Huron board hires deputy schools superintendent

A divided Huron school board voted Tuesday to hire a deputy superintendent to lead the district while Fred Fox is on paid leave.
Jessica Cuffman
Jul 26, 2012

A divided Huron school board voted Tuesday to hire a deputy superintendent to lead the district while Fred Fox is on paid leave.

John Fernbaugh will start in the position Aug. 1.

Fernbaugh was most recently superintendent at Woodmore Schools in Sandusky County last year. He has held similar positions at four other Ohio districts.

The board met for about 45 minutes in a closed-door executive session before later voting to hire Fernbaugh when it reconvened in open session on Tuesday.

For more on this story and an update on the Fox situation, pick up a copy of Thursday's Register.


Oh come one now...

It is a "per diem" agreement, so he isn't being paid for 52 weeks a year - just the weeks he works.


This whole thing is a mess.  I'm no expert, but there had to be a better way to handle this entire situation that wouldn't have resulted in the lawsuits, $50k legal bills, and the hiring of two people to do one job.  Poor leadership all the way around.  Not to mention the burning - or at the very least tarnishing - of the relationship w/ Mr. Nelson & Kalahari.  I find it hilarious when folks here and elsewhere claim (as Informed/Tax Raider et al. have) that "nothing has been said about Nelson..."  By definition, a kickback accusation (or favorable tax abatement, as stated in the original report) implicates two people..  did you really think Mr. Nelson wouldn't be offended by this accusation?

Also - why haven't they started the termination proceedings already?  What is the hold up there?




Common Cents ... you are so right this whole thing is a mess and there were other options the Board could have exercised to handle this issue,  if they had the ability to work together as a team.  It is very typical of a Board to hire an independent person or persons to investigate a treasurer or superintendent, I wonder why an auditing firm had not been used.  I wonder why the Board President didn't submit the concerns to the Ethics commission instead of bringing in the law firm, that is the responsibility of the Board President. 

Mr. Nelson and Kalahari have done nothing wrong.  It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to be consistant and fair with tax abatements, all businesses in Huron should be offerred the same tax abatement, in percentage form.  Obvisiously a large organization like Kalahari will realize a larger $$$ savings than a small business but all business owners should be treated equally.  It was the Board of Education, at that time, that voted on the tax abatement, not Fred Fox.   Mr. Nelson has the right to give away rooms, meals, golfing, the furniture, or whatever he desires but the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Teacher's Code of Conduct spell out that public employees can not accept goods or services greater than $25.  Again, this was the responsiblity of those educators who went on the trip to Wisconsin to know and practice the rules -- if they did accept free golf and rooms reduced below what is offerred to the general public, they were wrong. 

Tsu Dho Nimh

I believe the hold up in the termination process is the vote.  A 4-1 is needed  and all we can get at this point is 3-2.  The two board members should own some of the responsibility for why this is costing so much.  They keep defending Mr. Fox's actions as not being serious enough for termination when they have been part of the problem.  They created the environment for Mr. Fox to act the way he did.  Fox and Asher have been buddies since high school.

Tsu Dho Nimh

TaxRaider says

What is next?  Will we continue to attempt to intimidate those individuals who question the practices of Huron Schools administrators and Board Members (past and present)?  ... 


Wouldn't surprise me a bit.  It is clear that some members of the  board (past and present) do not play well with others and are taken back that anyone would dare question their actions.  Kudo's to Mrs. Catri for speaking out through the Register and the Huron Hometown News.  I imagine that the original three stooges (Asher, Caporini, and Bulea) will get some of their flunkies to start their intimidation techniques.  Doesn't she know that no one is to speak out and we just sweep bad behavior under the carpet here in Huron?

I think even Sold on Greek would agree with me on this one.


TR: I agree with most everything you said, and your final conclusion leads right back to my original point.  You concede that Mr. Nelson/Kalahari did nothing wrong, and that Mr. Fox had nothing to do with the tax abatements.  He was just wrong for accepting discounted golf.  So, the Huron BOE decided to upend a school system and suspend (with pay) a superintendent who over the past 6 years had led the schools from being in terrible fiscal shape and slightly above average academic rating to a system with a million dollar surplus and excellent academic ratings, because he accepted some discounted golf from a local businessman.  A businessman who appears to be quite a generous fellow anyway, so much so that he had just built the Huron Schools a brand new football stadium? 

