Windham, OH – A newly-appointed Ohio school superintendent was suspended without pay after she was charged with having sex with one 16-year-old student and trying to have sex with another.
Laura Amero, 35, became superintendent of Windham Exempted Village Schools on Feb. 1, according to the Record-Courier.
Amero is accused of having had sex with a 16-year-old student, and trying to have sex with another student when he was 16 and 17.
All of the incidents took place between 2015 and 2017 while she was principal of Windham Junior/Senior High School, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Both boys were minors at the time of the incidents.
Amero was charged with two third-degree felony counts of sexual battery in connection with one of the victims and two fourth-degree felonies of attempted sexual battery with the second victim, according to the Record-Courier.
Court records showed she was also charged with two first-degree misdemeanor counts of intimidation of a crime victim or witness, an incident which allegedly took place on March 28.
Amero pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on a $350,000 cash bond, the Record-Courier reported.
The Windham Exempted Village Schools Board of Education met in an emergency session at 7 a.m. the day after Amero was arrested and voted to suspend the superintendent without pay, the Record-Courier reported.
Her annual salary is $96,500 and she had a three-and a-half-year contract with the school district, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The new superintendent had been on paid administrative leave since the beginning of April when the school board first became aware of the allegations against her, the Record-Courier reported.
Board of Education President Darryl McGuire said the police initially brought the matter to the school board’s attention, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The school board released a statement after they learned Amero had been indicted, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
“This is an ongoing investigation therefore any questions concerning Ms. Amero should be directed to the Portage County Prosecutor’s office. The Windham Exempted Village Schools will continue to cooperate as requested by law enforcement,” the statement read.
The school board appointed the former superintendent, Gregg Isler, as acting superintendent on April 2 after they put Amero on paid administrative leave, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
One parent of a Windham student told WFMJ that she heard about the investigation and Amero’s suspension from her son.
She complained that the school district had failed to notify parents until several days later.
"I just feel like that was something that we should have been notified about immediately," Dominique Hardwick told WFMJ. "It needs to be addressed to make sure there aren't any other victims.”
Before Amero became principal at Windham Junior/Senior High School in 2015, she taught English at Campbell and Western Reserve High Schools in Mahoning County, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
She was also the softball coach at Western Reserve and a curriculum supervisor for Mahoning County Educational Services, according to WFMJ.
The Record-Courier obtained her personnel files from Mahoning County and reported that, while her evaluations by Western Reserve Principal Jeff Zatchok marked her “proficient” and there were no negative comments, it had been noted that the teacher needed to “work to maintain a solid boundary between student/teacher differences.”
Amero married the principal’s son, Jacob Zatchok, in 2012 while she was teaching at Western Reserve High School.
Mahoning County court records showed the couple divorced in 2013.
Amero’s next hearing is scheduled for May 31 in Portage County Common Pleas Court, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.