Monroe Schools superintendent moves into community

Decades ago, some Ohio public school systems would require — or at least request — superintendents reside within the district they led.

Though the practice has since faded, it remained a personal priority for third-year Monroe Schools Superintendent Robert Buskirk.

And after months of searching for the right home for his family, which includes school-age children now attending classes in Monroe, Buskirk recently moved in and now said the change was even more welcomed than he expected.

“I think when a school board and a community is trusting someone to be the leader of their district, then they are trusting me with a lot of responsibility with their kids and it means a lot for me to be part of the community,” said Buskirk.

Buskirk, whose family previously had lived in Lebanon where he was a top district official in that Warren County city prior to being hired by Monroe Schools, said he wanted to be more than “just somebody who is here during the day.”

“When I got hired three years ago, I had a lot of people reach out to me and tell me I had landed the best superintendent job in Butler County and I can’t disagree with that.”

Monroe Schools, which was created in 2000 through a split from the adjacent Middletown School system, has seen high enrollment growth in recent years as its original 1,500 student body has jumped to 3,000.

In recent years the district, which includes both the fast-growing city of Monroe and Lemon Twp. along the eastern border of Butler County, has struggled with overcrowding in its schools.

District officials have been waiting for more than two years to win state approval for new construction funds that would help pay for new schools to handle the increasing influx of students.

“There are times in any school district where you have ups and downs, but we have amazing kids and supportive families and we have a great relationship with our community partners and it has been a positive experience all around,” he said.

It’s a mutual sentiment held by Monroe Board of Education President Dave Grant, who said Burkirk’s move “shows me his commitment to the district and its community.”

“It also means it will let him be more attached to his commitment to the district and the whole school community because he’ll have his fingers on the pulse of the community,” said Grant.

The board has also solidified their employment bond with Buskirk by extending his original, two-year contract by an additional four years.

“We knew we made a great hiring decision three years ago,” said Grant. “And now that feeling has only been reinforced.”

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