Kizner Appointed New School Superintendent

Press Release -- April 28th, 2010

Scott Kizner will take over from Harrisonburg City Schools superintendent Don Ford on July 1.

Here’s the official release, sent out at 12:15 this afternoon:

The Harrisonburg City School Board announced the appointment of Dr. Scott R. Kizner as its new Superintendent of schools at a special meeting today. The board voted unanimously to approve a four-year contract effective July 1, 2010 with an annual salary of $141,000. Kizner will begin his new duties following the retirement of Dr. Donald Ford whose 13-year tenure as division Superintendent will end on June 30, 2010.

Dr. Kizner’s selection came after a three-month search that included more than 20 candidates from Virginia and other states. The board enlisted the assistance of the Virginia School Board Association for the search and interview process that began in January with a community survey and public hearing to receive feedback on desirable traits and qualifications for the new superintendent.

Commenting on the overall search, Board member Kerri Wilson said, “the process we used in selecting our new Superintendent was extensive and thorough, drawing a large number of highly qualified educators from across the country. As a result, the school board had the opportunity to select the best candidate to lead the Harrisonburg City Public Schools.”

Immediate-past chairman Tom Mendez said, “Dr. Ford has established a tradition of excellence in our schools that is envied and well-respected throughout the state. I am very pleased that we’ve found an experienced leader to carry on and enhance the great work that has been accomplished in our division.”

Dr. Kizner is currently serving in his sixth year as the Superintendent of the Martinsville City Public Schools following a six-year term as Superintendent of the Westerly, RI Public Schools. Prior to becoming a superintendent, his educational experiences included teaching children with disabilities, being a school psychologist, directing special education programs, and serving as assistant superintendent of instruction in the Northern Shenandoah region of Virginia. Throughout his career, Kizner has served on many state and national boards including the Governor’s School Readiness Task Force and the Virginia Early Childhood Advisory Council.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baruch College, a Master of Arts degree from James Madison University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Virginia Tech. He also completed post-doctoral requirements in educational leadership at the University of Virginia.

During the special meeting, board members took the time to welcome the new superintendent, giving their own personal reasons why they selected Kizner for the position.

Board member Greg Coffman stated, “My principal criteria for our new superintendent were an innovative leader and an educator whose first concern is the success of our youth, regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background. In my mind, Dr. Kizner met these qualifications magnificently.”

Board Chairperson Sallie Strickler echoed Mr. Coffman’s sentiments and stated, “Dr. Kizner’s track record shows that he supports collaboration, both horizontally and vertically, to ensure that the entire school division is working toward the same goal of helping every student achieve. I have been impressed by how actively involved Dr. Kizner is in all aspects of the schools.”

Vice Chairman Nick Swayne expressed his reasons for support adding, “Dr. Kizner has demonstrated exceptional strength in establishing strong ties to a diverse community. By building relationships and pulling community resources together, he has raised student performance and created learning opportunities for all children.”

Board member Tim Lacey cited Kizner’s commitment to education and his high expectations as key reasons for supporting him. “During his tenures as superintendent, he has led both school systems to being recognized as high-performing school districts. I’m excited to see what he can do here in Harrisonburg,” Lacey said.

On his selection by the board, Kizner said, “I am excited and honored to be the next Superintendent of Harrisonburg City Public Schools. This is a great school system and I look forward to building on its many strengths and successes. My family and I welcome the opportunity to become part of the Harrisonburg community.”

Scott and his wife, Lori, a school counselor and certified school administrator, have a 24-year old daughter in law school, a 20-year old daughter at James Madison University who is studying to become a teacher, and a daughter that will be enrolled as a junior at Harrisonburg High School in the fall.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mrs. Strickler announced that the board will host events in the coming months to introduce Dr. Kizner to school employees and the community. “We look forward to welcoming Scott and his family back to Harrisonburg,” Strickler added.

The Harrisonburg City Public Schools have a very diverse student population with approximately 4,400 students, 800 employees and a $55 million annual budget. The division has 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and one high school. All schools are fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.

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