This is the definition of poor leadership.  I can see no reasonable explanation for not simply submitting the questionable acceptance of gifts to the ethics commission, and waiting for their response without the expense and setbacks to the progress of the school system, and the public embarrassment of all involved.  But, I suppose the current situation is what you get when the people elected to run the schools are incompetent leaders.   Effective leadership takes vision, and clearly the BOE does not have it. I believe this was the reason the Ethics comission was formed in the first place, for the benefit of THE SCHOOLS, THE TAXPAYERS, AND THE KIDS.  


Common cents, you are forgetting about the improper use of school district resources and time to conduct an affair.  Also a violation of professional ethics.

You sound as if you don't think the public has a right to know what has transpired and that the board should have just kept quiet about the whole thing.  As a taxpayer in Huron, I could not disagree with you more.  We have a right to know exactly what has taken place, embarrassing or not.  The only people that should be embarrassed are Fox, the Fremont principal (whose husband, btw, insists she didn't have an affair with Fox, HA!), and Asher and Caporini.

It wouldn't have mattered what direction the board took, if Fox was going to be reprimanded or terminated he would have fought it.  He is the one costing the district money, no one else.


No, I haven't forgotten about the alleged improper use of resources.  People around here seem to forget that word, alleged.  As I said before, anyone who has dealt with ethical issues in the past knows that it is not as black and white as most poeple think.  You have drawn the conclusion that ethics violations occurred, and I'm not saying they haven't, but I am saying that just because you, or a certain board member, or a law firm without power of arbitration, or anyone else says they have, that doesn't make it so.  A contract employee is entitled to due process prior to termination of the contract.  This is the reason the Ethics Commission exists.  

And I do think the public has a right to know. The results of the investigation by the Ethics Commission WOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLIC, when it was concluded.  And, the Huron Schools would not be out $50k, and they would not currently be paying two supers to do one job.

I also think the public has a right to have their tax dollars valued by elected officials charged with doing so.  As a taxpayer, the wasted expense on this is more concerning to me than the ill-advised public airing of the incident.  Has it even been officially reported to the commission yet???  Again, the results of a FREE investigation by the Ohio Ethics committee would/will be made public.  What conerns me more is the poor leadership by THE ENTIRE BOE (I'm not singling out any of them, as everyone else seems to do).  


Informed... you personally know the husband of he Fremont administrator?  You should get your facts straight before commenting.  I know that there is far more to this story then anyone is saying.  It is all speculation.  Fox has not been charged as far as anyone knows and he will sit on it get paid for two years while Huron figures it out.  Way to go...!!!!


Those emails were not speculation.  They were right there in black and white.  Look at the dates and times on them.  Read the content.  And as a matter of fact, I do know the husband.


So when Fox and the Fremont Prinicipal were talking in their emails about their agreement that they can end their relationship at anytime, and that it may take wine or drugs to get them through that, that was appropriate email between a mentor and his "mentee"?  Give me a break!



Really...this situation must really bother you. What do the e-mail have to do with with anything that is going on in Huron..people at work e-mail all the time..these were just made public.  It is their families that suffer not the Huron School. That is on them.  Look at the bigger picture that is happening in Huron.  I too know the husband very well. Great man! 

Oh come one now...

Common Cents - if the other 2 board members and Mr. Fox had been capable of and willing to acknowledge the wrongdoing, things would have likely have gone differently.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Oh Come One...excellent point!


Clearly, the superintendent disagrees that his offenses were fireable (he may even disagree that he even committed any ethics violations, but that is neither here nor there).  A competent BOE should have anticipated this development, as most people who are accused of wrongdoing have alternate interpretations of the facts.  Hence, the process of arbitration or judicial review.  The BOE also should have known that the field of ethics is not as black and white as most people believe. That is the reason the state has an indpendent Ethics commission, so they can decide if there was a violation, if it was terminable, etc etc. 

Bottom line, the BOE should have known this, and handled it better.  That is part of the challenge of being the elected leader of an organization.     

Oh come one now...

My understanding is it has been reported, and it could take up to two years for a ruling.

