Former vo-ag teacher tops list of eight interviewees

Last updated: July 25. 2014 3:41PM - 510 Views
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Matthew Unger will become Madison-Plains High School principal Aug. 1.
Matthew Unger will become Madison-Plains High School principal Aug. 1.
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Though Madison-Plains Local Schools had numerous applications for the high school principal’s position, the board of education (BOE) Thursday evening chose someone from their own back yard.


In a unanimous vote (BOE member Dave Hunter was absent), the BOE chose Matthew Unger as the next high school principal, effective Aug. 1. Unger was given a three-year contract at $93,256 per year.


Unger has been teaching agricultural education for two years at Madison-Plains. For the last 10 years he’s been taking the classes which have been preparing him to be a school principal, he said. He will soon conclude his studies to obtain a doctorate in educational leadership at Ohio University.


Unger was the top choice among 19 applicants for the position, which was vacated by Chris Clark, who took a superintendent’s position in the Black River school district in northern Ohio. Clark and Unger share a background in agriculture and both taught agricultural education at Madison-Plains High School.


Unger acknowledged he’ll have questions as he takes his first assignment as a high school administrator, which Clark has apparently agreed to answer.


“I’ve got him on speed dial,” Unger quipped after Thursday evening’s meeting.


Unger came through the interview process as the top choice of every member of a selection committee involved in the hiring process. Committee members included three parents, two BOE members, four administrators, two teachers and one support staff member.


In both round one and round two of interviews, which involved two separate groups of committee members, Unger was the top choice after both rounds.


“Dr. Unger was the clear choice from a strong field of applicants,” newly-hired Superintendent Tim Dettwiller said. “Matt’s performance in the classroom, his past leadership roles and his strong desire to improve academic performance were all noted in the committee’s endorsement of him.”


Nineteen people applied for the position. Eight candidates were interviewed and two finalists — who interviewed a second time — were recommended to Dettwiller.


Unger is a member of the district’s Student Learner Outcome and Insurance committees. He uses data analysis to improve his instructional practice to improve student learning and blends traditional classroom approaches with technology to increase student involvement and ownership.


Dettwiller said Unger, who has taught at the high school for the past two years, will hit the ground running.


“Matt is a great fit for this administrative team and we are all eager for the start of the 2014-15 school year,” Dettwiller said.


Unger will receive his Ph.D. in August from Ohio University in educational leadership. He holds both a Bachelor and Master of Science from Morehead State University in vocational education and earned his principal’s license through coursework at the University of Dayton.


Unger has served as an adjunct professor at Wilmington College and taught in Fairfield Local Schools in Leesburg, Ohio and at a high school in southeastern Indiana. He’s also coached middle school football and wrestling.


Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.


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