North Royalton School District Superintendent Greg Gurka announced his retirement effective June 1, 2021.
At the December 14 North Royalton Board of Education meeting, Gurka announced his resignation. In an emotional statement, he said “I had a wonderful experience in my time with the district, beginning in 2002 as Principal of Albion Elementary School. My role in the district has changed a few times from Principal to Director of Personnel in 2006, and finally to School Superintendent in July, 2013. Through all my 19 years in the District, I have found that this is a special place because of the people, the staff, the parents, the community members and most importantly, the students. We are blessed, and I’ve said this before, we are blessed as educators in this District, that the community sends us such wonderful children to work with. Although I know I have several months left, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody.”
Before coming to the North Royalton School District, Gurka served as elementary Principal for Avon Lake Schools, an Assistant Middle School Principal for North Olmsted Schools and a Middle School Principal in Parma. He was also an Administrative Associate for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools, as well as a science and social studies teacher. He has received his Master’s degree in Education and Administration from Cleveland State University and his Superintendent’s License from Ashland University.
Gurka was appointed as interim School Superintendent of the North Royalton School District in 2013, replacing then-Superintendent, Ed Vittardi. The appointment was contracted to run July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The North Royalton Board of Education had conducted a search for the position for several months at that time and also considered internal candidates within the North Royalton District. At that time, there was no interest. Due to time constraints of filling the position by the end of that school year, the Board decided to appoint an interim superintendent to serve a one-year term. The Board reached out again to Gurka, who was then Director of Personnel. He was then approved as interim Superintendent, and then approved as Superintendent in October, 2013. His current contract would expire on July 31 of this year.
Board President, John Kelly, stated that, “as a Board, we were sad to hear the news of Greg’s decision to retire. We all knew that eventually it would come, but like all good things, we hoped we would just keep on going. Greg has been an exemplary leader for our District. Clearly, he leaves a huge legacy in a construction project that will solidify the needs for our facilities for decades. Several superintendents tried multiple approaches, but Greg was the only one to get the job done. He has developed strong relationships with all our staff and has set new standards for community involvement in North Royalton and Broadview Heights. He truly is not someone you replace but someone whose legacy and accomplishments need to be built upon going forward. We wish him well in whatever future endeavor he chooses, and we know he will always be a Royalton Bear!”
The North Royalton Board of Education held a special meeting on December 17 to discuss the replacement of the School Superintendent. They chose the firm, Finding Leaders, to assist the District in the search process. According to Kelly, “Finding Leaders has aided the District in the last two superintendent searches. They bring an in-depth understanding of our District, our community, and of the attributes that our residents and staff expect in a superintendent.” The position was then posted. Applications are due by March 1, 2021. “Stakeholders of the District, including staff, students, parents, PTA and residents, will be engaged in the process,” said Kelly. “The District hopes to have a new superintendent selected by May 1, 2021.”
“The North Royalton City School District is a special place and that is because of the people who are part of it,” said Gurka. “There is not one person that is more important than another, and everyone working together to ensure that the students benefit has become the ‘North Royalton Way.’ I know this will continue long into the future.” Gurka said that “I have no plans to hold another position either in or out of public education. My goal is to spend time with my family.” When asked what he felt his greatest achievement was as North Royalton School Superintendent, he replied “It seems customary to look at big things in terms of accomplishments, but I think it is the little things that happen each and every day that I value as great achievements. In terms of grand scale things, the most obvious one is to point to the passage of the bond issue in May of 2017. That was a historic day in our district and the new elementary school and renovated high school are and will be great places for students to learn for many years to come. However, when I think about all the interactions I have had with students, teachers, classified staff, administrators, parents, and community members over the course of my career, I would hope all those individual times that I helped someone or took an obstacle out of the way of a teacher so they could better impact students would be remembered most.”
Contributing Writer