Benyo, Roller Resign from Academic Distress Commission

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Brilex Industries President Brian Benyo has stepped down from his position as chairman of the Youngstown City Schools Academic Distress Commission. And Jennifer Roller, the commission’s vice chairman, has also resigned from the commission.

Both resignations were announced today — Benyo’s by the school district and Roller’s in a letter emailed to news organizations.

In his letter to the state superintendent of public instruction, Paolo DeMaria, Benyo explained that he wanted to “devote more time to the professional obligations associated with [his] businesses … as well as personal interests and time away from the Youngstown area,” according to a release from Youngstown City Schools.

Benyo also noted that with Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip approaching the midpoint of his contract, now is “an excellent point for new leadership to step into the process that is underway and take ownership in its completion.”

Benyo has served as chairman of the Academic Distress Commission since its inception in 2015. The state-appointed commission is an oversight committee for the school district.

The school district did not release Benyo’s letter.

Mohip said in a statement that he expressed regret at the resignations but praised both officers for their work with the commission. “I want to thank Brian and Jennifer for their service and dedication to the Youngstown City School District, its employees, and most of all, its students.”

Benyo and Roller had served as chairman and vice chairwoman of the ADC since 2015, the year the commission was created under state law. The five-member volunteer panel selected Mohip as CEO in May 2016.

“Brian and Jennifer have both served admirably and they are to be commended for their hard work,” Mohip said.

Roller, the executive director of The Raymond John Wean Foundation, offered some recommendations to DeMaria in her letter of resignation (READ).

“The state would do well to exert itself as a strong partner not only to empower and communicate in a transparent way with the CEO, but also key stakeholders,” she wrote.

“Despite the many talents, skills and experiences of members of the Academic Distress Commission, there are times when subject-matter expertise on a wide range of issues facing the schools is needed, including assessment and budgeting. The current structure does not lend itself to access this support.”

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