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First science school director hired

A former Springfield educator will return to town to lead the state’s first industry-based regional STEM school.

The Global Impact STEM Academy board tapped Carl J. Berg, a 43-year veteran of Ohio schools, to serve as the school’s interim director through June at a special meeting Thursday night.

Berg’s five-month contract includes an hourly pay rate of $60 or $480 a day, said Melanie Wilt of Wilt PR, the communications firm representing the academy. At five days a week for five months, that would equal about $48,000.

The Global Impact school is a science, technology, engineering and math-focused agricultural bio-science school proposed by state Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, and backed by the Ohio State University and the Columbus-based non-profit Battelle.

It is a partnership between the Springfield City School District, Wright State University and Clark State Community College and will eventually serve seventh through 12th grade students in Clark and surrounding counties.

“The STEM education is the perfect blend of comprehensive high school with the pieces that are in it, career tech education and the post-secondary option piece,” said Berg. “I think you’ll see more and more opportunities for blended schools like this, bringing in the best of all three components like that.”

One in seven Ohio jobs is in the agricultural industry and the academy’s backers hope it will attract those companies to Clark County.

Berg has been tasked by the board with focusing on student recruitment, faculty and staff recruitment and development, curriculum and facilities, and is expected to soon recommend to the board about when the school will launch.

A Springfield native, Berg worked for the Springfield City School District, first as a teacher and later an administrator. He left the district in 1986 and became a superintendent at Walnut Township and Miamisburg schools before retiring from Tolles Career and Technical Center in Plain City in 2011.

“Having that variety of experiences is really a very advantageous background for what we’re trying to get started here,” said David Hopkins, Wright State University president and vice chairman of the Global Impact board.

The board will continue a national search for a permanent director and other staff members, he said.

Berg graduated from North High School and attended Wittenberg University, Wright State and the University of Dayton.

“I am just very pleased to be able to come back and contribute,” Berg said. “The opportunities are just so wonderful and this educational community here in town is growing by leaps and bounds and this will be the next piece to it. If you add the economical development to it — gosh, that’s great.”

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