A Portage County school superintendent is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student and attempting to have sexual relations with another student.
Windham schools Superintendent Laura Amero has been charged with having sex with one high school boy in 2017 when he was 16 and a student, and attempting to have sexual relations with another student when he was 16 and 17 between 2015 and 2017, according to an indictment filed in Portage County Common Pleas Court.
Amero, 35, is also facing two third-degree felony counts of sexual battery in connection with one of the victims, now age 18, two fourth-degree felony counts of attempted sexual battery in connection with the second victim, now 19, and two first-degree misdemeanor counts of intimidation of a crime victim or witness. The intimidation allegedly took place March 28, according to court records.
Amero was principal of the Junior/Senior High School during the times the alleged sexual battery occurred and superintendent when the alleged intimidation occurred.
At her arraignment Monday in Portage County Common Pleas Court, she pleaded not guilty via video to all counts and is being held on a $350,000 cash bond.
Amero was placed on paid administrative leave at the beginning of April after the Windham Board of Education was notified of alleged misconduct. The board appointed former Superintendent Gregg Isler acting superintendent on April 2, after putting Amero on paid administrative leave.
According to a news release from the district, administrators and the board learned of the indictment Monday morning.
“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 release stated.
Amero remains on administrative leave, the district confirmed, and a special board of education meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday morning to “further discuss her employment status.”
Board of Education President Darryl McGuire said previously that he believes police brought the matter to the school district’s attention. Windham police have not commented on the investigation.
Amero previously taught English at Western Reserve High School in Mahoning County and was a curriculum supervisor for Mahoning County Educational Services before joining Windham in 2015 as the junior/senior high school principal.
She was appointed superintendent of the roughly 480-student Windham district after Isler announced his retirement. She had been given a 3½-year contract paying $96,500. Her first day as superintendent was Feb. 1.
The Record-Courier requested and received Amero’s file from the Windham school district, but it did not contain any disciplinary files. Isler listed her as skilled or accomplished on every evaluation from 2015-18, but did not include any additional comments.
Through a public records request, the Record-Courier also obtained Amero’s personnel file from Western Reserve. Within the 49-page file, there are only two pages of evaluation. In her review for the 2009-10 school year, Principal Jeff Zatchok lists her as proficient in all categories. All comments are positive, with the exception of a comment to “work to maintain a solid boundary between student/teacher differences.” In 2012, Amero married Zatchok’s son, Jacob Zatchok. Amero and Jacob Zatchok divorced in 2013, according to Mahoning County court records.
A 2012 peer evaluation praised Amero for her engaged students, class management and organization.
A pretrial is scheduled for May 31 in Portage County Common Pleas Court.