Marion City Schools veteran returning to lead Benjamin Harrison

Leah FilliaterMarion City Schools has announced that Leah Filliater, a 14-year veteran of Marion City Schools, will return to the district as principal at Benjamin Harrison Elementary School next school year.

Filliater has accepted an offer to return to the school where she successfully implemented the Leader in Me whole-school transformational model. Her employment is pending board approval on April 20.

She will fill the position currently held by Lori Vandeborne, who recently notified staff and families that she will resign as principal at the end of the school year.

“Leah has a strong desire and has expressed interest to return to Marion City Schools and our administrative team,” Superintendent Gary Barber said. “We are excited to have someone with her institutional knowledge and outstanding leadership skills to serve the students and families at Benjamin Harrison.”

Filliater started working for Marion City Schools as an elementary teacher at Silver Street Elementary School. She spent about four years as principal at Benjamin Harrison before becoming the district’s director of curriculum in 2014.

She left the district later in 2014 to accept a position as principal at Wynford Elementary School.

Filliater said she wants to return because she misses the “synergy that I had at Benjamin Harrison” and the multiple layers of support that working in a bigger district like Marion City Schools offers.

“I had been there for the past 14 years and I can’t let it go,” she said. “I can’t stop thinking about my experiences there. I want to kind of see through things I put into motion at my building”

She also complimented the leadership team of Barber and Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Lawson.

“I never worked for a more amazing superintendent and assistant superintendent,” she said. “I know the district will soar to new heights under their leadership because they are so dedicated, focused and knowledgeable.”

Filliater’s accomplishments with Marion City Schools includes launching Leader in Me, a nationally recognized program meant to develop leadership and soft skills in students, at Benjamin Harrison. The program is based around Stephen Covey’s top-selling self-help book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and urges students to adopt the same habits.

Benjamin Harrison continues to serve as host for educators around Ohio and adjoining states who want to see Leader in Me in action.

Filliater said one of her goals is to see the school become a Lighthouse School, a recognition given to schools that become well-rounded leadership models for other schools to follow. She also wants to reconnect with staff and families at Benjamin Harrison and continue planning activities that they came to expect during her time as principal.

Filliater said it will also give her the opportunity to return and see the Literacy Collaborative school literacy program that she helped bring back to the district improve and excel.

Vandeborne, who took over as principal at the start of the school year, will resign her position to accept a job as a consultant with the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

“I would like to thank the families and district for the opportunity to be part of Marion City Schools, and to work with an amazing school with outstanding staff and families dedicated to the students’ well-being and academic growth,” she stated in a letter to parents.

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