SMF City School District Selects New Superintendent

Thomas Bratten called to lead the District in lieu of Dr. Jones’ upcoming retirement

STOW, OHIO—December 18, 2014 — At a special board meeting of the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District Board of Education held December 15, 2014, the Board unanimously chose to offer Thomas Bratten the position of superintendent for the District, replacing Dr. Russ Jones who is retiring January 30th after serving the district for nine years.

Bratten is a strong proponent for children, as well as a community leader and has a history as an outstanding educator and administrator. He entered the classroom in 1991 as an English teacher at Cincinnati Moeller High School in Cincinnati and has since held a variety of positions in various school districts, allowing him to experience many facets of the education field over the course of the last 23 years. Most recently, he has served as superintendent of Salem City Schools from 2009 to 2014. Immediately prior to that, he was an assistant principal, high school principal and director of career and technical education for Canton Local Schools from 2000 to 2009. Over the years, he has also served at Cincinnati Moeller High School, Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Marlington Local Schools and Louisville City Schools in a variety of positions, including English teacher, coach, assistant principal and athletic director.

Bratten has a bachelor's degree in secondary English education from Miami University, a master's degree in educational administration from Xavier University, his principal's license from the University of Akron; and his superintendent's license from Ashland University.

“The Board interviewed 10 excellent applicants for the Superintendent’s position over the last three weeks and felt that Tom was the perfect fit for our District,” said Fred Bonacci, President of the Board. “We are confident with Tom’s background and experience, knowing that he will be able to lead our District well for many years to come. We are all very excited that he accepted our offer.”

The search for a new superintendent began in September after Dr. Jones announced his plan to retire in 2015. To facilitate the search, the Board hired the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA), who led the search and received more than 20 applications for the position. During October, the OSBA worked with the District to conduct several focus groups to gather community input that, in turn, guided the Board’s deliberations. The focus groups were held with various facets of the Stow-Munroe Falls community, including District employees, community leaders, PTA members, and the general community. Finally in early November the pool was narrowed to 10. Of those 10, four finalists were chosen.

In a phone call on Thursday, Bratten thanked the Board members for the opportunity and their expression of confidence, and expressed how much he is looking forward to working with the Stow-Munroe Falls community.

“I consider myself to be extremely blessed and grateful to be working in a school district whose expectations for excellence are so high and apparent,” Bratten said. “This community, this School Board, Dr. Jones, these educators, these students, the district personnel – they have all contributed to building such a solid foundation. It is evident that they are all committed with their eyes firmly fixed on student achievement and opportunities. It is very exciting to be invited to be a part of it all. With the continued support of all stakeholders, I am confident that we will continue to do great things and I cannot wait to get started. I couldn’t be prouder or happier to be a Bulldog.”

Bratten will overlap with Dr. Jones for the month of January to ensure a smooth transition for the District.

For more information about Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools, visit or follow updates on Facebook at

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Bulldog Stadium to Close for Winter

SMF City School District saves money by closing facility for cold months

STOW, OHIO - December 1, 2014 - In order to save money and staff resources, the entire Bulldog stadium at Stow-Munroe Falls High School will be shut down for the winter. The stadium officially closed December 1 and will remain closed until at least March 1.

"It really came down to two factors: safety and money," said Mark Fritz, Director of Operations for the SMF City School District. "We're always looking for ways to use district money wisely. Shutting the facility down allows us to save a little bit of money by turning the temps in all of the buildings very low for those cold months."

Fritz went on to say that it also allows the district to reallocate labor  Instead of having his maintenance crew tending to snow removal at the stadium, he can move them to other, high-use areas on the high school campus.

The facility will reopen on March 1, weather permitting.  For more information, Fritz can be reached at 330-689-5413.

For more information about Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools, visit or follow updates on Facebook at

New Report Defines a High Quality Education

STOW, OHIO—September 15, 2014— Today, the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District joined 60 other school districts throughout Ohio in releasing a comprehensive, community-oriented companion to the ODE’s District Report Card. Called a “Quality Profile,” the report includes additional accountability measures that better define a high quality education and are not included in the state’s report.

