The Girard Board of Education recently hired David Cappuzzello, 45, as the new superintendent of Girard School District.
Former superintendent Joe Jeswald retired effective July 31. Jeswald had been Girard's superintendent since 2004, when he assumed the job after a period of turmoil in the district.
During his tenure, Girard passed a bond issue to build a new junior and senior high school and renovated and reconstructed the athletic facilities; begun a STEM program in both the junior and senior high schools and a high-school to college dual credit college program with Youngstown State University.
According to board member Diane Alejars, Cappuzzello will be paid $93,000 a year, which is approximately $1,000 less than Jeswald was paid.
Cappuzzello was selected from among five finalists out of a pool of 37 applicants.
"I knew when I first looked into Girard, it was the place to be,'' Cappuzzello said. "The faculty and staff know how to reach kids and develop kids. They have the right ingredients and it's good to be a part of that. I just have to try to fill Joe's shoes."
Cappuzzello most recently served as high school principal, middle school principal, district test coordinator and gifted students coordinator for Columbiana Exempted Village School District. Prior to that, he served as middle school principal for Ravenna Southeast Local School District. He also taught and coached at Lakeview High School from 1989-1999.
Board president Richard Rees said Cappuzzello interviewed well and the board was impressed with his knowledge of the school district and understanding.
Cappuzzello is first cousin to Girard schools' athletic director, Joe Cappuzzello, a fact that both Rees and Joe Cappuzzello say had no bearing on the board's decision.
''I never talked with David or any member of the board of trustees,'' Joe Cappuzzello said. "David has a pretty good record that speaks for itself.''
Joe Cappuzzello is retiring next year because of pension considerations and said that retirements are an issue his cousin will have to deal with in the next few years:
''The biggest challenge for David over the next three to five years is that our system is going to see a lot of turnover, and he's going to have to make sure he's hiring the right people.''
A graduate of Chaney High School, the new superintendent holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Akron. He currently lives in Columbiana with his wife, Susan, and their four children.