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Springfield's Global Stem Impact Academy Hires New Director

Springfield's Global Stem Impact Academy is moving forward with plans to open this fall. The academy has found a new location and permanent director.

The Academy's plan to open this fall in the old South High School site was derailed in January when the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission released a report questioning the viability of the school that was proposed by Sen. Chris Widener. Widener says the academy will be the first regional science, technology, engineering and math school in the state focused on the agricultural-bioscience and food service industries.

Carl Berg, a 43-year veteran educator, was appointed interim director of the academy and charged with finding a new location for the school to open in and to help find a full-time director.

This week the Academy's Board of Directors named 34-year-old Josh Jennings as full-time director at a salary of $98,000 a year.

Berg says that Jennings has the perfect mix of education and practical experience to teach kids about agricultural-bio science.

"My dad used to say that experience is a 50 cent word for meaning learning the hard way. He's taken that experience and applied it to the education of young people. He's going into this eyes wide open recognizing that this is going to be a multi-task wearing a different hats kind of position and I think he's looking forward to that challenge," Berg said.

Berg says that negotiations are ongoing with Clark State to allow the academy to operate on the university's campus in August with an enrollment of less than 100 students. Berg believes a deal needs to be completed soon or it will be too late for the academy doors to open.

"I believe that we are getting close to that now. I don't want to put a finite date to it. But as we begin to do the full marketing and people are going to want to know well where is my son or daughter going to be and the students are going to want to know what it's like. I would say we are coming up against that in the next 30 days for sure," Berg said.

Josh Jennings will take over on July 1 as the academy's full-time director.