UPDATE


Trotwood-Madison Schools superintendent to retire

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 5:09 PM

Kevin Bell, Trotwood-Madison superintendent
Kevin Bell, Trotwood-Madison superintendent

After nearly 30 years in public education, Trotwood-Madison City Schools Superintendent Kevin Bell has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2018.

Board of Education President Adrienne Heard said the top priority is to conduct an extensive search for the next top leader in the district. Bell will continue his role until a replacement is found, according to a release sent this afternoon from the district.

“Mr. Bell leaves quite a legacy. He has devoted his time, wisdom and soul to this district,” Heard said. 

Bell -- a Trotwood-Madison graduate -- started his tenure at the district as a custodian. He later served as a teacher, principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent. He became superintendent in 2011.

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Mason school board to hold first meeting since ‘lynch’ comment

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:42 AM


            The first meeting of the Mason school board in the wake of a racial incident that drew national attention will take place Tuesday evening.
The first meeting of the Mason school board in the wake of a racial incident that drew national attention will take place Tuesday evening.

The first meeting of the Mason school board in the wake of a racial incident that drew national attention will take place Tuesday evening.

MORE: Mason teacher ordered on leave after racial incident

This news organization will attend the meeting tonight for coverage of the governing board for the 10,400-student school system.

The preliminary agenda for the meeting has no listed items that directly address the incident that came to light earlier this month and drew nationwide media attention.

MORE: Both Mason and nearby Kings Schools dealing with racial incidents

Each public board meeting, however, allows a portion of its proceedings for public comment. Board members are also free to comment on whatever issues they desire to address.

The public segment of the Mason Board of Education meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mason High School’s Harvard Room, 6100 South Mason-Montgomery Road.

The controversial exchange with the student, which occurred in December, involved a white, Mason Middle School teacher telling an African-American student his classmates would “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his school work.

The 22-year-veteran teacher - Renee Thole – apologized to the student and later to his mother.

She was first reprimanded by Mason district officials, then after days of public outcry – and recommendations from the boy’s mother – she was ordered on administrative leave by the same officials until she completed a racial and cultural sensitivity training course.

Mason officials have apologized for the incident and vowed to boost existing racial and cultural education programs as well as create new, diversity outreach efforts in Warren County’s largest school system.

MORE: Kings Schools officials vow changes coming in wake of racial incident

“Some have called for this teacher to be immediately fired and banned from ever teaching again,” said Mason Schools Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline in a public message released last week.

“We understand and respect the passion of these viewpoints. The teacher has been disciplined. She is required to take further training to learn from this troubling mistake. And our school district will do more to help educators make their classrooms more inclusive and equitable by providing training on how to combat bigotry and bias,” said Kist-Kline.

Lebanon hires new football coach

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

Matthew Hopkins, Lebanon football coach
Matthew Hopkins, Lebanon football coach

Matthew Hopkins has been named the next varsity head football coach for Lebanon High School.

Hopkins served as the head football coach for Preble Shawnee High School, where last year the team had the most wins in school history.

RELATED: Lamb resigns as football coach

He will be replacing Shawn Lamb, who led the Warriors for the past 13 seasons and “decided to step away for personal reasons,” according to a press release issued by the school district.

Lebanon was a combined 76-55 with Lamb as head coach and won Greater Western Ohio Conference divisional titles in 2006, ’09 and ’11. But the Warriors closed last season with one win in their last seven games. Lebanon was 3-7 overall and 0-3 in the GWOC National West. Springboro defeated Lebanon 38-7 in the regular-season finale.

MORE: Trotwood, Marion state poll champions

Hopkins will also serve the district as the student services administrator at Lebanon High School. The board is to create this job at a board meeting Tuesday.

RELATED: Latest Lebanon news

Hopkins is a 2002 graduate of Preble-Shawnee, where he was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Arrows.

He is a 2006 graduate of Miami University, where he received his degree in education. Prior to serving as head coach at Preble-Shawnee, Hopkins worked as an assistant coach at Eaton High School for seven years, five in which the team went to the playoffs.

RELATED: High school sports headlines

Hopkins will be meeting with returning players in the near future to introduce himself, discuss off-season conditioning and establish goals for the upcoming season. He will also be working with the athletic director in filling his assistant coaching positions in the upcoming weeks. A public meet-and-greet event is being planned for a future date.

“I am very excited to welcome Mr. Hopkins to Lebanon High School as our Student Services Administrator and football coach. I want to thank the selection committee for their hard work and commitment in finding a great educator and coach. I encourage our community to rally around Coach Hopkins, his staff, and the football program,” Todd Yohey, superintendent of Lebanon City Schools, said in the release.

Badin High School plans $1.8M expansion as enrollment grows

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:47 AM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:13 PM


            Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment. This week officials at Badin High School released more details about its first campus expansion since 2006 including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”(Provided illustration)
Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment. This week officials at Badin High School released more details about its first campus expansion since 2006 including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”(Provided illustration)

Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment.

This week, officials at Badin High School released more details about the school’s first campus expansion since 2006, including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”

MORE: Badin High School celebrates 50th anniversary

“The new Student Development Center is another example of Badin making effective strides to enhance our facilities,” said Dirk Allen, spokesman for Badin High School.

“We’re very excited about it. Classes, facilities, opportunities for students, all of that comes together to create an outstanding educational experience for the Badin student body,” said Allen.

MORE: Badin High School renews ties with Sister of Notre Dame

Construction on the new, one-story, 8,000-square-foot center will begin this summer and is projected to be done by Christmas.

Allen said the new center “will feature a student commons for use before, during and after school meetings, group projects and a much needed study space. The guidance office will vacate a classroom in the school building and will move to the new Hamilton Community Foundation College and Career Center – a state-of-the-art facility with computer work stations and a meeting space for colleges to meet with students.”

“Our enrollment continues to grow. We were at 449 students in 2009-2010, (and) our enrollment has grown every year since then. We are at 575 this year and expect to be over 600 next year,” he said.

MORE: Looking back on Badin’s historic, perfect basketball season

“The building project will be very helpful (and) students will no longer have to walk outside between the main building and the Pfirman Center in inclement weather.”

The new center will also allow two former classrooms - converted into office space - to return to instructional spaces.

Mason Middle School hit by another racial incident

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:12 AM


            A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents. The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.(Provided photo)
A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents. The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.(Provided photo)

A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents.

The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.

MORE: Mason teacher now suspended after racial incident

In a notice sent Tuesday to Mason Middle School (MMS) parents, Principal Tonya McCall wrote: “Today, we received a tip that several African-American students received an offensive Snapchat message. We reported the message to our School Resource Officer, and will continue to investigate who might have sent it.”

“As many of you may be aware, an MMS teacher recently made an offensive remark to an African-American student. We know that there is no explanation or defense that would make such a comment appropriate. We are working to do what is right — apologize, make amends, and take steps to be better.”

McCall continued and wrote: “We know that racial incidents don’t just hurt the students of color in our schools — they hurt all of our students and staff. We believe that our diversity strengthens our school and community.”

On Saturday Mason school officials announced Middle School teacher Renee Thole would be suspended for her December remark to the black student in addition to being reprimanded and ordered to take cultural sensitivity training.

MORE: Mason and neighboring Kings schools dealing with racial incidents, national attention

The incident drew national attention and Mason district officials have responded with promises to re-new its exiting efforts and programs to improve racial sensitivity in the predominately white school system of 11,000-students.

Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent a message to “Mason City Schools Families” on Saturday with the subject line “Mason Schools Response to Teacher’s Comment” after the story about the teacher gained national attention.

“Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it,” Kist-Kline wrote.