MANSFIELD -- Incoming Mansfield City Schools Supt. Stan Jefferson told local business and community leaders Wednesday their involvement is necessary to achieve academic reform and to build new elementary schools.
“Our goals and those of our entire community must be truly aligned,” Jefferson said during a lunch 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 officially begins 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 state tests are now taken online and children need to be familiar with keyboarding.
Jefferson cited the circumstances of his childhood 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 Senior High 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.”
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.”
(The above story was published on the Mansfield City Schools website at https://www.tygerpride.com.)