New principal hails from Delaware

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Darren Fillman is the new principal at London Middle School.

“I’m excited about being principal here and becoming an active part of the community,” said Darren Fillman, the new principal at London Middle School.

Fillman signed a two-year contract on July 15 at a special meeting of the London Board of Education. His first day on the job is Aug. 1. He replaces Mark Elliott who resigned after serving the district for 10 years.

“London is a rural community so it naturally was an attraction to me,” Fillman said of his interest in the London Middle School job. “Also, it was an opportunity to step into a principal role and a chance to improve achievement.”

Fillman has been assistant principal at Orange Middle School in the Olentangy Local School District in Delaware for the last four years. He was involved in the opening of Orange Middle School, created and supervised intervention programs in reading and math, and created professional development activities and strategies for teachers.

Prior to becoming assis-tant principal, Fillman taught math for seven years at Liberty Middle School in the Olentangy School District and social studies for one year at Galion Middle School in the Galion City School District.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Ohio Wesleyan University and his master’s degree in education from Ashland University. He also completed a building administration certification pro-gram at Ashland for the elementary and middle school levels.

Fillman grew up in Newcomerstown, Ohio. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Delaware. They have two daughters, Cassie, 7, and Rachel, 5.

A total of 79 individuals applied for the middle school principal job. Superintendent Steve Allen conducted first-round interviews with nine applicants, then narrowed the field to five. One of the five accepted another position, leaving four for second-round interviews with board members, staff, and community representatives. The 30 interview-ers were broken into groups to talk to each candidate, after which they ranked the candidates.

“Darren was first or second with every group,” Allen said.

The other candidates for the job included Jim Albanese, assistant principal at Jonathan Alder High School, Jeff Beane principal at Miami View School in South Charleston, and Adelle Faulkner, assistant principal at London Elementary.

As for why Fillman stood out, Allen said, “We had to have someone who understood the concept of value-added, which is one year’s growth for each child. We had to have someone who knew what kind of data is best to collect and how to react to that data. We had to have someone who knows how to work with staff and make changes to meet the needs of students. Darren has experience in all of this.”

Allen added, “The most important thing we need right now is someone with the courage to make the tough decisions, and I think Darren is that person.”

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