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Donald J Copenhaver

Principal and Licensed Superintendent


Mission-focused leader with over 14 years of combined teaching and administrative experience working with general and special needs populations. Proven ability to effectively lead and collaborate with staff, provide effective professional development and teacher feedback, analyze data, and to lead building and district continuous improvement efforts. Success in increasing student outcomes in at-risk and special needs environments.

Work experience

Aug 2015Present


The Gerson School

Oversee daily school operations; serve as curriculum director, staff development director, credentialed OTES evaluator, assist in school budgeting, facilitate teacher-based teams, lead continuous improvement planning.

Aug 2008Jul 2015


Ashland County Community Academy

Served as building principal, special education director, curriculum director, online curriculum director, professional development director, Title I coordinator, credentialed OTES evaluator, technology coordinator; assist in district and building budget oversight. Transitioned to Common Core State Standards. Implemented instructional reform effort focused on designing high quality curriculum for both online and brick-and-mortar models. Under my leadership, the school improved from "academic watch" to "exceeds the standard" in student graduation rates as set by ODE.

2007Jun 2008

Lead Teacher

Ashland City Schools Alternative School

Served as building principal and taught English.


English Language Arts Teacher

Ashland City Schools Alternative School

Taught English through engaging instruction tailored to individual student needs: focused on authentic reading, writing, speaking, and listening opportunities and real world simulations; created school’s first online course in 2003.


Curriculum Development

Curriculum development and reformation (Common Core alignment); online course design and implementation; OTES credentialed teacher evaluator; special education director; technology advocate; ensure special education policies and procedures are in compliance; collaborate with teachers to ensure standards-based and tailored educational opportunities available to all students; collaborate with teachers to share and promote best instructional practices.


Mission-focused leadership; continuous improvement planning; data-based decision making; plan and lead tailored professional development for staff; strategic planning for building and district; critical and creative thinking; establish and enforce school and district policies for students and staff; extracurricular and athletic program management.


Budgeting; buildings and grounds management; technology and infrastructure oversight; extracurricular and athletic program management.



Superintendent Cohort

Ashland University

Completed Ashland University's superintendent preparation cohort.


MS Educational Leadership

Capella University

MS in Educational Leadership


BA English

Muskingum College

BA in English, Cum Laude

Minors in Education, Philosophy


Jul 2016Jun 2021


Ohio Department of Education

Grades 5-12

Jul 2014Jun 2018


Ohio Department of Education
Jul 2011Jun 2016

English Language Arts

Ohio Department of Education

Conference Presentations

OAPCS 9th Annual Ohio Charter Schools Conference - November 2015

"Looking Back to Plan for the Future" focused on using student assessment data to gauge students’ level of risk of not graduating. By focusing on data analysis, those who attend this session will have the opportunity to work with data from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Presenters will focus on specific ways to represent data and share it with others, as well as what types of questions to formulate to interpret the data and address all stakeholders involved in retention programming.  

On a 1-4 rating scale where 1 is poor and 4 is excellent, attendees rated the session a 3.14 overall, and a 3.43 for presentation style and delivery. 100% of attendees said they would recommend this session to a colleague. Attendees provided narrative feedback praising the session interactivity and commented that they would use tools they acquired in the session with staff members in their building.