guidance Secretary, Independence High School).

Assignment changes include: Brooke Gradert (Guidance Counselor, Independence Primary School); Geri Peters (Sixth Grade Math/English Language Arts Teacher, Independence Middle School); and Jennifer Lewis (Science Teacher, Independence Middle School and Independence High School).
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Education Administration Center  |  7733 Stone Road  |  Independence, OH 44131
P: (216) 642-5850  |  F: (216) 642-3482 | Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM