Updated: Mohip Announces Plan to Step Down Next Summer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown City School District CEO Krish Mohip will not seek a contract renewal, he announced in a letter to the district Academic Distress Commission.

Mohip, whose contract is set to expire in July 2019, became the district’s first chief executive officer in the summer of 2016. He said he is providing notice now to confirm his commitment to the commission and the school district in the transition to a new leader.

Mohip is leaving because he feels the district is on “solid ground,” district spokeswoman Denise Dick said. “Also, he’s looking at other options and wants to be closer to family,” she said.

Mohip was appointed under a new state law that was enacted in 2015. That law, passed as House Bill 70 and commonly referred to as the Youngstown Plan. The law granted wide-ranging powers to the CEO and stripped much of the authority from the district’s elected school board.

“With the continued success of the district in mind, I believe it is important to inform the commission of my present intentions as soon as possible, as providing early notice may play a significant role in the commission finding a quality leader to carry on the worthy cause of transforming the Youngstown City School District,” Mohip wrote in the letter sent this morning.

He believes the work done during the last two years will provide a foundation for his successor.

“The start of this school year is widely known as ‘one of the best in years,’ with the vast majority of teachers reporting high morale and feeling ‘inspired’ to do their jobs,” he also wrote. “Indeed, the learning atmosphere and decrease in negative student behaviors is a direct reflection of the progress happening within our buildings. I firmly believe it is these and other achievements, together with the progress reflected in several areas in the 2017-2018 state report card, that will ultimately drive our district to exceed expectations.”

Under Mohip’s leadership, the district reported it saw a 39 percentage point increase in the Gap Closing component of the most recent state report card compared to the 2016-2017 report card, from 3.3% to 42.3%. The Gap Closing component shows how well the district met the performance expectations for the most vulnerable students in English language arts, math, graduation and English language proficiency.

The district also improved in closing the reading gap among black students, according to the district news release. The reading gap is a measurement of the percentage difference between the actual performance of African-American students compared to the state average.

The district’s reading gap for this group decreased from 54.6% on the 2016-2017 report card to just 3.5% on the 2017-2018 report card, a 51.1 percentage point reduction. The district also logged improvements in closing the reading gap for Hispanic students, students with disabilities and English learners. 

Also during Mohip’s tenure, the district returned to a neighborhood schools model. Sports were revived district wide and he returned the Golden Bears as the mascot of East High School. The Golden Bears rugby team brought home a state title, the football team plays tonight for a conference title and other successes were scored in other district sports.

“The work we have done speaks volumes about the strength and resilience of our administrators, teachers and students,” the CEO wrote in his letter to ADC members.

The Ohio Department of Education through a spokeswoman expressed its gratitude to the CEO for his work in the district and wished him well.

“We’re grateful for Krish Mohip’s efforts and the progress that has been made on behalf of Youngstown’s students,” Brittany Halpin, deputy director of the department’s office communications and outreach, said. “We appreciate the notice he’s provided, which gives the commission and the district time for an orderly transition.”

Dario Hunter, a Youngstown Board of Education member and Mohip critic, said in an email he hoped the commission was “wiling to learn some hard lessons” from what he termed a “failed experiment” with Mohip. Until recently, the CEO “was busy explaining away his second year in a row of state report card Fs by claiming the need for five-to-seven years to see genuine results” but now wants to “get out of Dodge before the district hits financial as well as academic rock bottom.”

Updated to reflect comments from Dario Hunter.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.