Otsego superintendent feels right at home PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 10:03
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Adam Koch is Otsego’s superintendent (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
TONTOGANY - After less than a year on the job, Otsego Superintendent Adam Koch is finding himself right at home in the district, which has its share of triumphs and challenges ahead.
"Otsego is a great rural school district," Koch said in a recent email interview. "The Otsego community reminds me a lot of where I grew up. There is a strong sense of pride that the Otsego community has for our school system, which I think is a huge part of our success."
A 2001 graduate of Fairview High School, located outside of Ney in Defiance County, Koch holds bachelors degrees in accounting and finance, as well as an MBA, from Wright State University. He came to the district in December, 2010, as treasurer after working at National Trail Local School District in New Paris. Koch served as treasurer for 18 months before Jim Garber stepped down from the superintendent's position after five years to become head principal at the Otsego elementary school. He was chosen by the board to succeed Garber last June.
"There is a learning curve with every job that you get," Koch said. "It helped tremendously that I was familiar with the district and knew the school buildings, staff, students, and the community."
Koch noted that his time as treasurer prepared him for the district's big chair, saying that being part of the administration "helped me tremendously with the transition. Understanding budgets, existing relationships with the staff, knowledge of negotiations" and other factors carried over seamlessly.
"We have a lot to be thankful for at Otsego," he said. "We have a wonderful teaching and support staff that truly cares about our students and their learning. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to the Otsego students."
Koch is coming into the job with the dust largely settled on the sometimes acrimonious debate surrounding new school buildings in the district. A new high school was built, and district elementaries were closed to make way for a new, centralized elementary school on the Otsego campus in Tontogany. Renovations to the middle school are nearing completion.
The elementaries issue had pointed out fault lines in the community, something which Koch feels are beginning to heal.
"I think that we are moving in the right direction as a school district," he said of the issue. "It was an extremely tough decision that was made, but it will have a long-lasting positive impact on our students. All of our buildings are energy efficient, technology rich, and provide a safe learning environment for everyone."
Even so, the district still faces challenges, largely from forthcoming legislative requirements from Columbus.
"There are several law changes that are challenging aspects for school district in Ohio," he said. "These changes for the most part are positive and will have a positive impact on our students' learning process, but the financial and time commitments to successfully implement these changes will be challenging."
"Another challenging aspect is the budget," Koch continued. "We have experienced several rounds of cuts in revenue over the past several years. This has caused us to reduce staffing levels and cut programs. We will need to develop a plan to invest in key areas of our curriculum so that we do not fall behind educationally."
 

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