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Alexander Local School Board selects new elementary school principal

The Alexander Local School Board chose an elementary school principal to fill a veteran’s shoes after the current superintendent retires at the end of the year.

The school board announced Wednesday that Jeff Cullum will become superintendent beginning Jan. 1, 2012, said Fred Davis, president of the school board. Cullum will replace Bob Bray, who is retiring after holding the position for more than 15 years, said Davis.

Cullum has nine years of teaching experience and another nine as an administrator in Vinton County Local School District. He has been the principal of the Alexander Elementary School for the past 10 years before being chosen to become superintendent, said Cullum.

Taking the helm from Bray will be a challenge because of his success in the past, said Cullum. Bray helped construct a new school building that houses the districts kindergarten to 12th grades and he will leave the district with an “excellent” rating from the Ohio Department of Education, said Cullum.

“(Bray) was instrumental in raising the standard of Alexander,” Davis said. “He did everything with the students in mind.”

Bray could not be reached for comment.

Cullum was the only person in the district who expressed interest in the position and the school board did not look outside Alexander for a replacement, Davis said.

“We have always valued continuity in the district,” said Davis. “We have been able to observe (Cullum) for years and we knew he was a good fit.”

After taking office, Cullum said he plans to evaluate the district’s strengths and weaknesses and make any necessary changes, although he said he does not anticipate any significant changes.

Alexander’s strength comes from its faculty and staff, who will be instrumental to continuing the district’s strong ratings and performance, said Cullum.

“Schools are people. That’s what makes us great,” Cullum said. “From the top down, the people are great.”

With the tough economic times and decreasing budgets, Cullum said managing the financial constraints of the district will be one of the most difficult aspects of the job.

The school board is not worried, said Davis, adding that Cullum will bring his own vision to the position.

“We are losing a great superintendent,” Davis added. “But we have a great replacement.”

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