Brookfield Local School District has not had an assistant principal since Kristen Foster was promoted to high school principal in July 2019.
Supt. Toby Gibson said earlier this year that he planned to hire an assistant for the middle and high schools, but his thought process changed once he started interviews. Instead, he asked the school board to hire two.
The board agreed on May 19, hiring Tyler Vallinger and Joshua Vastag, who will start work Aug. 1 and be paid $69,935 each.
“As we went through the interview process, my light bulb moment was listening to Ms. Kristen Foster answer a question about when she was our last 5-12 principal,” Gibson said. “She was trying to be polite in saying it was a lot of work running between both buildings. It kind of hit me there, why spin our wheels again and hire one.”
The new hires will help the district carry out its plan for learning loss, addressing the needs of students who have fallen behind due to remote learning and interrupted school schedules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“In order to carry out a plan with fidelity and allow our administrators and our teachers to see things through, help students get back on track academically and emotionally, we need some support staff to help out our principals, especially with discipline and those types of things,” Gibson said. “That will allow us to address the academic needs.”
“They both bring so many unique skills and qualities to the table that they’re gonna be instrumental in both buildings,” Foster said. “We’re so excited to have them.”
Vallinger, who is from Poland, teaches Latin at Boardman schools, and had taught previously in Sandusky.
Education is slow to change and Vallinger said he wants to impact the district incrementally.
“I’m always gonna try and work for everyone else,” Vallinger said. “I think being a principal is a selfless job, if you do it the right way. You’re there for the kids, you’re there for the teachers, and you’re there to improve the school district. It’s not about me being comfortable. It’s about everyone else being able to do their job.”
Vastag, who is originally from Cortland, wanted to come back to Trumbull County after working as a high school social studies teacher, middle school counselor and high school guidance counselor in Canton, Madison Local and Cloverleaf Local in Medina County.
“With my counseling and my teaching background, I hope I bring a piece of the social-emotional learning with the kids; a different perspective about discipline; and basically an objective view,” Vastag said. “I’ve worked in two other districts, both very different, so I feel like I’m very well-rounded now, professionally, and that I can bring new ideas to the table.”