Ash OK’d as Educational Service Center superintendent

STEUUBENVILLE – George Ash, superintendent of the Harrison Hills City School district will step down from his job on July 31 to become superintendent of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

Ash was approved Tuesday by the ESC Governing Board to replace Superintendent Joy Howell, who announced her retirement effective July 31.

“This was a tough decision. But during the Christmas holidays I discussed retirement with my husband and we agreed the time was right. I make this move with mixed emotions and I believe the change will be good for the organization. I feel I am leaving the ESC in good hands,” Howell said at the board meeting.

Howell said the school board was seeking a leader with successful superintendent experience as well as a philosophy and vision aligned with that of the ESC.

“The board was also interested in a candidate with experience in working with the Virtual Learning Academy and the Health Benefits Program,” remarked Howell.

Ash said the Harrison Hills City School board was aware of his decision to accept the ESC position. “I am going to focus on the Harrison Hills school district until Aug. 1. I will also be working to learn as much as I can from Mrs. Howell and plan to make a smooth transition here at the ESC and also (with) the Harrison Hills district,” Ash noted.

Ash began his professional career at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School before he became a teacher at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center and then a social studies teacher in the Edison Local School District.

“I was a principal at Harrison Hills High School before I was named assistant superintendent in the Edison Local School District and then assistant superintendent at Harrison Hills. I am now in my third year as superintendent in the Harrison Hills district,” explained Ash.

Howell said the Harrison Hills schools’ test scores have improved annually under Ash’s leadership.

“From his first day on the job, Dr. Ash shared with teachers his vision for increased levels of student achievement and for excellent ratings on the district’s local report card. He communicated and modeled the vision every time he was in their presence. Instead of lapsing into a business-as-usual managerial mode, Ash embraced the challenges of transformation leadership, received approval and cooperation from his union leadership, recruited a core team of teachers and embarked on a professional development journey to build teacher leadership capacity, change teacher practice and increase student learning,” said Howell.

“(He) possesses the personal qualities requisite for leading and working with others. He is sincere, conscientious, enthusiastic and energetic in whatever he does. He is a man of integrity and provides a strong, positive role model. His ethical, moral, professional and personal qualities and work habits are attributes all communities seek in their leaders,” added Howell.

Howell started her education career in the Edison Local School District serving as a high school English teacher, dean of girls, assistant principal and high school principal. She also served as director of curriculum for the Edison school district.

“As I reflect on the past 49 years, I realize how blessed I have been to have met and worked with so many remarkably wonderful people. God has blessed my life as I have been afforded opportunities greatly exceeding any personal and professional expectations I had as a beginning teacher. Serving the ESC for the past 23 years and all stakeholders of the ESC has been both an honor and a privilege,” Howell stated.

Howell was part of the ESC team that introduced educators to data-driven, job-embedded, collaborative professional development where teachers work in teams focusing on curriculum, instruction and assessment.

“As superintendent I have been very pleased the school districts have continued to embrace this model which has been perpetuated and improved through the current ESC leadership team,” said Howell. “I look forward to watching the ESC grow and prosper under Dr. Ash’s leadership,” added Howell.