Gary Chapman will become superintendent of the Jonathan Alder Local School District effective Aug. 1.
He replaces Doug Carpenter, who is retiring after 26 years.
Chapman started in special education in the Highland Local School District in Morrow County where he also served as head football coach in the 1990s. He served as an assistant principal for a year before moving to the Mount Vernon City Schools where he was an assistant principal at the high school from 2002-05.
He moved to Fredericktown where he served as the high school principal for four years. Two years ago he moved back to Mount Vernon where he became the director of teaching and learning.
Growing up in a family of educators, he said, lead him in into the education field. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and his master’s in educational administration in 2001 from Ashland University. He’s working toward his doctorate.
“I always wanted to be with the youth,” he said. “When I started at the middle school, I found I enjoyed the emotional and behavioral aspects as education as well as the academics.”
Coaching opened more doors for him in the education field.
“Coaching got me to understand the high school students better,” Chapman said.
He also learned a lot from the students he’s taught.
“One thing I’ve learned is that they challenge every part of your brain,” he said. “There is never a dull moment. It’s always challenging and exciting.”
Becoming a football coach only seemed natural a couple decades back when sports were one of his hobbies. But as time changed, so did some of his priorities.
“Now it’s being involved in activities,” he said. “It might be a wrestling mat, a baseball field or soccer field. My kids’ hobbies are now mine.”
This new assignment will find him in a smaller school – Mount Vernon has about 4,300 students whereas Jonathan Alder has about 2,200.
“It’s definitely a step up,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and a great challenge. But it’s not easy following Dr. Carpenter,” Chapman said. “What I’m excited about is that Dr. Carpenter will stay around for a while to show me the ropes. I don’t have any superintendent experience and with Dr. Carpenter as my mentor, he will help ease the fears of transition.”