Superintendent William Porter Discusses His Resignation With Cardinal Nation

After leading the district through COVID-19 and multiple challenges, Superintendent Porter chooses to take a new position

William Porter- Resigning Superintendent in the Mentor Public Schools District

William Porter- Resigning Superintendent in the Mentor Public Schools District

Cardinal TV

Teresa Morek, Contributor

On Thursday, March 24, Mentor Schools Superintendent William Porter announced that he was stepping down as superintendent and planning to take on a new position as principal at Sterling Morton Elementary School.

In a message to Mentor Schools Families, Mr. Porter wrote the following:

“It is with very mixed emotions that I write today to share with you my decision to resign as the superintendent of Mentor Schools, effective July 31st, 2022. I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve our community in this role for five years, and I am proud of the work we have done to support our students during some challenging and unprecedented times.

At the same time, I am excited to share plans to move into the open principal position at Sterling Morton Elementary School (pending official board approval), which became available when Mrs. Sturm announced she accepted a central office position in Euclid Schools (after the current school year). I shared my desire to move from the superintendent’s role with our school board this afternoon and am very grateful for their support to make this change. I look forward to this new opportunity at Sterling Morton.

I would like to share my gratitude for the support you’ve given your children to provide a strong home-to-school partnership. Together, we have consistently delivered a well-rounded, high-quality education for the children of our community and worked to put our students’ needs first. I feel fortunate to work alongside an exceptional team of teachers, administrators and support staff who demonstrate their dedication to our mission each day by creating a safe learning environment where students can grow academically, socially and emotionally. With this team in place and the continued support of our community, I am confident our students remain in good hands and Mentor Schools will continue to serve our community well as we move forward.

Many of you know I am a longtime resident of Mentor –  it’s the place my wife and I chose to live, work and raise our family. Working in our community’s schools has been the most rewarding time of my career and is why I feel so fortunate to stay in our district. While this decision has certainly been a difficult one to make, I know that this is what’s best for my family and me at this time.”

Mentor School Board President Mary Bryner then followed up Mr. Porter’s statement with her own statement on behalf of the entire Mentor School Board. In part, it read:

“…on behalf of the Mentor Board of Education, we would like to thank Mr. Porter for his years of service as the superintendent of Mentor Schools. His kind, selfless and thoughtful leadership of our district over the past five years has been exceptional. Over his time in this position, Mr. Porter demonstrated taking special care in decision-making to best meet the needs of our students, staff and community at all times. He has faced a number of challenging initiatives gracefully – from right-sizing the district with a facilities management plan to save our community millions of dollars in his first year to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic over the last three school years. The board is appreciative of the continuous work.

With Mr. Porter’s years of experience and proven dedication to Mentor Schools, the board unanimously supports his transition into the Sterling Morton Elementary School Principal role. His kind and compassionate, yet strong leadership style, will be a perfect fit, and the board is pleased to have Mr. Porter continue on as part of the Mentor Schools team.”

Mr. Porter was superintendent for five years. He has spent more than 30 years serving Northeast Ohio communities as an educator–  also in the roles of assistant superintendent, director of K-through-8 education, Principal, Assistant Principal, Teacher (English) and coach. He is very involved in the nationally-known League of Innovative Schools. And, he earned the John Weiss Lake County Administrator of the Year Award — as its first-ever recipient in 2011.

Mr. Porter completed both his undergraduate work and master’s degree at John Carroll University, before earning his superintendent’s license. He has lived in the Mentor Schools district for over 30 years with his wife, Marie, of 34 years, who is also an educator. Together, they have raised a family with four daughters – Jackie, Nicole, Michelle and Danielle, and son-in-law, Joe.

Cardinal Nation had a number of questions for Mr. Porter after his decision. These were his responses:

Cardinal Nation: What would you say was the most rewarding aspect of being superintendent?

Mr. Porter: Building relationships is key to any work in education, and I have developed so many wonderful relationships having served in this role.

Cardinal Nation: Why did you decide to take this new position at the elementary school instead of continuing as superintendent?

Mr. Porter: They were really two separate decisions, as I did not know an elementary opening would occur.  I made the decision about leaving the superintendent’s role for personal and family reasons, but when the principalship at Sterling Morton became available, I expressed interest to the Board in serving in that role.  I feel as though I have a lot to still contribute, and the opportunity to work directly with children again reinforces the reason I went into education.

Cardinal Nation: What were the biggest challenges in being superintendent of a district like ours?

Mr. Porter: The biggest challenge, in general, was having enough time to talk with students, staff, and families.  The biggest specific challenge was trying to navigate through a global pandemic that none of us anticipated.

Cardinal Nation: How much were those challenges a factor in your decision to make this change?

Mr. Porter: Neither of those challenges was a huge factor in my decision.  For personal reasons, it was the right time to make a decision that was important for my family.

Cardinal Nation: What are your goals in your new position?

Mr. Porter: I can’t wait to better get to know the students, staff, and families at Sterling Morton.  Building those relationships is the foundation for the work we do with the students.  I want every student to be the best version of themselves, especially by the time they leave us at the end of 5th grade.  I want their Morton years to be an important and successful building block for their middle school years.

Cardinal Nation: What do you think are the biggest challenges a new superintendent will face? What advice do you have for this incoming superintendent?

Mr. Porter: Hopefully, the worst of the pandemic is behind us; otherwise, that challenge will continue.  We have begun an initiative to re-engage our families in our schools after having to keep them physically away for two years.  I would share with the new superintendent that I think it is important to include our families in new and creative ways, also applying what we’ve learned from the pandemic.

Cardinal Nation: What do you think the future of the Mentor Schools looks like?

Mr. Porter: The future is bright!  We have great students, staff, and families.  Besides families being more re-engaged, our students will be more prepared than ever for a world beyond Mentor High School.  A lot of that will happen through ideas for some of the most advanced college and career readiness programs ever conceived.

Cardinal Nation: What is your message to Mentor High School students today as you prepare for this new change? What would you like them to know?

Mr. Porter: I want Mentor High students to continue to find work and hobbies/activities that: engage them with their school; keep them safe physically, socially and emotionally; and motivate them to make a positive difference in the world after their time in Mentor Schools.