Vantage board names Turner new supt.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
A Crestview and Vantage graduate who is also a veteran vocational school administrator has been hired to replace retiring Vantage Career Center Superintendent Staci Kaufman.
The Vantage Board of Education Thursday evening unanimously approved hiring Rick Turner as the school’s new superintendent, effective August 1. Turner has spent the past 32 years at Apollo Career Center, beginning in 1985, and has been director of adult programs for more than 11 years at the Lima area vocational school.
Vantage Board President Lonnie Nedderman said it was Turner’s extensive career technical school experience that set him apart from the other 16 candidates who applied for the superintendent’s position.
“We were looking for someone that had a career tech education background, which (Turner’s) was very strong, which some of the others did not,” Nedderman said. “That was one of the leading things we wanted to look at.
“Rick just interviewed very well and has a good sense of what’s needed in career teach,” Nedderman added. “And we wanted to strengthen our adult ed., and so he also has that.”
A Vantage employee who was pleased with the Turner’s hiring was Welding instructor Brent Wright, who is the Vantage Teachers Organization representative to the board.
“Right off the bat, I think, everybody, you made a good choice,” Wright said, who said to Turner: “You were my pick from the beginning.”
Turner, a graduate of Crestview High School and Vantage’s Machine Tool Technology program in 1979, also spoke briefly during the meeting.
“I’m honored to serve in this capacity and appreciate the opportunity,” he said, noting after the meeting that he is impressed with Vantage’s programs and hopes to build on that in the future.
In addition to working as a machinist, and later a machine shop foreman, for local toolmaking companies in the 1980s, Turner has a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from the University of Toledo, as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership and principal’s and superintendent’s licenses, all from the University of Dayton.
Turner, who began his vocational school career as a machine trades instructor in August 1985, spent nearly 11 years as a teacher before becoming Apollo tech prep coordinator in June 1996. He was manufacturing engineering technologies instructor at Apollo from May 1996 until May 2003, when he was named learning community leader at the school — the position he held prior to being named adult education director two years later.
Turner also holds two U.S. patents for machine work he has done during his career, and has been involved in grant writing and financial partnerships with area businesses during his time as Apollo adult education director He also serves as a member of the Allen County Workforce Investment Board and Area 8 Workforce Investment Board, which serves Van Wert, Mercer, Auglaize, and Hardin counties, is a past president of the Ohio Association of Career Technical Education, post-secondary division, and participated in state-level meetings related to the transfer of adult education from the Ohio Department of Education to the Ohio Board of Regents.
In addition to being named to the inaugural class of the Vantage Hall of Fame in 2016, Turner said in a cover letter seeking the superintendent’s position that, as a Convoy area native with multi-generational ties to the Van Wert County community, he felt he had unique perspectives and insights that would be assets in leading the Vantage district.
“I care deeply about the success and future of this community,” Turner said, noting that he still has involvement and ownership responsibilities related to his family’s farm in Harrison Township.