GREEN  Retirement wasn’t in the cards for Kim Redmond former superintendent of Canton Local Schools once she saw that Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) was searching for a new leader.

“Retirement didn’t agree me, not at all,” Redmond said.

After all, she had been in school every day since she began as a child. In July, a friend sent her a posting that PLCC was looking for a superintendent and Redmond said it seemed to have everything she liked about education. It was the first total online application she had filled out. In doing so, she said she began to be excited about the potential position.

Her first interview did not include anyone from PLCC but 16 interviewers associated with the Summit County Educational Service Center. Redmond then received a call she was in the top six and her excitement mounted.

Her next interview was with the PLCC board of education members from Portage Lakes Career Center and the school’s interim superintendent and treasurer. It was an evening interview at the center and Redmond said she entered the room and began shaking hands. The third person she shook hands with, she managed to spill their water “all over the place,” she said. Water accident aside, she believed the interview went well and she left feeling good and was told they would be limiting it to two candidates. That evening she received a call from Board President Dave Andrews offering her the position of superintendent of PLCC.

Beginning her new position during the first part of October, Redmond spent her first three days on the job getting to know everyone, meeting with each staff member individually getting to know them face to face.

“You learn a lot having a quick conversation," she said. "I heard what they were proud of and what they would like to see changed. I had a clear picture of where we needed to go.”

Redmond’s education career began in Orlando, Fla., teaching special education. She was born and raised in Florida and went to college in Tallahassee and that is where she met a man from Stark County - her future husband - Chris.

The couple moved to Ohio where he worked in the family business, Redmond’s Parts and Supplies in Jackson Twp., which his grandfather began in 1918. Kim Redmond said the family was excited to recently have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the business.

Once in Ohio, Kim Redmond began working for Canton City Schools as a special education teacher, supervisor, and started two alternative high schools from scratch which meant finding the building, hiring the staff for schools. She explained that one of the start-up schools was for kids that had been expelled and giving them the opportunity to get themselves back together and the other was for students who had dropped out of school to get them back to high school and receive their diplomas. She then had the opportunity to go to Timken High School as the principal for five years. She moved on to Canton Local as the assistant superintendent for three years and then as superintendent for five years, and during that time, the district was able to work toward building a new high school. Redmond also has experience in technical education in her background.

The Redmond’s have two grown sons, Dan and Caroline, who live in Cincinnati; and John and Amy and their three children, who live in Florida. Both sons work in IT for the same company in different states.

Redmond said she loves it at PLCC.

“It is quiet here and the kids are very respectful," she said.

She added it is important that the school continues its strong relationships with the four home districts, Coventry, Green, Manchester and Springfield.

“We are all working on listening to what they need and that we are providing it to them to the best of our ability - a good customer service model," Redmond said.

She believes the younger generation gets the whole idea of finding what they are passionate about. She said rather than older generations that basically went to work and with some finding their passion, "This generation is finding what they like to do. Hopefully, it is meaningful for them,” she said. 

Redmond's goals include listening to what the four school districts need, listening to what the student voices need and one thing they clearly heard was that they needed to add more support services for special education students. Next year, she said, PLCC will deliver more support. The school will look at all of the programs and make sure they are viable for the future.

Redmond would like to define a space where kids can drop in and have a paper proof read if they need help on a project.

Safety and security are very important and for the school and Redmond said officials are working with Summit County to get a resource officer on site. Also, a police officer offered suggestions of other things that could be done.

“We want to make sure we are safe here," Redmond said.

“We are creating a vision of the future and what we need to be doing. We have to all work together and be strong for our kids,” she added.

For more information on PLCC, visit www.plcc.edu.