What's New

May 4, 2017

Rockdale Principal Selected 2017 Hawkins Educator of the Year

John F. Barrett, Belinda Wallace and Superintendent RonanWestern & Southern Financial Group has announced that Belinda Wallace, principal at Cincinnati Public Schools' Rockdale Academy, has been named the 2017 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year.

Wallace was chosen by Western & Southern and CPS from finalists who were nominated by their CPS peers for the award. She was recognized on May 3, 2017, with a plaque and a personal check for $10,000 during a ceremony at Western & Southern’s Guilford Institute.

“We are very pleased to recognize Belinda for advancing the quality of education at Cincinnati Public Schools,” said John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Recognizing educators like Belinda and preparing young people for the future is a focus of Western & Southern in its efforts to help make Cincinnati great.”

Belinda has been employed with CPS for 20 years, serving as the principal of Rockdale Academy for eight years.  

“Demonstrating outstanding leadership and effectiveness, Belinda is truly deserving of the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award, a recognition that exemplifies educators’ passion for their work,” said Mary Ronan, superintendent of CPS. “We thank Western & Southern for honoring Belinda and commend all of the educators who were nominated – that in and of itself is an honor.”

Western & Southern established the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award in 2007 to inspire and reward excellence among CPS educators. This distinguished award honors one educator each year who has elevated the educational process in public schools to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results.  The namesake of the award, Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, was a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, a well-respected Cincinnati educator, former executive vice president of administration at the University of Cincinnati and former Western & Southern board member. He passed away in 2009.

For more information on the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award, visit

Photo: (L-R) John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, Belinda Tubbs-Wallace, Principal of Rockdale Academy and CPS Superintendent, Mary Ronan.


April 27, 2017

Cincinnati Board of Education Announces Superintendent Finalists

The Cincinnati Board of Education today (April 26, 2017) announced it has selected two finalists to become the next Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.

Catherine Laura Mitchell and Andre SpencerThe finalists:

  • Catherine Laura Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Andre Spencer, Superintendent of Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs, Colo.

The public is invited to meet the finalists at a reception from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 8, 2017, at Mayerson Academy, 2650 Highland Avenue, 45219 (Corryville).

The two emerged as the leading candidates through an extensive national search process shaped in large part by input from local stakeholders, said Board President Ericka Copeland-Dansby. Thirteen priority qualities for the superintendent were identified in surveys, open meetings and small-group sessions involving parents, district employees and community representatives, she noted. Some of the questions used in the interview process were suggested by stakeholders.

“They are both bright, dynamic educational leaders who rose to the top based on proven track records of raising academic achievement, achieving greater equity in access to opportunities and outcomes for all students, and a commitment to deeply engage the community,” she said.

The Board began the search following the announcement of Superintendent Mary Ronan in November that she would retire at the end of July following nine years in the district’s top administrative position.

Ray and Associates, an educational executive search firm with extensive experience, spearheaded the search, which attracted 58 candidates in a diverse demographic pool including applicants from across the country. The candidate pool included 14 females and 44 males; 30 white candidates; 21 African-American candidates, three Hispanic candidates and four representing other ethnicities. They came from more than 40 states.

“The selection of a superintendent of schools is one of the most important decisions to be made on behalf of a community,” Copeland-Dansby said. “The Board knew it was important to listen to our stakeholders’ voices in this process, and they have led us to these excellent finalists.”

She said Board members will continue to focus on stakeholder priorities in making a final selection. Their goal is to name the Superintendent in May and have the person selected assume the position no later than August 1.

“We hope that many in our community will take advantage of the opportunity to meet our finalists in person on May 8,” Copeland-Dansby said.


April 21, 2017

Young Entrepreneurs Featured at OTR Pop-Up Shop

Young Entrepreneurs Offer New ‘Cincinnati Landmarks’ Coaster Line for Sale in Over-the-Rhine Pop-Up Shop

Rothenberg, Westwood Schools Partner with MORTAR in Student Enterprise Program

WHAT: Fifth and sixth-grade students from Rothenberg and Westwood Schools, who have launched a student-run business called Dream Coasters as part of their schools’ new Vision 2020 Student Enterprise program, will roll out their new line this weekend. The students have designed sets of coasters featuring Cincinnati landmarks, retailing for $15 for a set of four. Proceeds go to a Dream Fund to provide funds for supplies to bring their ideas to life. Students will donate $1 of each sale to a local charity they selected.

WHEN: Saturday & Sunday, April 22 & 23, 2017– 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 1327 Vine Street 45202 (Over-the-Rhine)

WHO: Rothenberg Preparatory Academy and Westwood School elementary students, teachers, principals and coaches
Supporters from MORTAR, among the consultants and community partners who have shared their business acumen and expertise with students and school staffs
Prospective customers looking to support young entrepreneurs while picking up a great set of Cincinnati-themed coasters!

At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, Cincinnati Public Schools started Vision 2020, a multi-year plan to bring students greater equity, access and opportunities by strengthening neighborhood schools with new programming selected in partnership with their communities. Rothenberg in Over-the-Rhine and Westwood School in Westwood selected a Student Enterprise Program. This program has served as an incubator for young entrepreneurs and their creative business ideas. In addition to MORTAR, consultants supporting the program include the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and Learning Through Art, Inc. Volunteers also have helped students sharpen ideas through a Shark Tank process, and Universal Woods, Inc. donated the coasters.

Attention Reporters and Editors: Coverage is welcome!