New school super relishes the challenge

WOODSFIELD – As the new superintendent of Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, John Hall has a lot of challenges facing him, but he feels up to the task.

“We can get better and that’s academically, financially and get along with each other better,” Hall said. “I think in all areas we can approve and I am looking forward to working with the community, students and staff.”

Hall discovered the posting for Switzerland of Ohio Local School District superintendent position online. After a few phone calls and discovering that Switzerland of Ohio is a rural district, Hall, who is originally from Cambridge and has relatives close by, became interested in the new position.

Hall has held several positions in the education system and has been through several different schools and districts as either an educator or administrator.

“(I’ve been in the education system) for over 30 years, I have been an educator and kind of went up through the ranks,” Hall said. “There were a lot of people that influenced me from bus drivers to teachers to an athletic director, and because of those four or five people who influenced me, I wanted to work with students.”

Hall believes that the expectations for the district, students and schools could and will be better.

“I think that our expectations are higher. As I travel around to the buildings, I know that we have students who are capable of more. I know that we have staff that is capable of more, so we are going to work instrumentally to get better,” Hall said.

Switzerland is the largest school district in Ohio in square mileage. All together, the district has three high schools: River, Beallsville and Monroe Central; there are also four elementary schools and one vocational school. According to Hall, that is what makes this district unique and he has worked in fairly large districts before.

“The challenges here are kind of exciting to me in some ways because there are so many and it is up to us to prioritize and to focus. One of our focal points has to be academic achievement because if we don’t improve our academic achievements, our students are at a disadvantage to the students at other venues,” Hall said.

Hall feels that the students are the priority and wants to get the community more involved. He has decided to start moving the board meetings to schools in the district rather than just have them at the central office in Woodsfield. All meetings will be held at 6 p.m.

– Thursday, Sept. 19 at Beallsville High School;

– Thursday, Oct. 17 at River High School;

– Thursday, Nov. 21 at Monroe Central High School;

– Thursday, Dec. 19 at Swiss Hills Career Center;

– Thursday, Jan. 9 at Central Office;

– Thursday, Feb. 20 at Powhatan Elementary School;

– Thursday, March 20 at Skyvue Elementary School;

– Thursday, April 17 at Woodsfield Elementary School;

– Thursday, May 16 at River Elementary School.

“It is too early to have firm plans because I am still learning so much but the plans we make will be made with the students interest at mind first and that I will be right there with the communities,” Hall said. “We have some ideas on how to tackle the academic piece and I know there are people that understand that our kids can perform better than they are now and they are going to work hard to help improve our scores. As I travel the buildings, the number of the conversations that I had with staff made me excited because there is a passion in these communities for this district and there is a pride and that pride is not going to allow us to remain where we are forever.”

Van Dyne can be reached at