When sophomore Mollie Wright first heard her school superintendent planned to leave the district, she was shocked.
"Oh my gosh. I'm going to cry," Wright said outside Memorial Stadium Monday afternoon.
She and a couple friends had just learned of for a positon as director of outreach and organizational development with the AultCare Health Network. Gallina made the announcement to his staff through an email Monday morning.
Friend also chimed in, saying Gallina always took the time to get to know North Canton students.
"You couldn't ask for a better guy," said Morris, also a sophomore. "The way he acts around us is really great. He doesn't just make you feel like a student in the school; he has a one-on-one relationship with you."
The girls talked about Gallina's efforts to make it to every important sports game, attend every seminar and make a lasting impression on students.
"In most school districts, people don't even know who their school superintendent is," senior Tess Johnson said. "But he made an effort to know everyone."
Kathy Yaros, family and community director, said Gallina has "gathered so much momentum in this community" as he's participated in everything from the YMCA Board to with her.
"He's such an energizer for the community. It's a real loss to our community," Yaros said. "We certainly wish him well."
Gallina's decision to leave didn't come without a heavy heart. He wrote in his staff email Monday:
As I will share in the upcoming days, it has been a tremendous honor to have humbly served WITH all of you in our wonderful school district. NC is a VERY special place and it is because of all of you, our students, our families, our administrative team and board, and our community in general that has allowed us to be considered one of the best districts in the area, state, and nation! As I reflect upon all of this, I become very emotional, given my relationship with all of you. I have been blessed beyond measure because of my friendships and relationships with all of you!
Gallina's goodbye comes at a turbulent time for North Canton City Schools. The district must transition into all-day, every-day kindergarten for the 2012-2013 school year, and Gallina has been instrumental in setting the district up for that transition.
The switch, referred to as the , means students in K-2 attend and , and students in grades 3-5 attend Intermediate School Intermediate School. All four schools now are elementaries.
The North Canton School Board plans to launch a search for a new superintendent, North Neighbor News reported Monday. The district could look to the Stark County Educational Service Center to lead a search for free. Or it could pay the Ohio School Board Association, the newspaper reported. The Board must also decide if an interim superintendent should be appointed.
Gallina did not return a phone call from North Canton Patch inquiring about his new position Monday.
A special board of education meeting is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the District Office. The sole agenda item is Gallina's resignation for the purpose of retirement.