Brent Ripley named Bridgeport schools superintendent

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH BRENT RIPLEY, seated at left, was named superintendent of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District during the regular monthly board of education meeting Wednesday night inside the administration building. Also seated is Board of Education President Heidi Terek. Standing, from left, are board of education members, Jerry Moore, Shirleann Murad, Jodi Harkness and Don Cash.

BRIDGEPORT — There are times in one’s life when an opportunity arises that seems too good to be true.

Brent Ripley was experiencing that feeling Wednesday night, after being named the new superintendent of the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District.

“Truly excited and honored. It’s truly a blessing,” Ripley said during Wednesday night’s monthly board of education meeting. “I just told someone prior to the meeting that I hope this feeling never wears off.

“Sometimes you become desensitized when you have a job over time that you’re so excited looking forward at what is coming forth for Bridgeport,” he noted. “I don’t want this feeling to ever leave.”

Ripley graduated from Lakeland High School in 1990 and then from West Liberty University four years later. The soon-to-be 48-year-old has been employed for the last 21 years in the Harrison Hills School District where he served in a variety of roles.

“I was a teacher, coach, student council advisor, started the soccer program, was the principal for elementary and high schools, director of food service, buildings and grounds,” he said. “You name it, I’ve done it.”

“I’ve also been in charge of the new building were constructing,” he added.

Ripley currently serves as the Director of Operations for the Harrison Hills School District.

He also served on a committee that oversaw the entire stadium renovation project at Harrison Central, with the exception of the lights.

“Buildings and grounds is something that I really enjoy,” he said. “It’s fun to plan with a group of individuals to make sure you get the best product out there for the community and the kids.”

According to officials, Ripley’s yearly salary is a little more than $100,000. His contract is for three years and begins on Aug. 1.

Ripley replaces Zac Shutler, whose resignation was also unanimously approved during the 20-minute meeting. Shutler has accepted a position as principal in the Union Local School District.

He said the decision to leave Harrison Hills was not an easy one to make.

“My wife (Angela) and I moved back to Harrison County in 1998. It (the decision) was difficult,” he admitted. “I have some long-term relationships there. I’ve had a lot of good mentors along the way that have brought me up and invested in me, corrected me and helped me out. Learning happens in every facet of education, it doesn’t matter at what level. As long as we work together and put more support in each other, we’ll do well.

“As far as me leaving there, it’s bittersweet,” he continued. “I’m excited to finish up my career here. My wife’s family is from West Liberty. She has a sister that lives in Wheeling, so we have family down here. I’ve always admired this area. … Cadiz and Bridgeport are the same type of communities. … Hard-working people that are invested in their schools and their children of the district.”

His top goal?

“I think life is about serving each other and learning from one another. I want to get our kids out in the community serving and learning,” he said. “I know that some of the businesses and partnerships come into the school, but what are we doing to get out there and help them?

“The community supports the school district. Parents support it. Grandparents support it,” he continued. “We’ve got five (school) board members that are all graduates of Bridgeport High School. That shows their love and passion, not just to the past of Bridgeport, but today and to the future. They are really concerned and really invested in these kids and this community. They want to see this school district succeed. Together, I think we can do that.”

The district also welcomed five new teachers. They are Kira Dillon (4th grade); Tracy Velickoff (speech and language pathologist); Shane Roberts (Cross Categorical Middle School); Joanna Vincenzo (middle school/high school intervention specialist); and Brittany Hicks (Exercise Science Lab). All are one-year contracts, effective for the 2019-20 school year.

Ripley and his wife are the parents of two children, Bethany and Adam. They reside in Cadiz.

The board of education next meets on Wednesday, July 31 at 5 p.m.