CANTON REPOSITORY | Apr 11, 2019 @ 9:32 PM | By Kelli Weir
CANTON After 97 days of searching, the Canton City school board has found its new leader.
The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to hire Jeffrey Graham as its next superintendent. The hire comes nine days after Graham was declared the sole finalist for the position because Alliance City Schools Superintendent Jeffery Talbert withdrew his name from consideration.
Graham, regional superintendent of Cleveland Metropolitan School District since August 2018, is expected to start in his new role in June. His salary is still being negotiated.
Each school board member offered Graham his full support.
“You have proven with your years of experience that you are up for the job,” board member Richard Milligan said.
Board Vice President Eric Resnick said he talked to a several of Graham’s former colleagues who offered glowing comments about Graham’s character and leadership.
“Tonight begins a new and exciting era for the Canton City School District,” Resnick said.
Graham, who has spent 19 years in leadership positions over his 26-year career in education, will take over Stark County’s largest school district at a critical time.
Canton City Schools, with its 8,650 students and 2,240 employees, could face a state takeover in two years if student scores on state tests don’t improve or the state law isn’t changed.
Graham, who has spent the past eight years in urban school settings such as Cleveland, Lorain and Parma city school districts, believes Canton is poised to meet the challenges ahead.
“There’s a unified feeling, a resilience and a hunger to work together to address what’s going on and I want to be a part of it,” said Graham, 52. “I’m not old yet. I have a lot of energy and I want to spend it here.”
Graham, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, already is searching for a place to stay in the district. His family includes wife, Erin, and five children Alex, 26, Paige, 24, Taryn, 14, Cooper, 11, and Calvin, 8.
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On Twitter: @kweirREP