Tsu Dho Nimh


I was starting to worry about you. Wasn't sure if you were ill or out of town for a few weeks ; )


 Hey, stop picking on my namesake. AARP will bring up a lawsuit to protect the right of a bunch of old geezers to cackle the morning away.  Got to love small town America.

PS, Don't drop your sprinkles on the floor.

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Hahaha.. Not picking at all. Was commending the group on their common sense.

The 'Shop' is a great 'straw poll' !

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Was just lurking.. waiting around for the state to make some kind of decision is definately going to take some time. Ever been to the license bureau ? lol.. (Was waiting for you to post.. lol)..

I would like to see all of the email from everyone who was at work when it was written or received. All of it ! Dates.. Times.. All are irrelevant in this case as there are no 'set' hours to the superintendent's job. To us 'normal' working stiffs 8-5.. 9-5.. Whatever.. does not apply. A super works odd hours depending on where/when they are needed.

Having said that I do agree that email that is provided by the employer should not be used for personal use.

So.. That is a reason to fire someone ? How about warning them first ? How about asking them not to do it anymore ?

Because Fred Fox is the CEO of the school district he receives no warnings ? He is not told what is expected of him by the board of ed before attempting to fire him ? He is not told 'privately' what he has done wrong before it is blasted in the press ? He's not entitled to any of these expectations of any employee ?

Anyone who is crucifying Fred Fox REALLY needs to put themselves in Fred Fox's shoes and see if they are throwing stones in their own glass houses.



When you combine the emails with the fact that he took gifts above $25 (which again violates code of ethics), then no, he didn't deserve a warning first.  He is the head of the school district.  If he doesn't have enough sense not to do these things, then he shouldn't have the job.


Informed .... that you are!!!  The emails are inappropriate in many ways:  time and date, content, and on school property, even if they were sent from home, the email system belongs to the school district.  A reasonable prudent person understands what is being said in the emails, just ask anyone's significant other how they would feel if these emails were being sent between their "spouse" and another person. Emails also show the golf was free as well.   Informed, don't forget about the Arizona trip and the questionable reimbursements.  The emails and reimbursements are documented!  How many rules does a person need to break before action is taken?  If Fred Fox had done one of these things, a warning or written reprimand may be appropriate but collectively they show there is a big problem.  What other incidents are there that remain undiscovered?



"To us 'normal' working stiffs 8-5.. 9-5.. Whatever.. " 

Arn't you the same Sold who less than a month ago stated you owned you own business and was able to retire early because you were so good at what you did?


So what is it - retired and able to spout off on this blog all day and night and defend Fred Fox or a normal working stiff who spouts off on this blog when not on the clock?


Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

While I'm flattered that you read what I write, I'm not as thrilled with your revisionist history.

This story is not about me, but.. I owned my own business for 25 years and yes.. I'm lucky enough to be retired. Having said that I still consider myself to be among the normal 'working stiffs' as that is what I have been all of my life.

Normal 'working stiffs' have trouble understanding someone on call 24 hours a day. Normal 'working stiffs' have trouble understanding how teachers get paid for 12 months while working 9. Normal 'working stiffs' have trouble understanding anything that has never been a part of their lives.. And yes.. I consider myself a 'normal working stiff', but one who has been educated in several ways about the educational community.


I'm having a real problem understanding the anger displayed here for anything that Fred Fox 'allegidly' did ? The 'facts' are that the state will decide the merit of these issues and then we can all debate the outcome. In the interim I would like to go over the Fred Fox case one more time.

'Toolgate' - Alleged theft of tools and a bus ? Fred Fox was supposed to investigate and then everything came back ? Oh wait. This was just another rumor, but not something that is being investigated. Arizona Trip - Fred Fox does not authorize his own reimbursment so I would be looking elsewhere to place blame if in fact there is a problem with reimbursement. I was of the understanding that when a problem was found, that Fred Fox paid it back ? The Affair - If you have followed along on here, you know how I feel about this 'alleged' affair. Even with the 'top secret' emails.. Who cares ? Fred Fox is her mentor and fellow administrator. They are both human. Who does this really concern ? I have stated before that no matter when these emails were sent or received that it would be hard to say if Fred Fox was on or off the clock because of his 24/7 schedule. And really.. Besides their spouses and children.. who does this 'alleged' affair affect ? If Fred Fox has put effective people in place around him they continued to do their jobs, (at least between their gossiping about Fred Fox). The Golf Trip - Once again.. A golf discount for a friend who is on their own time and dime is NOT A CRIME.

