Zucal hired to lead Conotton Valley schools

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John Zucal

By Jacquie Humphrey

CCM Correspondent

The Conotton Valley Board of Education hired John R. Zucal as the district’s next superintendent during a special meeting May 2.

Zucal replaces Todd Herman who resigned during the April meeting to accept the superintendent’s position with Noble Local Schools. 

Zucal, who was hired as Conotton Valley elementary principal at the beginning of the current school year, brings over 38 years of experience as an educator, 33 of which have been as an administrator. 

“I am honored and humbled to be named the next superintendent of the Conotton Valley Schools. My thanks are extended to our board of education members for placing their faith and trust in me. Our school district is a very special place. The genuine care and concern for our students is a hallmark of this district. I believe strongly in the power of relationships and look forward to working with our teachers, staff, parents, and community to continue the great growth we have seen in all facets of school life.”

Throughout his educational career, Zucal served as the principal at Immaculate Conception School in Dennison and Central Elementary in New Philadelphia while also holding teaching positions in Marietta and Lakewood. He brings extensive experience to the district with a background in Continuous School Improvement as well as serving as a New Philadelphia city councilman, where he chaired both the Salary Committee and Airport Commission, served on the Finance and Public Works and Economic Development Committees, and was named to the local health board.

Zucal and his wife Wendy, director of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, reside in New Philadelphia. They are the parents of three adult children, Caitlin, Ethan, and Madeleine, and are expecting their first grandchild in June.

When asked about his goals for the district, Zucal offered this assessment, “Working alongside our amazing administrative team, we are fully committed to ensuring our teachers are provided the resources they need so our students are able to realize the fullness of their human potential. When our young adults leave us and further their life’s journey, we hope they can reflect on their education and say that we cared greatly about them as people and afforded them every opportunity to allow their dreams to come true.”

During the May 2 special meeting, the board hired Zucal as interim superintendent from April 27 through July 31 at the rate of $200 per day. He was also then hired as superintendent on a five-year contract beginning Aug. 1 at the rate of $130,000 per year. 

The board voted to relieve Herman of his duties May 9, but his pay will continue through June 9 to correspond with his formal resignation date.

“I feel Herman has laid a solid foundation for success,” Zucal said during the meeting. “That begins said, I am confident our Rockets will soar to even new heights.”

Herman served as Conotton Valley high school principal three years before filling the role of superintendent in 2015. 

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