Moran leaves student-centered legacy at Versailles


By Dawn Hatfield

TIPP CITY — Following an executive session during the Tipp City Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 20, the board unanimously voted to approve the finalized contract with Aaron Moran for the position of superintendent. Moran’s contract is for a duration of three years, set to begin on Aug. 1, 2023 and expire on July 31, 2026.

Moran has been the superintendent of Versailles Exempted Village Schools in Darke County since 2012. The Tipp City district has roughly twice the student population of the Versailles district according to Ohio Department of Education, but shares some similarities in comparatively high test scores and high family median income.

As reported by Dayton Daily News on March 8, the Tipp City Board of Education voted in January to non-renew the contract of Stefanik effective this summer. Stefanik has been superintendent since 2020 when he was hired over Moran, the other finalist for the position, three years ago.

This year, Moran was offered the contract after three of nine candidates were interviewed: Spencerville Schools Superintendent Cindy Endsley, Franklin-Monroe Schools Superintendent Jeremy Pequignot, and Moran, himself.

In a March 28 telephone interview with The Daily Advocate, Moran reflected on his proudest accomplishment at Versailles, saying, “To me, it’s just seeing the students have success. Whether it’s the academics, the musicals, the band, athletic programs, the art programs—it would be impossible to highlight all the successes. That’s what success is to me: seeing the kids be successful. I am really proud of their accomplishments.”

In going to Tipp City he stated, “That’s my goal. That’s what I’m about. I think we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for the kids to shine.” He continued, “I think they’ve got some challenges, but it’s a solid community that can rise to those challenges… I put challenges in front of me and find ways to make things better. It’s a good school, a good community already, but we can make it better,” said Moran.

“The facilities are gonna be a big one to tackle. They’ve got some aging facilities that need a lot of attention and focus put on those. That’s probably gonna be a big piece, to try and get the community to understand what the kids need to be successful and finding ways to be fiscally responsible to make those things happen.”

Regarding the passing of levies, Moran recalled, “In Versailles, just like anywhere else, it took four or five tries before the new school was passed back in the day, so it’s not like they were just going to do whatever [we wanted]. Communities want to know this is focused on kids, the needs of kids. And we need to be a little forward-thinking on what those needs are. Being transparent with costs and transparent with funds, and demonstrating that you are a caretaker of those funds, that you’re using them for students and that it’s not about making things nice for the adults but for taking care of kids [is crucial]. Eighty to 85 percent of budgets are people—labor and salary costs. It is a labor-intensive job, and we’ve got to focus on taking care of our staff so they can take care of our kids, but again, it’s ultimately, ‘What can we do to make this place better for kids?’ Everybody has a responsibility—our food service, our custodians, bus drivers, aides, teachers, administration, secretaries. Everybody has a responsibility in making school the best place for the students.”

When asked how he’d like to be remembered after more than a decade-long commitment to Versailles, Moran answered with humility, shifting the focus off himself to put others, especially students, in the spotlight once again. “There’s good people out there that will be better than I could be. For me, I just hope people are working to be the best they can be, the best version of themselves for the kids. If they do that, they’ll figure out what it takes to meet the needs of the kids, and the kids will be successful. The school is the flagship of Versailles, like in many communities. There is a lot of pride in the community surrounding the report card, state performances of our band and choir, sold-out shows to our theater productions (such as “Grease” this weekend), and so much more. There is pride in that, and I want those things to continue.”

Regarding the upcoming superintendent’s position in Versailles, Moran said, “The board actually has a meeting tomorrow night [March 29] to start that process. Something will be ready shortly that will be posted for applications, internal or external. I don’t know who might be interested in it, but it is a good district, a high-performing district that would be good for a lot of people.”

Closing out his final year as superintendent of Versailles Exempted Village Schools, Moran concluded, “I’m appreciative of the opportunity that was provided to me 11 years ago. I’ve learned a lot; I’ve grown as well, and hopefully I’ve made things better for kids. I appreciate all the support from the kids that have gone through the school system to the teachers and all the staff to the families and community that have been supportive of the school district and me to help make this a successful place for kids. I was happy to have the opportunity to show what I could do here.”

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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