Catching up with Kevin Bright
Michael D. Clark reports:
The man who led Mason Schools into a decade of academic excellence has moved on but not away from Ohio public education.
Former Mason Schools Superintendent Kevin Bright resigned from his leadership position last spring and moved to the northern Ohio school system of Lakewood to take the assistant superintendent’s position there and work side by side with a lifelong friend who is superintendent there.
“I do have a very different set of responsibilities here as assistant superintendent,” Bright said recently. “I am in charge of student achievement, athletics and recreation. These responsibilities help me to focus on the development of the whole child. Lakewood is a ‘first ring’ (suburban) school district bordered by Cleveland. It is a diverse community with 42 different languages and is a virtual melting pot on the shore of Lake Erie, which I can view from my office window.
“The population of the school district is roughly 6,000 students, or half the size of Mason,” Bright said.
Under Bright’s tenure – beginning in 1998 – the booming Mason district in Warren County was consistently one of the fastest-growing in Ohio and one of its top academic performers. Along the way, he guided the district through historic annual enrollment jumps that saw as many as 700 new students enroll.
Bright earned the Ohio Superintendent of the Year award in 2003.
Mason – along with Hamilton County’s Indian Hill and Wyoming school systems – are consistently noted as the academic leaders in Southwest Ohio.
Wyoming’s former superintendent Gail Kist-Kline took over Mason’s top job on Aug. 1.
Bright also helped Mason Schools lead the region in privatization agreements – primarily with Middletown’s Atrium Medical Center – that saw the first public-school sports stadium paired with an on-site, free-standing medical center. The state-of-the-art complex, which includes privately funded artificial turf, serves students and residents and would be the envy of many small colleges.
Mason under Bright also pioneered a regionally rare philosophy of school expansion. A “bigger is better” approach saw the district’s historic building growth in the last decade largely confine its high school, middle school and intermediate school into one expansive campus area along South Mason-Montgomery Road. District officials have noted millions of dollars in savings through consolidation and economies in scale as a result.
“Of course I miss Mason and what was accomplished there. I find myself thinking back to the systems that were implemented there in building a school district from the ground up,” Bright said.
“But above everything, I miss the relationships that I developed over the years. Places come and go, but the relationships and the memories are lasting.”
Posted in: Schools |