New Jersey

Middletown Schools Board of Education selects new superintendent

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – The leaders of one of Butler County’s largest school systems decided to work with an experienced district administrator to select the next superintendent.

Deborah Houser was elected the new city school district chief Monday night by the Middletown Board of Education.

The current assistant superintendent for the 6,300-student school system will take over the superintendent’s position when she starts on March 1, a day after Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. left the job to become a partner at a national education company.

Houser is a 15-year veteran of Middletown Schools and will be the first woman in the 170-year history of the city’s public schools to serve as superintendent.

Houser, who began her career as a kindergarten teacher and worked her way up through principal, university professor and district administrator with various titles including human resources director, praised Styles for the sweeping reforms introduced in his leadership since 2017.

“My goal as superintendent is to make sure the district doesn’t miss a thing. I look forward to continuing to serve the amazing Middie community while ensuring the new strategic vision comes alive,” Houser told the board and audience.

District officials noted after the board’s unanimous vote that “Houser, while serving as Assistant Superintendent, was a chief architect of Middletown’s Passport to Tomorrow.”

The six-year plan serves as the district’s strategic vision to inspire students to develop transferable workforce skills that lead to life-changing career opportunities upon graduation.

After the board unanimously approved Houser’s appointment, School Board President Chris Urso described Houser as a leader who can bring diverse school contingents together for a common cause.

“In Deb we not only have a well-known dynamic leader, we also have a builder. She has a track record of building relationships with staff and community leaders, as well as creating curriculum,” Urso said.

“The board of education knows the talent we already have in someone like Deb,” he said.

“And the staff and students know her, and she provides continuity for Middletown Schools. We are confident that Middletown’s future is in good hands.”

Fellow board member Verlena Stewart said, “Deb is 100% competent and prepared for the role and I look forward to her ideas, energy and enthusiasm.”

Praise for Houser also came from outside the board, as community leaders like Middletown Police Commissioner Dave Birk, who attended the meeting, said he was confident Styles’ “passion and energy” he brought to the job will endure would.

And Rick Pearce, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Middletown, Monroe and Trenton said, “Deb is a great choice and has the full support of the Chamber of Commerce.”

“We’re committed to continuing our efforts with MCSD, particularly when it comes to Passport To Tomorrow,” Pearce said.

Houser will have a contract with the school board that expires on July 31, 2026, and she will receive an annual base salary of $160,000.

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