ST. PARIS – Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke has been chosen as the new superintendent at Indian Hill Exempted Village School district near Cincinnati. Indian Hill posted the information to its school website on Wednesday.
Koennecke also had been a finalist for a superintendent’s job in Champaign, Illinois, as was announced earlier this month.
Koennecke will begin serving at Indian Hill in July. In the meantime, he will continue to assist the school board with the transition at Graham. Koennecke’s wife Susie is the executive director of Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, a position she was named to in February.
“The Graham Board of Education fully understands why the Indian Hill Schools would offer Kirk a superintendent position,” said Graham Board President Ryan Pine. “Kirk and his wife Susie have been important contributors to this team the past three years, and we wish them nothing but continued success.”
Under Koennecke’s time at Graham since August of 2016, Graham has sought new operating funds through four attempts at an earned income tax levy. Graham voters failed the latest such levy on Tuesday by a wide margin and a 37 percent turnout.
“The Board will post the position of Superintendent as soon as possible,” Pine said. “We will endeavor to hire a candidate in line with the district’s goals and direction.
“Graham’s difficulties of passing a levy do not center on any individual position,” Pine said. “This is proven by the vast changes and approaches in the last 27 years, yet we still have not approved new operating revenue in this time.
Pine said “The Board will continue to work towards the goals of our Strategic Plan which include finding a way to provide a high quality and future ready education, while attracting and retaining high quality teachers and staff, and being financial stable. New operating funds are essential to allow all of this to be accomplished.”
In a statement issued Friday morning, Koennecke said he will miss Graham.
“This is a wonderful school district. My team here is one of a kind, and these dedicated board members have been stellar,” Koennecke said. “The children of Graham are so special to me, and so many staff who do so much with so little to make amazing things happen in our classrooms. I’ll miss that.
“There are so many examples of innovation our students and staff have led to improve our services and offerings to families that I am so proud of. Graham’s community is so lucky to have such a hard working staff here. Now, I look forward to new challenges and the opportunity to live and work in a unique school community such as Indian Hill.”
Pine reaffirmed the choice Graham made in hiring Koennecke to a four-year contract in 2016. In July of 2018, the Graham board passed a resolution indicating its members wanted to work towards a contract extension for Koennecke that would have been offered to him in January of 2019 – the earliest possible opportunity allowed by law. The planned offer was intended to extend Koennecke’s service at Graham to August of 2025, but the board did not officially enter into the new contract with him.
“Kirk made an immediate, positive impact on our school community. Our next superintendent will help us continue the work to realize our shared vision to create future ready students.” Pine said. “This news supports the decision that when we hired Kirk, our board put trust in the right leader.”
Graham announced Friday morning the board will hold special meetings on May 21 at 5 p.m. and June 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Graham board office conference room.
The date of the regular board meeting scheduled on June 12 will be changed to June 10 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Graham High School Media Center.
The district now faces $600,000 in additional cuts, as well as student fee hikes for 2019-20. Busing and operating budgets will be further reduced for 2019-2020.
Reach Brenda Burns at email@example.com.