The Solon City Schools Board of Education approved two administrative moves Monday, appointing Mike Acomb to director of business personnel and Julia Howell as the new principal for Lewis Elementary School.

Acting Superintendent Fred Bolden recommended the appointments. Superintendent Joe Regano has remained on leave of absence for undisclosed medical reasons.

While acting as superintendent pro tempore, Mr. Bolden also has continued his role as assistant superintendent for business and personnel.

“It would be fair to say that it has been a long year,” Mr. Bolden said. “[Mr.] Regano has been on medical leave of absence, and it appears as though that leave is going to continue for a longer [time],” he added. “We’re not sure how much longer, but we know that that is going to continue.”

Mr. Bolden, who was appointed to superintendent pro tempore in November, said it was a wise choice to avoid making administrative moves in the middle of the year to avoid disrupting school functioning, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the closure of schools. With the year coming to a close, now is the time to make those moves until Mr. Regano returns as superintendent, he said.

“[Mr. Acomb] is an exceptional leader. He has been with the district since 1997, has done virtually all the jobs that you can do in education, he was a classroom teacher, he was a teacher leader, he was assistant principal, he was a principal of two buildings, and in each case he’s executed all of those jobs very well,” Mr. Bolden said.

Mr. Acomb has been the principal at Lewis Elementary School for 15 years, starting as a third-grade teacher in 1997 at Roxbury Elementary, according to the district. He was the technology resource teacher in 2001 and the assistant principal at Orchard Middle School in 2003.

With Mr. Acomb moving up as director of business and personnel, Mr. Bolden said Mrs. Howell was the right candidate to take his place as Lewis Elementary School principal.

“Julia is also a veteran of the district. She has been here since 2008. She was a teacher and a teacher leader,” Mr. Bolden said. “She is incredibly bright, she is incredibly organized, she is a consensus builder, she is an incredible person to take the role of principal for us in that building.”

A Solon High School alumna and Solon resident, Mrs. Howell taught at Cleveland Heights-University Schools in 2006 and started teaching in Solon in 2008, according to Solon schools. In 2014, she became a curriculum and gifted resource teacher.

“She’s now taking that next step to be a larger part of our administrative team,” Mr. Bolden said.

Sam Cottrill started reporting for the Times in February 2019 and covers Auburn, Bainbridge, Bentleyville and Chagrin, Kenston, Solon and West Geauga schools. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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