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Jefferson: Schools, entire community can grow and thrive together

Stan Jefferson speaks to community leaders during a luncheon meeting Wednesday at WMFD-TV.

      Superintendent-elect Stan Jefferson delivered a passionate address to business and community leaders Wednesday, telling them Mansfield City Schools needs their involvement to achieve academic reform and build new elementary schools.

      “Our goals and those of our entire community must be truly aligned,” Jefferson said during a luncheon meeting at WMFD-TV. “For us to survive and thrive we must work together. If our schools are striving for excellence and growing the community is striving for excellence and growing.”

      An audience of more than a dozen applauded Jefferson’s pledge to achieve a level of academic excellence that will “make our parents, our entire community proud to send their kids to our schools.”

      Jefferson, a former Mansfield Senior High administrator and head Tyger football coach, served on The Ohio State University football coaching staff from 2004 to 2017. He was hired as Mansfield City Schools superintendent on May 28 and will officially begin his tenure on Aug. 1.

      The district will announce a series of academic initiatives soon, Jefferson said, along with an emphasis on a “safe, warm and secure” learning environment for all students and staff.

      “We’re going to do a better job of engaging students, staff, parents, everyone,” he said. “If we’re going to have great schools, Mansfield City Schools and the community have to partner and be one.”

      Jefferson was directly involved in last summer’s in-depth inspection of the infrastructure of all district buildings, a project that he said emphasized the need for new elementary schools. Current elementary buildings date to 1936, 1950 and 1961.

      “Starting this fall we’re going to have community engagement regarding the need to build new elementary schools,” Jefferson said. “We need to give more tools to our students and teachers in the form of the best facilities possible.”

      He said he also will work immediately to provide a Chromebook for every student, noting that state tests are now taken online and kids need to be familiar with keyboarding.

      Jefferson cited the circumstances of his boyhood to emphasize the importance of meeting the needs of every student individually.

      “I lost my dad when I was 16. My mom had an eighth-grade education,” he said. “My principal said to me, ‘We are going to help you.’ He helped me get a scholarship that enabled me to graduate from The Ohio State University.

      “Our job is to put kids who need help on a platform and help them. That’s what it’s all about. We must lead selflessly. Our job is to be the hero-makers, not be the heroes.”

      The passion and enthusiasm of Jefferson’s remarks impacted his audience.

      Brady Groves, president of the Richland County Foundation and a Mansfield City Schools graduate, said it felt like “when I was 15 and in Coach Jefferson’s huddle.”

      Dorey Diab, president of North Central State College, told Jefferson, “We stand ready to help you.”

      Similar pledges echoed throughout the room.

      Jay Fox, vice president of sales at WMVO-TV, arranged Wednesday’s luncheon.

      “We will help you get the word out,” he told Jefferson. “Our schools impact so many concentric circles in the community.”

      Jefferson emphasized again the importance of the school-community partnership.

      “Mansfield Rising is happening downtown. We must be part of it. “Imagination District in the Renaissance area is happening. We must be part of it,” he said. “Our schools and our entire community can grow and thrive together.

      “There will be bumps in the road but we are determined to succeed with our community. The Tyger roar is coming back.”

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