The Quality Profile examines the elements of a high-quality public education, as defined by surveys of the general public. The report’s content is divided into six categories: academics, arts, student leadership and activities, fiscal stewardship, parent and community involvement, and student services.

“We like the Quality Profile because it gives a broader context for all that we offer our students,” said Dr. Russ Jones, SMF Schools Superintendent. “The ODE Report Card certainly has its place in offering standardized benchmarks for district performance, but we want our residents to get a better glimpse of the things that make SMF Schools an excellent place for an education. This report gives us a platform to do just that.”

The result is an expanded report that describes, in detail, the programs and opportunities available to students of the SMF school system.

Now, in its second year of development and being released statewide for the first time, the Quality Profile is supported by the Alliance for High Quality Education, an education consortium that works to improve educational opportunities for students.

For more information about Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools, visit or follow updates on Facebook at                          

Superintendent Jones Announces his Retirement

STOW, OHIO—September 8, 2014— Russell D. Jones, Ed.D. announced his retirement from his post as the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District’s Superintendent at Monday night’s regular Board of Education meeting. After serving for nine years as superintendent for the district, Dr. Jones will retire so that he can pursue other interests, effective January 30, 2015.

“Russ has never wavered in his passion and dedication to the students, employees and teachers in this district,” said School Board President Fred Bonacci. “He came to work each day full of energy, ready to take on whatever each day would bring. He was such a pleasure to work with over the last two-and-a-half years.”

Superintendent Jones was appointed to the role in February 2006 and has served the district through a number of transitions, including facility improvements, contract negotiations, and a levy passage.  Most importantly, Dr. Jones' leadership was rooted in his strong desire to see that all SMF students had the best opportunity for academic success.  During his tenure with SMF Schools, Superintendent Jones successfully implemented a number of initiatives that have raised the level of academic rigor in the district, including:

  • Creation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) track at Indian Trail Elementary;
  • Oversight of the highest performance index in SMF Schools history as well as the first district-wide Excellent and Excellent with Distinction designations, and the first AP Honor Roll at the high school;
  • Implementation of foreign language programs starting in 2nd grade;
  • Initiating a strategic planning process for the first time and then guiding the district through two 5-year strategic plans;
  • Establishing "instructional alignment" throughout the district;
  • Pioneering a collaborative approach to district leadership through a District Leadership Team and Building Leadership Teams; 
  • Utilization of new technologies in the classroom, including a district-wide transition to a more paperless system in the Google platform; and
  • Established Stow-Munroe Falls High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

 “What a privilege it has been to lead in the SMF City School District,” Dr. Jones reflected. “I’m proud of our graduates and the impact they are having on the world around them as they pursue their chosen career paths. Of course, leaving will be bittersweet but I have the utmost confidence in the Board, as well as the talented teachers and committed principals who guide the district. Our students are in good hands.”

The Board plans to begin the search process for Dr. Jones’ replacement immediately. Conversations have begun with the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) to ensure the use of best practices in the superintendent search process. Bonacci said that the search would include qualified internal candidates, as well as external candidates. He anticipates hiring by the end of 2014 so that the new superintendent can overlap with Dr. Jones for one month, ensuring a smooth transition.

“It has been my honor to work with Dr. Jones,” Bonacci concluded before turning his attention to thoughts of the upcoming search. “He will always have a place in my heart. I wish him the best in his retirement and I hope he finds joy in the next phase of his life.”

For more information about Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools, visit or follow updates on Facebook at

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A Word from the Superintendent

9/9/14 - Announcement to the Community

Dear Friends:

At the September 8 Board of Education meeting, I announced that I will retire from my position as superintendent effective January 30, 2015.

It has been my honor to serve as y...

[read the blog]

Recognizing Excellence

We are extremely proud of our students, teachers, staff and administration. And, apparently, many of them are being recognized inside and outside the district for various accomplishments. We like to let the community know when such accomplishments are recognized, so we've dedicated a whole section of our website to these successes! Click here to discover all the many great things that our students and staff are doing to improve themselves, their community, and, in some cases, the world!

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