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Martin Linder's focus: 'Improve the outcome for our kids'

Martin Linder had lunch with Prospect Elementary School students during his first week as principal.

   Mansfield City Schools’ newly appointed Director of School Improvement has a clear and direct strategy for helping to move the district forward academically.

   “My fulltime job is to improve the outcome for our kids. It is a great responsibility,” said Martin Linder, who served as principal of Prospect Elementary School last year.

   “I believe the only way to improve schools is to support teachers in their classrooms and principals in their buildings.”

   Linder plans to meet one-on-one with every teacher in the district by the end of the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.

   “What additional support do they need to focus on our improvement? That’s what I want to discuss,” he said.

   Linder, 36, came to Prospect last summer after serving for three years as a member of the Ohio Department of Education’s state support teams in Elyria and Cuyahoga Falls. Specifically, he was a consultant for the Ohio Improvement Process.

   A native of Norwalk, he taught kindergarten and second grade at Cloverleaf Local Schools in Lodi before serving three years as an elementary principal in New London. He has a degree in childhood education from the University of Dayton and a master’s in education administration from Ashland University.

   “I am excited and honored to do this work,” said Linder, who divided his time between Prospect and school improvement work since January. The board of education officially appointed him to his new administrative role on June 20.

   Linder’s appointment is a key element of the district’s comprehensive plan developed in response of ODE’s academic audit of the district. After a weeklong visit in the district in November 2015 ODE published a 75-page report detailing the district’s strengths, challenges and recommendations for improving student achievement.

   Linder will work directly with Superintendent Brian Garverick, Curriculum Director Stephen Rizzo and other administrators in the ongoing interaction with ODE.

   “My experience as a state support team member will come into play. I know this work and what it will take for us to be successful,” he said. “I can’t say it too many times: My focus is on better outcomes for kids in behavior and academics.”

   Linder and his wife, Diana, a physical therapist, have a 1 1/2 –year-old daughter. They are expecting their second child, a boy, on Aug. 15.

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