Did I forget anything haters ?

Let's wait and see what the 'experts' say.


'So what is it - retired and able to spout off on this blog all day and night and defend Fred Fox or a normal working stiff who spouts off on this blog when not on the clock?'

Tmm.. What the heck does this mean ? If it really made a difference to anyone what I do then you would be waisting your employer's time writing about me instead of Fred Fox. I'm a retired 'working stiff' who was lucky enough to have my own company and to be able to retire. Does this change the way I feel about Fred Fox.. or about you ?  


Sold, in regard to #3--You ask who does the affair really concern?  Well since he wasted my tax dollars conducting it, it concerns me and every other tax payer in Huron.  Who did this affair affect?  Well, apparently Tanny Von Thron, since he used her as his excuse which led to people thinking she was his mistress.  It also affects anyone who was trying to contact him (teachers, staff, or parents) but couldn't because he was out meeting with her.

In regard to #4--Taking gifts may not be a crime, but the code of ethics is black and white--he cannot accept anything over $25 in value from someone the district does business with.  Look it up.

As far as "toolgate" goes, anyone that doesn't admit that stinks to high heaven if out of his mind.  That nneds to be reinvestigated by law enforcement that don't have any connections to the district. 

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...


I would be very interested to see what Tanny Von Thron's master's degree is in. Superentendency ?

I agree that 'toolgate' needs to be looked into and finally laid to rest as the gossip that it is !


Sold, well I'm sure her master's is in education, just like every other educator.  What does that have to do with anything?  You do realize she was a special education teacher at the high school before she became principal of the elementary school, and a very fine one at that.


I now get the picture Sold...You are a retired POS who will defend a school administrater to no end regardless of what they have done.  You obviously dislike teachers based on your comments about them being paid for 12 months while only working 9.  Thats the profession they choose.  Thats the way the profession works.  They went to college, worked hard, got the degree, passed the state boards, and go to work educating or at the least trying to educate americas children...or at least that is how it is done everywhere else but Huron, OH where the teachers go to work doing their job while their Super is out and about sitting in his vehicle getting a BJ or in Fremont on a desk with the Principle after a nice lunch.  Let me ask you Sold where would you be without teachers?   I know, I know you are a self made person who has done everything on their own.

Hate to tell you but most people who have owned their own business and can retire after 25 years don't consider themselves working stiffs.   I'm certainly not saying they arn't hard workers  but a working stiff they are not.  A working stiff is someone who comes to work day in and day out, busts their a$$ so they can live paycheck to paycheck with no future of retiring after 25 years.   Most working stiffs have little to no job skills so they are stuck working a job someone who isn't a working stiff would never take.

I'll give you a heads up again Sold...I will be docked down at the boat basin this weekend directly behind the stage.  Stop by and we can discuss face to face instead of this blog.  There will be a few teachers down there as well who would love to hear your ideas on how they can work harder to make you happy.


Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

You know, Tmm.. You continue to attack me and what I say but you totally revise it to fit your own bias.

#1 - I said 'working stiffs' have trouble understanding that teachers get paid for 12 months while only working 9 months.

Tmm.. I didn't say I didn't understand that their pay is distributed over 12 months and they really are paid for 9. If my generlizing got you mixed up, this 'working stiff' understands.

I have great friends who are teachers, Tmm, and without teachers I would not have personally taken what they taught me and found my niche in this world.

I worked for it, Tmm. I don't know what self employed people you know that don't work ? I worked everyday, (including holidays), for 25 years and now.. I am reaping the benefits.

Apparently you've done all right, too as you at least have a boat.

The comments on this blog have nothing to do with teachers. What it does have to do is with the wasting of tax payer dollars from the property owners in Huron, Ohio. This board has wasted plenty and continues to do so.

So.. Enjoy the weather, Tmm..

Tsu Dho Nimh


Glad to see you are okay.  Again,  I wasn't sure if you "called off sick" or took a trip across the country : )