Buckeye Valley Superintendent Paul Craft recently completed his first semester with the district. On Tuesday, Craft said he believes the district is on its way to being one of the best in the state.
Craft previously served as the superintendent of Delaware City Schools for nine years and then as the CEO of Meta Solutions for three years before joining the district in August.
Craft said this week he feels “incredibly positive” about his first semester with the district.
“For the last three years I was in that CEO role,” Craft said. “I felt the work we were doing was important and was proud of what we were able to accomplish, but there was just an energy missing of being around students, of being around staff, and it’s been great getting back into a school environment, especially in this community.”
Craft said he was drawn to the Buckeye Valley community before the superintendent position was available.
“This is the community that my wife and I chose to move our kids to three years ago, long before I thought I’d have a chance to join the team,” Craft said. “We wanted that smaller town connected feel in this community. … Joining it as part of the team has been a great experience.”
Craft said the fall semester was a great semester for the district, and he’s proud of the football and volleyball team as well as the band, choir and theater students who performed “Radium Girls.” He said his favorite part of being at the district has been taking part in discussions about how best to serve students and improve the district.
“What’s been most gratifying is the conversations that I’ve been able to listen in on and be a part of,” Craft said. “People on the team talking about how we get better and how we can help our kids grow more. I feel like we’re at an inflection point in this district. We’re already really good. (We are in the) top 15% in the state of Ohio, but I feel like we’re on the cusp of taking a step forward that would put us as one of the best districts in the state because of the work I see this team doing.”
Craft said the biggest challenge facing the district is its continuing growth and finding space for all the new students.
“It’s obvious to anybody … more and more families are choosing to move to northern Delaware County. That growth, particularly the stress it puts on our facilities, is going to be a continuing challenge,” he said. “We have a facilities committee that is working to make recommendations to the board. … It’s going to require more classrooms than we have now.”
However, Craft said the growth is “a great problem to have.”
“The vast majority of districts in the state are losing enrollment,” he said. “We’re going to see growth for a long time.”
Looking ahead, Craft said his goals remain improving each student’s education, adding there is no single solution for improving student growth.
“It’s not one big thing but 1,000 little things that add up to something transformative,” he said. “(It’s about) how do we get a little better and a little better in a thousand different ways and all towards that same end of growing kids and setting them up for success after they graduate.”