CAMDEN — At a special board meeting on Wednesday, June 2, the Preble Shawnee Board of Education officially hired Todd Bowling to be the next superintendent of the Preble Shawnee Local School District. Bowling was awarded a three-year contract with a start date of Aug. 1.
Bowling replaces Dr. Matt Bishop, who recently resigned to take a position at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center after serving as the district’s superintendent for the past five years.
Bowling comes to Preble Shawnee after serving as superintendent of the Northwest Local School District in Hamilton County for the past five years.
“I’m really excited. I did a lot of research before I applied, and really applied at maybe one other place, but this was the first place that I got an interview. I’m looking forward to dealing with a smaller community, getting closer to the kids, to the staff and working with the administration in the district, and just being a bigger part of what’s going on in the school, so that was exciting for me,” Bowling said at the conclusion of the June 2 meeting.
Bowling said he was looking for a smaller district to lead. The Northwest District consists of 11 schools, including Northwest and Colerain High Schools with approximately 9,000 students.
“I wanted something smaller. To see more of what’s going on, on a daily basis. Being a bigger part of what’s going on and more involved — so just the community aspect,” Bowling said. “I want to collaborate with the folks that are already here, work with the administration and the staff, and find out what their thoughts are. I’d like to meet with every staff member individually and find out what they think we could do to continue with their success, and find out what things we can do better, and how we can make things successful for each and every kid.”
The three E’s are important to Bowling.
“My goal has always been, for every kid that walks out of the school and graduates, they’re either going to enroll, they’re going to enlist, or they’re going to be employable right off the bat,” he said. “That’s an important piece to me and no matter what their goal is, how do we best help them achieve that goal? I don’t want them to think that just because they see things a certain way that they don’t have opportunity.”
He said its important to provide opportunities for students and collaborate with staff.
“It’s just trying to open the doors and provide opportunities for kids, and then the collaboration with staff. I love working with teachers — love listening to their ideas — and I think when teachers can collaborate, their professional ideas are awesome and phenomenal,” Bowling said. “It just provides more opportunities for kids.”
On his philosophy: “It’s more than just teaching math facts. We have to expand a kid’s ability to learn. It’s no longer about ‘this is the way you do math, you have to do multiplication, addition, subtraction;’ we have to teach kids how to think. We have to teach kids how to problem solve. We have to teach them how to be critical thinkers. And when we do that, we give them the ability to have more choices when they graduate.”
On potential challenges: “The very first challenge is we have to get the state legislators to fund all schools equally, but most importantly rural schools. When we have the amount of property that is spread out in our district, the state has to step up and fund schools properly — and right now they’re not. What the Senate just put out is not fair funding. I think we have to fight for ourselves and Preble Shawnee up at the state level for local report cards, for our funding system.”
Bowling intends to have an open door policy with the community.
“And then, the first thing I’ve got to do is get out and meet the community. I’ve got to find out what they think. I’ve got to go to Camden, to West Elkton, and I’ve got to meet the little groups of people. I’ve got to have coffee with folks. I’ve got to go to local restaurants, find out what they want,” he said. “I don’t have all the answers, but they do. They’ve lived here, they know what the community wants and that’s where I’ve got to start. I can’t come in here and have all the answers, but I can tell them I can relate. I can come in here and I can listen, I can be transparent, and I can fight for what they need, but the only way to do that is to communicate with them and the best way to communicate is to listen to folks and that’s what I plan on doing from the get-go.”
And when it comes to having an open-door policy, Bowling said he intends to, “listen to their needs. Every child can learn and will learn, and it starts by just getting out in the community and finding out what the needs are.”
Bowling graduated from Northwest High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton where he participated in baseball and football. He earned his Master’s in Educational Administration from the University of Cincinnati and his superintendent licensure from Xavier University.
At Northwest, Bowling served as a teacher, coach, principal, and as Business Director.
Prior to his service in the Northwest Schools, Bowling also worked in the Mt. Healthy City Schools.
“We are very excited to welcome Todd Bowling as our superintendent at Preble Shawnee. Mr. Bowling brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our schools which we know will help us continue to be a great school district. His excitement to get to know our students and staff will allow him to learn who we are as Preble Shawnee quickly, and allow us to have a smooth transition over the next several weeks,” Board President Julie Singleton said.
Bowling was selected from a field of 18 candidates. The board was assisted by the Butler County Educational Service Center in their search for their next superintendent.
Bowling and his wife Shannon have three sons and reside in Liberty Township.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr