Bright Local has an interim superintendent


The Bright Local School District is contemplating a new superintendent after Ted Downing resigned last month, school board president Angie Wright said Tuesday.

Brian Ruckel is serving as the interim superintendent as well as handling the high school principal duties. Wright said Ruckel has been the high school principal for about two years and formerly served as superintendent at the Blanchester Local Schools.

“Right now he’s kind of doing double duty,” Wright said. “He’s still our principal, but he’s also our interim superintendent since it’s summertime and there’s not quite as much going on.”

Wright said Downing’s wife retired a few months ago and that the former superintendent is spending some time with her and contemplating full retirement.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Ted. He helped our district a great deal,” Wright said.

Bright Local Treasurer Randy Drewyor said Tuesday that the school district has not yet advertised for a new superintendent. He said there is a school board meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, and that the board will likely retire into executive session during the meeting to discuss the permanent superintendent’s position.

Downing could not be reached in recent days for comment.

A Waverly native, Downing had been the Bright Local superintendent since Aug. 1, 2015. Prior to that he spent six years as superintendent of the Bridgeport School District in eastern Ohio. Before that he was a high school principal in the Eastern Brown School District from 1991 to 2009 and prior to that spent 1974 to 1991 in the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.

During his first summer at Bright, with the approval of the school board, Downing reinstated the elementary music program that had been eliminated the year before, eliminated “play-to-participate” fees, and started opening up communication lines with the community.

“I really don’t have hobbies,” Downing told The Times-Gazette not long after he became Bright Local superintendent. “As long as I have my health, I really enjoy helping kids. I come from a kind of dysfunctional family and there were a lot of teachers and other people who helped me along the way. As long as I can continue to do that, I see myself working for quite a while. I just enjoy what I do and I appreciate the board giving me an opportunity to become part of the Wildcat family and hope we have many successful years together.”

During Downing’s tenure Bright Local armed several staff members due its remote location, implemented ALICE (Alert, Locked Down, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training for all staff and students, implemented an iPad program for all students in grades 7-12, completed paving projects at campuses in Mowrystown and Sugartree Ridge, installed air-conditioning in high school rooms that did not have it, and installed LED lighting, which saved the district money. The district also replaced the high school gym floor and roof and installed new lighting and bleachers in the high school gym.

The school board also voted to add drama and speech classes for high school students and a technology class for freshmen, among other accomplishments.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or

Downing has resigned, Ruckel serving double duty

By Jeff Gilliland

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