Jan. 24—Thomas Fazekas has stepped down from the Fairport Harbor School Board so he can submit an application to become the district's next superintendent.
Fazekas sent an email to his fellow board members on Jan. 22, formally announcing that he would resign from the panel on Jan. 23.
"The motivation behind this decision is to apply for the district's superintendent position," Fazekas wrote. "Stepping away now honors the process and provides the transparency our constituents and families have come to expect."
His resignation took effect two days before Fairport Harbor School Board is scheduled to hold a special meeting to talk about plans for choosing a successor to Superintendent Domenic Paolo. Late last month, Paolo announced that he would retire as the district's top leader on July 1.
The board will be joined at the Jan. 25 meeting by Teri Morgan, a consultant with the Ohio School Boards Association, who is helping the district with its superintendent search. This event, described on the district's website as a planning session, is set to begin at 6 p.m. in room 109 of Fairport Harding Middle and High School, located at 329 Vine St.
At a Jan. 6 regular meeting, Fairport Harbor School Board chose the Ohio School Boards Association to help in recruiting, screening and evaluating superintendent candidates. OSBA was one of three entities that sought to provide those services.
Fazekas abstained from voting on an organization to conduct the superintendent search. He also abstained at Dec. 20 meeting when the other three board members in attendance voted to approve Paolo's retirement.
During an organizational meeting that preceded the Jan. 6 regular meeting, Fazekas was chosen by his colleagues to serve as school board president for the third straight year.
Fazekas and Sherry Maruschak both were elected to their first terms on the school board in the November 2019 General Election. Maruschak just began her third consecutive year as board vice president.
On that ballot, Fazekas received the most votes out of six candidates who vied for three seats. He entered that race with significant name recognition among district voters, from having served as principal of Fairport Harding Middle and High School from 2009 through 2018.
Looking back on his experience of serving on the school board, Fazekas said he was part of a productive group.
"From policy to personnel, to facilities and finance, this board has set, and accomplished, significant goals over the past three years," he said. "The next steps toward thriving as a district will require the same consensus-building approach and accountability at the administrative level."
Fazekas earned his certification as a school superintendent about 10 years ago. Following his time as Fairport Harding principal, he has served as superintendent of The Gildersleeve School, formerly known as Out of the Box Academy, in Akron.
The Gildersleeve School serves children with development developmental disabilities as well as those on the autism spectrum.
"We do some work, too, with the large population of Nepalese refugees (in Akron)," Fazekas said in a Jan. 24 telephone interview.
In the letter confirming his resignation from the school board, Fazekas wrote that regardless of the superintendent search outcome, he "will continue to seek out opportunities to serve the district."
The board is reaching out to district residents interested in filling the position left vacant by Fazekas' departure.
Applicants are asked to email a statement of interest and qualifications to board Vice President Sherry Maruschak at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to apply is Feb. 8.
Whoever is appointed to the board will serve the remainder of Fazekas' current four-year term, which ends Dec. 31, 2023. If his successor wants to serve beyond that point, they will need to run and win a board seat in the Nov. 7 General Election.