Tallmadge High School principal announces retirement, assistant principal promoted

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Next school year, Tallmadge High School will have a new principal and assistant principal.

During the Tallmadge Board of Education meeting April 16, the Board voted to accept the resignation of Principal Rebecca DeCapua, who is retiring effective June 30, and approve the promotion of Assistant Principal Michael Householder to the position.

"I am proud to 'graduate' with the Class of 2014. They have shown great leadership and creativity," DeCapua, 61, of Copley, told the Tallmadge Express. "While the thought of retirement brings with it many bittersweet feelings, I am happy to be leaving after such a wonderful year. My leaving is really just about having more time for family, friends, myself and to not hear the alarm buzz each morning at 5 a.m."

Before joining Tallmadge City Schools as principal of the high school during the 2006-07 school year, DeCapua taught English at Goodyear Junior High School and East High School in the Akron City School District. The past 20 years of her career have been in administration at Akron North High School, Garfield High School in Akron and now Tallmadge High School.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as principal of Tallmadge High School. It has given me the opportunity to work in a community where everyone works together in the best interest of the kids. For that I will be forever grateful," she said.

DeCapua makes an annual salary of $98,532, according to Treasurer Jeff Hostetler.

"We have been really blessed to have Becky here for eight years as she has really helped moved the high school forward in a great deal of areas," Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said.

Although Ferguson said DeCapua's retirement will be a "great loss," he expects Householder's transition to the principal job will be seamless.

Looking back at time in TallmadgE

Throughout her tenure at THS, DeCapua has many accomplishments to revel in and memories to cherish.

"My greatest accomplishment is the ability to recognize the talents of others," she said. "Principals are not successful without the assistance and efforts of others, and any success we have had is due to the contributions of all -- that includes staff, students, parents and community members. I have been blessed to work with dedicated and committed people."

She said she's proud of the district's 'Excellent' rating from the Ohio Department of Education, which it has earned for the past eight years, the high school's increased ACT scores and additional Advanced Placement course offering, not to mention U.S. News and World Report's rankings of THS in the top 10 percent of high schools in Ohio and across the country in 2012 and top 12 percent in 2013.

As part of her legacy, she also leaves the implementation of the Professional Learning Communities program, which enables teachers to work together on lesson design and skill mastery for students; Freshman Orientation program that gives students an opportunity to become acclimated with high school; and Senior-Freshmen Mentorship program that pairs incoming freshmen with an upperclassman to smooth the transition into high school.

Ferguson said she also has helped create an engineering program for students in sixth through 12th grades, which is one of the few programs of its kind in public schools in Summit County. The program is called Gateway to Technology at the middle school and Project Lead the Way at the high school.

"I have to say that when I think about it, there are more things that I will miss than I will not," she said. "And I think it is good to retire while the plus column is greater than the minus column."

She looks forward to a retirement that includes time for travel year-round.

"As an educator, it is never possible to travel while school is in session so the first thing I am looking forward to is a vacation in the fall," she said. "My husband and I will be traveling with good friends on a river cruise down the Danube."

Assistant Principal takes the helm

Householder's two-year employment contract for the principal position begins Aug. 1. He'll make an annual salary of $93,840, according to Board documents.

"I'm very excited for this opportunity," Householder said at the meeting while thanking the Board, school district administration and DeCapua herself.

He has been with Tallmadge Schools for nearly 20 years, first as a special education teacher at the middle school, and has been assistant principal at the high school for the past 16 years.

Householder was the only candidate the school district administration interviewed to replace DeCapua.

"At the point that Mrs. DeCapua expressed her desire to retire, having known Mike as Becky's assistant for the last eight years, I wanted to just sit and interview him," Ferguson said. "Really, he's demonstrated to me a readiness to take over this leadership role. At the point that I interviewed him, I knew he was the man for the job."

Ferguson said Householder will continue with the direction the high school is on by further increasing students' ACT scores and AP course offerings, among other programs that have been implemented during her tenure.

He has been the lead facilitator for the school district's ALICE training that focuses on handling situations involving active shooters and other crises and a leader of the College Readiness Program for high school students. Ferguson hopes to fill the assistant principal's position Householder is vacating by June. The job will be open to internal and external candidates.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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