Lakota West HS names replacement for retiring principal

WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - The Lakota Board of Education has named a replacement for current Lakota West High School principal Richard Hamilton, who is retiring after this school year.

The Board unanimously approved the appointment of Elgin Card, who is currently the associate principal at Lakota West High School's Freshman Campus. The appointment was based on the recommendation of Superintendent Karen Mantia.

"Mr. Card is a strong, compassionate leader who has shown that his top priority is helping students succeed by nurturing them, inspiring them and engaging with them," Mantia said. "He has an exceptional ability to create a rapport with students while also clearly and firmly conveying his expectations to them."

Mantia emphasized that the job requires many skills and talents. He will have to oversee 230 teachers, administrators and other staff members at both campuses, about 2,600 students and a complex schedule involving about 200 courses and activities. In addition, he will need endurance and a supportive family because he's likely to be at school events four out of seven nights a week.

Card said that, as a leader, one of his top priorities is to build relationships with people, including staff, students and parents. He makes five to 10 phone calls a week to parents to tell them something positive about their child. That way, when he has to have a difficult conversation with them, such as when their child has a disciplinary issue, he has already established trust.

His leadership style involves making his expectations clear to students and staff, then giving them freedom to perform. He likes to have "conversations" with people who repeatedly fall below expectations.

Card has been the top administrator at the Freshman Campus since September 2011, reporting to Hamilton. From 2007 to 2009, he served as assistant principal at Lakota West's main campus.

Between those two periods with Lakota, he served as a grade-level principal at Princeton High School in Hamilton County. Earlier, he taught in the Princeton schools and served as an interim freshman principal at Princeton High school.

He started his career in public education by teaching social studies and history for grades 5 through 8 at Miami Trace Local School in Fayette County.

He has also served as an assistant football coach at Lakota West, Princeton and Miami Trace high schools.

He is licensed by the State of Ohio to be a principal for grades pre-kindergarten to 12. He also is licensed as an elementary teacher for grades one through eight and as a history teacher for grades seven through 12. And he is licensed to be a superintendent.

He has a bachelor degree in elementary and secondary education from Urbana University. He earned his master of educational administration from Xavier University.

The Board approved a two-year contract for Card, who will be paid $100,000 annually.

Card, 42, lives with his wife, Holly, and their children in Liberty Township. Two of his daughters attend Lakota schools.

He will take Hamilton's place, starting August 1st.

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