Superintendent Philip H. Wagner, Ph.D. has been at the helm of the Licking Heights Local Schools since August, 2011. During his time with the district, Licking Heights has received a number of accolades and shown significant growth in student performance.
Most recently, Licking Heights was just one of a small group of districts among the Battelle for Kids school improvement collaborative to receive a 2015 SOAR Award for Significant Progress because of the academic gains it showed across multiple grade levels and subjects on the most recent report card issued by the state. This is the second year the district earned this distinction, as it was also a 2014 SOAR Award recipient. Additionally, Licking Heights Middle School received a 2015 SOAR Award as a High Progress School.
Licking Heights has received a fair amount of praise for the Local Report Card under Dr. Wagner’s leadership. The District and Central Middle School each received 2015 Momentum Awards from the Ohio Department of Education and the High School was named a 2014 Ohio School of Promise, also by the Ohio Department of Education. Furthermore, prior to Ohio's change to its ranking system, Licking Heights was named “Excellent with Distinction” during Dr. Wagner’s tenure.
Superintendent Wagner and Angel King, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, were recently selected to travel to China as part of the 2014 Chinese Bridge Delegation as guests of the Confucius Institute Headquarters. Participating in the program will allow Licking Heights to further enhance its Chinese language program. He also was chosen to participate in 2007.
Dr. Wagner came to Licking Heights from the Beachwood City Schools in Northeastern Ohio where he held various administrative positions from 2004-2011, including his last appointment as that district’s Assistant Superintendent. He also served as Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the Hudson City School District from 1997-2004 and was a school psychologist for the Solon City and the Cleveland City school districts earlier in his career.
Kent State University awarded Dr. Wagner his Ph.D. in 2006 where he majored in educational leadership, minored in school psychology/special education and specialized in education law. He holds current education licenses as Superintendent, Elementary Principal, Pupil Personnel Administration and School Psychologist. He is a recipient of the 2016 Hall of Fame Alumni Leadership Award from Kent State University, as well as, a recipient of the 2015 William L. Hunter Distinguished Professional Award from the Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators for his work with the Ohio Minority Recruitment Consortium. Additionally, Dr. Wagner is a past recipient of the Bowman Fellow Award in Educational Administration from Kent State University and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Hudson City School District.
Dr. Wagner has numerous educational interests, especially regarding entrepreneurial and alternative funding sources for public education and is a former school law reporter for the Education Law Association. Additionally, he is a member of numerous public and private boards, including: Central Ohio Technical College Advisory Board, Pataskala Campus; Kent State University’s School Psychology Advisory Committee; Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators; Ohio Minority Recruitment Consortium; and Support Ohio Schools, Research and Education Foundation.
Dr. Wagner places strong emphasis on ensuring the district is developing courses of study and student programming efficiently and effectively to deliver relevant materials that are met with interest and emphasize global competitiveness. He encourages innovation in the classroom and has forged a number of relationships that connect the district with the community for the benefit of enriching the experience of the students. Heights is partnering with C-TEC to pilot an innovative Career Exploration Class for 8th grade students, collaborates with Columbus State Community College through new distance learning labs that allow students to take digitized/dual enrollment courses in health and logistics pathways and is part of a consortium of districts that was awarded an $8.4-million Straight A Grant from the state of Ohio to phase in more digital learning materials in classrooms to move away from printed resources that become outdated and obsolete.