People Watch

School Administrator, August 2019

Della M. Bell-Freeman
The new superintendent of Spokane R-VII School District in Highlandville, Mo., is Della Bell-Freeman. This is the first superintendency for Bell-Freeman, who previously served as assistant superintendent and principal in Montgomery, Mo. She spent most of her career in Moberly, Mo., in various roles including principal, curriculum chair and teacher. Bell-Freeman earned her Ed.D. in educational administration from Saint Louis University. She became a member of AASA in 2015.

Michele L. Dowell
After serving the 2,400-student Belle Vernon, Pa., Area School District as a principal for 10 years, Michele Dowell has been elevated to the district’s superintendency. She came to Belle Vernon from the Elizabeth Forward School District in Elizabeth, Pa., where she was an assistant principal. She also worked as director of special education and principal in Pittsburgh after a stint as special education and student services coordinator in Charlottesville, Va. A member of AASA since 2018, Dowell earned her Ed.D. in educational leader-ship from Youngstown State University.

Toni Jones
Greenwich, Conn., Public Schools has appointed Toni Jones as its new superintendent. Jones was previously superintendent of Fairfield, Conn., Public Schools and Falls Church, Va., City Public Schools and chief academic officer in Deer Creek, Okla. Shortly after beginning her career as a teacher in Reno, Nev., Jones spent five years working as a teacher and principal at a co-ed grammar in Sydney, Australia. Jones has been a member of AASA since 2011 and earned her Ed.D. in school administration and leadership from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.


Steven M. Lamarche
After nine years as superintendent in Bourne, Mass., Public Schools, Steven Lamarche is taking the reins of the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District in Dudley, Mass. Previously, Lamarche was director of accountability and operations and a middle school principal in Pembroke, Mass., and dean of students in Bourne. He began his career as a special education teacher in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Haverhill and Worchester, Mass. Lamarche became a member of AASA in 2010.


Kenneth W. Oertling
Formerly executive director of secondary schools in St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Luling, La., Ken Oertling is now its superintendent. Oertling has been with the school system for 18 years, serving as principal of Hahnville High School, assistant principal, administrative monitor, teacher and coach of girls basketball and track. He served six years in the Navy as a radio electronics technician before attending college. Oertling, an AASA member since 2010, earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.

Ellen S. Perconti
Ellen Perconti faces unfamiliar territory as she assumes the role as superintendent in Goldendale, Wash. Perconti previously held a dual superintendent position for a year with 211-student Grapeview, Wash., School District and 156-student Mary M. Knight School District in Matlock, Wash. This followed her work as a superintendent/principal of Knight following a similar setup at West Bonner County School District in Priest River, Idaho. Perconti became a member of AASA in 2016. She earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of Idaho.

Gary Bates, from superintendent, Goodrich, Texas, to superintendent, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas
William Christensen, from superintendent, Sidney, N.Y., to director of business development, Tamco Management Group, New York, N.Y.
William Collins, from superintendent, Newington, Conn., to superintendent, Ridgefield, Conn.
Keith Davis, from superintendent, Winfield, Ala., to superintendent, Sheffield, Ala.
Evan Gough, from assistant principal, Red Wing High School, Red Wing, Minn., to superintendent, Goodhue, Minn.
Jeffrey Greenley, from superintendent, Switzerland Local School District, Woodsfield, Ohio, to superintendent, Belpre, Ohio
Brad Sale, from assistant superintendent to superintendent, Parker, Ariz.
John Wink, from superintendent, Blue Ridge, Texas, to superintendent, Carthage, Texas

Rich Dahman, superintendent, Winona, Minn.
William Gathers, superintendent, Mercer, Pa.
Sue Givens, superintendent, El Dorado, Kan.
Robert Green, superintendent, Collinsville, Ill.
Guy Schumacher, superintendent, Libertyville, Ill.
Homer “Rick” Wentzel, superintendent, Livingston, La.
William M. “Bill” Powers, 94, retired superintendent, Needham, Mass., Jan. 31
M. Donald Thomas, 92, retired superintendent, Salt Lake City, Utah, Apr. 7
George E. Tombaugh, 76, retired superintendent, Westerville, Ohio, Feb. 20
Charlie Wiedenmann, 69, retired superintendent, Fairfield, Ohio, April 26

David Larson, superintendent, Glenbard Township High School District 87, Glen Ellyn, Ill., elected Academic Assembly representative to College Board’s Midwestern Regional Council
Matthew Miller, superintendent, Liberty Township, Ohio, recipient of NSPRA’s 2019 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents
Patrick Murphy, superintendent, Arlington, Va., recipient of NSPRA’s 2019 Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award
Arsenio Romero, superintendent, Deming, N.M., recipient of Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents’ Superintendent of the Year


News about AASA members’ promotions, retirements, honors and deaths should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: