Northwestern superintendent on paid leave; parent calls investigation ‘witch hunt’


The Northwestern Local Schools superintendent was placed on administrative leave tonight following an investigation one parent called a “witch hunt.”

The Board of Education voted 3-1 to place Superintendent Jesse Steiner on paid leave. Board member Russell Steele voted against putting Steiner on leave.

They then appointed Lori Swafford acting superintendent. She is the principal of the Northwestern Jr./Sr. High School.

MORE-Northwestern investigating allegations against superintendent

The Board of Education read a statement to a room filled with upset parents. They said the investigation was finished, but would not reveal what they found.

“The board focused on Mr. Steiener’s alleged misconduct when interacting with others on the job and whether or not he was maintaining the high standards of professional conduct we expect from staff,” member Andy Gundolf said, speaking on behalf of the board. 

Steiner makes more than $125,000 a year, according to his personnel file. He was last at work Nov. 27, when he was told to stay off district property. Gundolf said the investigation was not of a sexual or criminal nature, but that the board could not elaborate further until Steiner was made aware of the allegations.

>> Driver of car in crash that killed Graham student suspected of alcohol abuse

Many people attended the regular board meeting Thursday at the Northwestern Elementary School library, including Steiner’s wife and two daughters.

“If they made a decision, let our superintendent know so we as a community can move on,” David Bischoff said.

Jay Skrabacz told the board during the public comment part of the meeting that he felt they were being unfair and called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

>> Feed the Hungry program expands to Springfield, delivers holiday meals

“When you look at Mr. Steiner, he has done amazing things for this district. The kids love him. He reads to gradeschool kids on a weekly basis. He's here all the time," he said.

Steiner’s wife said they have not heard anything from the board during its investigation, and that once they hear from the board’s attorney they may speak about the incident.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

In today’s classrooms, schools balance technology with tradition to prepare students for jobs
In today’s classrooms, schools balance technology with tradition to prepare students for jobs

With new technology available and a focus on developing students for jobs needed in the future, local school districts are balancing innovations in gadgets and tools with traditional techniques in their classrooms. STEM topics (science, technology, engineering and math) have become increasingly prevalent in schools over the last decade. Some school...
Duke University says Robert E. Lee statue won't return to chapel entrance
Duke University says Robert E. Lee statue won't return to chapel entrance

Duke University announced the spot where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee once stood will remain empty.  >> Read more trending news  A year ago on Aug. 19, crews removed the statue from the iconic chapel entrance. The removal came several days after the statue was defaced in the wake of the protests that turned violent...
Eric Clapton announces first full-length Christmas album
Eric Clapton announces first full-length Christmas album

Eric Clapton on Friday announced the release of his first full-length Christmas album, Billboard reported.  >> Read more trending news  Set for an Oct. 12 release, “Happy Xmas” will have a blues edge to it and will contain 14 tracks and is the 24th studio album of Clapton’s career and his first since 2016 when...
Stafford: Reflections on gravity and ‘relative’ humidity
Stafford: Reflections on gravity and ‘relative’ humidity

With school underway, it struck me. If I’d started taking science classes a little later in life, I would have taken them a little more seriously. That’s because I would have taken them personally. It’s also possible that, at a later age, I might have been wise enough to fill in for myself what the teachers didn’t tell me. Take...
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dead at 80
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dead at 80

Kofi Annan, a diplomat from Ghana who served as UN Secretary-General for nine years and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, died early Saturday, CNN reported. He was 80. >> Read more trending news  Annan died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland. Reuters reported. Annan was the seventh Secretary-General, serving from 1997 to 2006...
More Stories