GREENVILLE—After 18 years as superintendent of Ansonia Local Schools, Jim Atchley has decided on a new adventure.
He was officially hired as superintendent of the Darke County Educational Service Center (ESC), at 5279 Education Drive, off of Sebring-Warner Road east of U.S. 127, on July 25.
“I thought I’d retire from Ansonia, then this became available; the timing was right and I was selected,” Atchley said.
He is taking on a position which was held by retiring Mike Gray, also after 18 years.
“I followed Mike to Ansonia and now I’m following him here,” Atchley said. “I’m looking forward to it. I am very excited and think change will be good for me.
It will re-energize me. I will be working with the staff and provide the best services we can for the schools we serve.”
Atchley received his undergraduate degree in education in 1988 from Wright State University followed by his bachelor’s in education the same year. He was awarded his master’s through the University of Dayton in educational leadership in 1995.
A 1981 graduate of Bradford High School, he went into the Ohio National Guard in 1983.
“I was able to pay for my college,” said Atchley, who served in Desert Storm from 1990-91.
He retired from the National Guard in 2003 while with the 371st Corps Support Group.
His educational career included seven years as a track coach and social studies teacher at Greenville High School; was assistant principal at Greenville Junior High for three years; was at Mississinawa Valley High school as a principal for two years; returned to Greenville in the central Office as director of administrative services; and then took the superintendent’s job at Ansonia.
His successor at Ansonia is PJ Burgett, who had been serving as principal at Franklin Monroe Local School.
“I’ve known PJ from the different athletic events and seeing him at different functions,” Atchley said.
What does Atchley consider some of the greatest achievements for Ansonia Schools while he was at the helm?
“Probably the biggest and proudest at Ansonia is academically,” he responded. “We became very solid. It was our biggest accomplishment. I came to Ansonia in 2004 and, four years later, we were an excellent district.”
Another special achievement was the unveiling of the new preschool/athletic complex a couple of years ago.
“It was a major positive for the community,” he said “We’ve served 110 preschool students.”
He also went on to say that the facility’s grounds are “as good as anybody’s.”
“There is a lot of pride in the community and the school is the focal point of the community,” Atchley remarked. “It allows the district to move forward like we were able to.”
He is now getting acclimated to his new role at the county level.
“We provide services to other county schools, such as psychologists. occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapist and our staff also provides help for special education programs in the county,” the top administrator said. “We also provide instruction at Anthony Wayne Early Childhood. All the teachers and aides are all ESC employees. There are 25 staff and about 300 students there.”
He also reported there is a curriculum person at ESC who provides professional development and training principals, which includes evaluating.
Atchley, who now oversees approximately 70 employees, wants to get out to the various districts soon.
“Right now, I am working on policies and procedures and putting things in place,” he said.
Atchley, the son of Jim and Susan Atchley, is married to the former Elizabeth “Liz” Shepherd of Winchester, Ind. She is a dental hygienist at Sinclair Community college.
Jim and Liz met in a college class and have been married for 29 years. The couple, living just outside of Greenville, are the parents of two sons, Alec, who will turn 24 in October, married to Morgain and expecting their first child and the Atchley’s first grandchild; and Evan, 22, who is attending the University of Cincinnati majoring in finance.
The ESC superintendent and his wife have begun trail riding with horses and go camping at such places as Brown County; Versailles, Ind.; and, this fall, are heading to Hocking Hills.
Atchley continues to be a board member of both the Darke County Community Improvement Corporation and United Way.