COVENTRY TWP. There really isn’t a job Coventry Schools Director of Operations Jon Hibian hasn’t done in the district.
Hibian retired at the end of June after working for the district for 36 years.
Hibian grew up in Parma where he attended Valley Forge High School before attending Hiram College and obtained a certificate to teach history. He played football at Hiram under head coach Mike Pozsgai.
Hibian graduated college and it wasn’t long after he got a phone call from his parents, who told Hibian that Pozsgai had called and wanted to speak with him.
Hibian then called Pozsgai, who was the head football coach at Coventry at the time, and asked Hibian if he would come coach with him. He soon became an assistant football coach and began working in the district as the in-school suspension monitor.
Hibian would eventually attend the University of Akron and Kent State University to obtain a license to be a comprehensive social studies teacher. He also obtained his master's degree from Ashland University and got his superintendent’s license.
Through the years, he served in many roles including a tutor, a general education teacher, assistant principal and eventually principal.
Hibian served as an assistant coach under five different head coaches before sports would hit a little bump in Coventry. He said the district failed a levy and had decided to cut the baseball and the upcoming football season. He had just purchased a house that summer in Wadsworth and then he received a call in August that the levy had been put on the ballot again and had passed. The district had decided to support the football team again.
"They asked me when they called if I would like to be the next head football coach," Hibian said.
He accepted the offer, but only had two weeks to put the program together. The coaching staff consisted of community members, custodians and just about anyone he could find to help. The first year the team had scrape together games because most of the teams in the area already had full schedules. He said they did play games, though, but most of the opponents were three to four hours away. His team the first year went 2-8.
"It sure was a unique way to start my coaching career," Hibian said.
He would lead the football team for nine years and he said during his time the No. 1 rivalry was Manchester. Going against Manchester Coach James France was always interesting, Hibian said. He said he always had nothing but respect for France, who is the winningest coach in state history.
Following his head coaching time, Hibian became the athletic director where he served for almost a decade.
"I was doing whatever I could to work with kids," Hibian said.
Following teaching and serving several sports roles in the district, Hibian would become the assistant principal at Coventry Middle School and then eventually moved on to be the principal at the junior high school. Current Coventry Elementary School Principal Timothy Bryan served as an assistant to Hibian at the junior high school during that time.
Eventually, an opening for the high school principal job would open up, but Hibian didn’t apply at first. He said several people asked him why and encouraged him to apply for it. He then applied and got the job where he served for nine years.
"Six of the nine years our building was rated excellent," Hibian said. "I am really proud of that."
Director of operation
Former Superintendent Russell Chaboudy eventually came to Hibian and asked if he would be interested in the director of operations position. He took the position as voters had recently passed a bond issue to help build the new high school.
Hibian said the Coventry's buildings were crumbling as the district began closing buildings and demolishing them. Cottage Grove Elementary School had a mold problem and Lakeview Elementary had water issues. Erwine Middle School was aging and was in need of renovations.
He said the lack of funding and the way the district is funded by the state hurts Coventry. During the course of several years, the district went from eight buildings down to three, which was the original plan created in 2011. He said the community doesn’t see all the behind the scenes work that went into each move as school officials had to create swing space and find places to store items.
"It was very satisfying for me to build the high school and to see the renovations at the middle school," Hibian said.
He said he is thankful the district has three buildings all on city water and sewer lines and they have a 21st century learning space to learn in.
"My hope is I am leaving the district in better shape than I found it," Hibian said.
Being the director of operations he said was likely one of the most challenging positions he held with the district. During his time, he has gotten to work with Bryan again as he helps out several days per week at the elementary school as an assistant.
"It’s all about the kids," Hibian said. "That is what got me into education 36 years ago."
Hibian said when he was principal at the high school, he would also keep the children at arms-length, but now at the elementary school, the children come running up to him to give him a hug.
During his time in Coventry, he has worked under six different superintendents and five treasurers.
"Everyone brought something different to the table," Hibian said.
He has also actively been involved with more 20 levy campaigns.
Hibian said he worked with a lot of great people and will really miss them. He also said he will miss the daily interaction with the children. He added that Coventry is a great community where people rally together in a time of need.
"I will never regret going into education," Hibian said. "I never hated my job as I always looked forward to what challenges were ahead."
Heading into retirement, Hibian doesn’t have a lot planned but he said he does enjoy to bake and do woodworking projects. He lives on eight and half acres of land and said he has grown to enjoy bird watching more.
He is also looking forward to spending more time with his daughter and his son.
"My kids are everything to me," Hibian said.
He said he is not ruling out maybe being involved in some fashion with education again in the future.
"I will find something to entertain me," Hibian said.
Superintendent Lisa Blough said Hibian always stepped up and went above and beyond what was asked of him. She said a lot of credit is due to him for making all the moves and construction projects happen.
"We are really going to miss him," Blough said. "He was the first person to go out of his way and offer to help."