Fayette Local Schools may be losing Superintendent Erik Belcher to the Napoleon school system but they’re keeping the head position in the family.
The district’s Board of Education on May 20 approved Angie Belcher to succeed her husband as superintendent. Currently the director of student services at Pike-Delta-York schools, she will begin her duties Aug. 1.
The unique situation isn’t lost on Belcher. She said she can’t recall a case of one spouse following the other as superintendent of a school district, “certainly not in this area.”
Belcher, 46, was one of 15 applicants for the job. She has held a superintendent’s license for seven years, “so it’s been a longtime goal. I already knew it was a great school, and they have made so much progress. I feel fortunate.”
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Bowling Green State University, and a Master’s of Education degree from the University of Toledo. She is one year away from earning a doctoral degree in administration from the University of Findlay.
Belcher began her career as an elementary school teacher for Otsego Local Schools from 1998-2008. She was the elementary school principal for Swanton schools for eight years before moving to the Pike-Delta-York district.
After 11 years in administration, she felt the moment was right to pursue the role of superintendent.
“This is the time. I wanted to make sure I was experienced enough across the board to be prepared,” Belcher said. “I was comfortable with the (Fayette) district, and had a familiarity with the people there, and felt it was a good place with good people.”
She understands there likely will be comparisons between her and her husband’s leadership styles but Belcher isn’t concerned.
“We’re two very different people,” she said. “Once I get there and work with everybody, they’ll appreciate me for me and not compare me to Erik.”
Belcher will take the position without a preconceived agenda. Instead, she wants to first discover the needs of the district, the staff and students, and the community.
“I want to go in and dig into what’s going on,” she said. “After 11 years in administration, I’ve learned that I can take my experience and my beliefs and my leadership abilities, but it can’t be my plan. You always want to improve your program but that’s with any district. Nobody wants to stand still.”
From her exposure to Fayette schools through her husband’s tenure, Belcher said there’s a lot to be impressed with. She cites everything from the all-day preschool program and the facilities to the administration and staff.
“They’re committed, and they’re about kids,” she said. “I’m passionate about kids. That’s why I’m still in education after all these years. I still feel like I can impact students’ lives.”
That’s why Belcher is happy her office is located within the school complex rather than in a separate location. “That, to me, is very appealing. You’re really able to keep a pulse on day-to-day education. I think that’s very important for a superintendent,” she said.
As for dealing with the whims of Ohio’s educational leaders, she said, “It’s always a challenge to deal with mandates. That’s been a challenge my entire time with administration. We’ll just have to be more creative with our problem-solving. We’ll probably look at the indicators on the state grade card and make sure that we’re putting our best foot forward.”
Belcher plans to maintain an open-door policy and make herself accessible at community events. “I’ve always been a strong believer in that. I don’t think you can communicate enough,” Belcher said. “I’m very excited to begin.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.