By Dawn Hatfield
VERSAILLES — At a special board meeting on Friday, May 12, 2023, the Board of Education announced their selection of Dave Harmon as Versailles Exempted Village Schools’ next Superintendent. BoE President Matt Magoto said in a district letter, “We are confident that with Dave’s leadership, we will continue to grow and achieve the great success that we all expect at Versailles Schools. The details of what the transition plan will look like is still being worked out. Thank you to everyone that was involved in the interviewing/selection process. Congratulations and welcome, Dave!”
Shortly thereafter, Dave Harmon posted to friends and family on Facebook, “… I am so INCREDIBLY humbled and honored to officially announce that at tonight’s Special Board of Education meeting, the Versailles Exempted Village School District’s Board of Education voted to hire me as their Superintendent for the coming 2023-2024 school year and beyond. Humbled. Honored. …and THRILLED to get after it with a tremendous team of educators and staff that are LASER focused on doing great things for kids! Let’s Goooooo Tigers!”
Per his profile on LinkedIn, Harmon is currently Chief of Human Resources at Dayton Public School District where he has been employed since November 2020.
Prior to his present title, he held the position of Superintendent at Benjamin Logan Local School District from July 2015 to July 2020, a contract that was terminated early after Harmon was placed on paid administrative leave April 20, 2020, as reported by Bellefontaine Examiner in a May 8, 2020, article titled, “Personnel file chronicles board’s lack of confidence in outgoing superintendent.”
Harmon’s additional career experience includes Curriculum Consultant, Fairbanks Local Schools, August 2014 to June 2015; Assessment and Data Analysis Consultant, Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District, August 2014 to June 2015; and Director of PK-12 Curriculum and Instruction, North Union Local School District, July 2013 to June 2015.
He currently holds Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Educational Leadership from The University of Findlay (2018) and the University of Dayton (2015), respectively. Harmon’s background also includes Elementary Education and Superintendency and Educational System Administration.
When Versailles BoE President Magoto was asked on May 17, 2023, to comment on Harmon’s forced administrative leave and early resignation from Benjamin Logan Local School District, he replied, “Mr. Harmon was selected as part of a vigorous process that included written materials and a two-step interview. The Board conducted substantial due diligence through the selection process, including reviewing references and fact-checking candidates’ backgrounds. Board members conferred with trusted advisors and leaders in the education field regarding the candidates. Several staff members were involved in the interviewing process. The Board wanted to ensure that this was an inclusive and open process. We specifically investigated Mr. Harmon’s background and found that he is a person of integrity and high morals and ethics. After conducting this thorough review, we are confident in Mr. Harmon’s abilities to lead our district.”
Per the May 8, 2020, Bellefontaine Examiner article, “Three written rebukes issued by the Benjamin Logan Schools’ board of education to its superintendent over the course of about six weeks beginning in early March detail a deteriorating relationship between school board members and superintendent Dave Harmon.” The article continues, “The school board provided a written assessment to Harmon March 2  detailing a number of problems that members had identified with his job performance. Two formal written reprimands followed on April 6 and 20  — the second of which came on the same day Harmon was placed on paid administrative leave.”
At a May 4  special meeting, the Benjamin Logan Schools’ board of education approved a severance package with Harmon that resulted in his resignation as superintendent, effective July 31, 2020, per Bellefontaine Examiner. In exchange for his letter of resignation, the board agreed to pay Harmon 10 months of his remaining salary. “In all, the district will pay Harmon at least $149,065 to resign as superintendent; and that’s assuming he finds ‘comparable employment’ that would pay at least $115,000 per year by June 1, 2021,” the article reported.
According to Bellefontaine Examiner, in the days immediately following Harmon’s placement on leave, the school board cited “substandard leadership and a lack of organizational direction” as reasons for the decision. In addition to citing a failed November 2019 levy, missed deadline for annual business plan submission, and lack of evidence of weekly staff meetings, the article reported that a “March 2  letter of assessment asserts that in his four-plus years as superintendent, Harmon, ‘has not set a clear District Vision and Strategy for the success of the District,’ and that the school district was, ‘trending backward in curriculum, finances and planning for the District and its staff under his leadership.’” The Bellefontaine Examiner also reports Harmon had been given a five-year contract in 2017.
Since leaving Benjamin Logan Schools in 2020, Harmon has applied for numerous Superintendent positions in the state, including, Marlington Local School District, per The Repository on June 24, 2020; Kenston Local School District, per Chagrin Valley Times on June 2, 2022; Reynoldsburg City Schools per The Columbus Dispatch on Dec. 7, 2022; Tipp City Exempted Village Schools per Dayton Daily News on March 6, 2023; and, most recently, Avon Lake Schools where, according to The Chronicle-Telegram on March 16, 2023, the two finalists, one of whom was Harmon, were “interviewed first by faculty and staff members and then by the roughly 60 members of the community in attendance.”
This lies in contrast to the hiring process in Versailles where examination of all 2023 BoE minutes resulted in no public mention of Harmon nor other candidates for the upcoming position of Superintendent in the district.
According to openpayrolls.com, “David Harmon worked as a Superintendent Assignment for Benjamin Logan Local and in 2020 had a reported pay of $113,404 according to public records. This is 94.8 percent higher than the average pay for school employees and 63.5 percent higher than the national average for government employees;” whereas, outgoing “Aaron Moran worked as a Superintendent Assignment for Versailles Exempted Village and in 2021 had a reported pay of $120,000 according to public records. This is 106.1 percent higher than the average pay for school employees and 73.0 percent higher than the national average for government employees.”
Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.