JOHNSTOWN — In his 11 years as Licking Heights superintendent, Dr. Philip Wagner has dealt with one of Ohio’s fastest-growing student populations.
Now, he’s moving about 15 minutes north to another expanding district, one that, like Heights, will be greatly impacted by Intel’s $20 billion computer chip operation.
Monday night, the Johnstown Board of Education approved Wagner as its new superintendent. He replaces Dale Dickson, who retired after eight years, the district’s longest-serving superintendent.
“Given the incredible growth that is imminent for Johnstown, I believe now is the time to bring in a new superintendent so that he/she may have a year or two to learn about Johnstown, its culture, the incredible students, staff, and supportive community we have here before the exponential growth begins,” Dickson said upon his retirement.
“I have long believed that education is a partnership among the educators, families and the community and look forward to joining the Johnstown-Monroe School District and helping to continue its outstanding educational programs,” Wagner said. “With Intel and numerous other commercial developments in support of its supply chain needs, the future growth of the community will be profound, bringing with it challenges, as well as tremendous opportunities for the school district and its families.”
The Johnstown school board is excited to have Dr. Wagner on board.
“He is a proven leader that has demonstrated academic success and fiscal responsibility, while also experiencing significant growth,” board president Tim Swauger said. “Phil will provide students and staff with the necessary tools to be successful in the classroom, and develop opportunities for students upon graduation from Johnstown-Monroe Schools.”
The district feels Dr. Wagner is extremely qualified to lead Johnstown into the future with the Intel development.
“Phil has developed partnerships and relationships with multiple billion dollar corporations in his current position and has demonstrated the ability to provide educational and occupational opportunities for students as a result of these partnerships,” Swauger said. “This skill set will be greatly beneficial to the Johnstown community as the Intel development moves forward.”
Wagner came to Licking Heights from Beachwood City Schools in Northeastern Ohio, where he held various administrative positions, including his last appointment as that district’s assistant superintendent. He also served as Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the Hudson City School District and was a school psychologist for the Solon City and the Cleveland City school districts earlier in his career.
He believes he is leaving Heights in a good situation.
“It is very difficult to leave, but Heights has a strong foundation,” he said. “It has been my absolute privilege and honor to serve the Heights community and school district, and I will always treasure this community and relationships that have been developed the past 11 years. I will be here July, so preparations for the transition have already begun and I will continue to focus on doing the best we can for Heights.
“We thank Dr. Wagner for his 11 years of service and his guidance as the district has grown in size and diversity,” Heights board president Paul Johnson said. Wagner will leave us having just passed a bond issue that will provide the district with a new elementary stadium and athletic facility, a fourth school, a new bus facility and a high school expansion that will help us meet our district’s robust enrollment growth. Licking Heights is well-positioned for the future.”
On May 5, the Heights board of education held a special meeting, at which it contracted with “Finding Leaders” to conduct a national search for the district’s new superintendent. “That search process is already underway, with a target date of August to have our next superintendent in place,” Johnson said.
Kent State University awarded Dr. Wagner his Ph.D. in 2006 where he majored in educational leadership, minored in school psychology/special education, and specialized in education law. He holds current education licenses as Superintendent, Elementary Principal, Pupil Personnel Administration, and School Psychologist.
He is a recipient of the Hall of Fame Alumni Leadership Award from Kent State University, as well as, the William L. Hunter Distinguished Professional Award from the Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators for his work with the Ohio Minority Recruitment Consortium. Additionally, Dr. Wagner is a past recipient of the Bowman Fellow Award in Educational Administration from Kent State University and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Hudson City School District.
Dr. Wagner is a member of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) and numerous subcommittees (Executive Committee, Region 8; Equity and Diversity; Legislative; and School Funding) and the Ohio Department of Education State Superintendent’s Advisory; Value Added Advisory; and Diversifying the Education Advisory Council. Dr. Wagner also is a member of Licking Memorial Hospital Board and the WOSU Advisory Council, as well as, area civic groups Pataskala Rotary, Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce, and New Albany Chamber of Commerce.