(WHBC) – Turning things around doesn’t happen overnight, says Dr. Jeff Graham, the new superintendent of Canton City Schools.

“If you’re looking at an increase in student achievement right away, that’s not how it works,” Graham told WHBC Tuesday night after the Canton City School District Board of Education unanimously approved his hire.

Graham says running a successful school district is all about people, and the first thing he’ll do is go on a listening tour to hear from teachers and staff members their thoughts and concerns.

“We have a staff full of very talented, dedicated teachers and staff members and I think there’s a hunger to address all the challenges and I just want to be a part of it.”

School Board Vice President Eric Resnick is excited to get an educator of Graham’s caliber.

“He’s the whole package. He’s battle-tested, he’s been around and learned things in other district’s he’s been with so he’s coming to us with a pretty broad base of knowledge.”

Resnick says the Board made it clear to Graham, and the other candidates, that improving academic achievement is the district’s top priority.

“Our academic performance in the last five years has fallen, and we need to turn that around,” Resnick said.

The district received an F on the last State Report Card and has been told by the state that it is approaching “academic distress.”

The terms of Graham’s contract are still being finalized, but the board wanted to make his hire official as soon as possible so he could start getting to work.