The Southern Ohio Educational Service Center hosted its 21st-annual Four-County Board and Dinner Meeting recently at the Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington.
Board of Education members, administrators and honored guests from Adams, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland counties were among those in attendance. Guest speaker Tess Elshoff, president of the State Board of Education, spoke and offered advice on being a successful board member. She encouraged districts to celebrate their successes and to spotlight every positive thing going on in their districts. Elshoff encouraged educational leaders to use the media as their friend rather than their enemy and to challenge fellow board members to go to neighboring districts to see what good things they have going on.
“Have high expectations and find what each child is challenged by,” said Elshoff. “We can’t fail our students by not providing support. Hold your school leaders accountable and ask questions. Hold yourself as a board member to high standards.”
Among those afforded special recognition during the night’s events were “Friend of Education Award” recipients. Each year, superintendents from each of the four counties are asked to nominate members of the community as Friends of Education — individuals or organizations that have contributed greatly to successes in the schools.
The Fayette County Friend of Education Award was presented to husband and wife duo, Tim and Alana Walters.
According to Superintendent Tom Bailey, Tim and Alana have contributed greatly to Washington Court House City Schools over many years as lifelong members of the Fayette County community and Blue Lion supporters. Each year, Tim and Alana volunteer and contribute to many of the school programs and buildings.
Tim is very knowledgeable in construction, specifically concrete and has helped many times to pour new concrete and repair equipment and facilities so that students may have the best possible. Tim also serves on the facilities committee and is helping to move forward with the development and planning of facilities for the performing arts programs and athletic hall of fame. He was recently named the strength and conditioning coach for Washington City Schools.
Tim and Alana also donate the use of their farm at least twice a year to host very large cross country meets. This entails removing crops early so there is ample parking for buses and cars. Tim and Alana handle the preparation of all of the food and amenities that go along with having several thousand people on their property.
Speaking of food, Alana and her mother never let the staff at Washington Middle School go hungry. As the principal’s secretary, Alana cooks full meals for the entire staff on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for Alana to wake at 2 a.m. to begin preparing a homemade meal for the staff—including homemade pies and desserts.
Tim and Alana also cook homemade noodles for the annual chicken and noodle fundraiser hosted by the Blue Lion basketball team. According to Bailey, their homemade noodles attract people from all over the region.
Additional “Friends in Education” awards were presented to Sheriff K.R. Rogers, of Adams County, Margie Eads Walker of Clinton County, and Mr. Doug Hauke of Highland County.
SOESC Superintendent Beth Justice also presented awards to member districts and area educators.
Justice recognized Miami Trace Local Schools as was one of 75 workplaces designated by the Columbus CEO Magazine as a “Top Workplace” for qualities such as company leadership, communication, career opportunities, working environment, and managerial skills as well as pay and benefits.
Justice also recognized winners of the Momentum Award as named by the State Board of Education. To earn such distinction, schools must exceed expectations in student growth for the year. The school must earn straight A’s on all Value Added measures on the report card, and the school or district must have at least two value added subgroups of students, which includes gifted, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities.
Justice congratulated the educational leaders and teams of New Vienna Elementary, Washington Middle School, Bright Elementary, and Clinton-Massie Elementary for earning Momentum Award honors.
Preschools in Adams, Clinton, Fayette, and Highland counties were also recognized for achieving the Step Up to Quality rating. Step Up to Quality is a five–star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Receiving Five-Star recognition in Adams County were North Adams, Peebles, and West Union Elementary Schools. Five-Star recognition in Clinton County included East End Elementary of Wilmington, and New Vienna and Sabina Elementary Schools of East Clinton. Putman Elementary of Blanchester earned a Four-Star rating. Receiving Five-Star recognition in Fayette County were Cherry Hill Primary of Washington C.H. and Miami Trace Elementary. Finally, Five-Star recognition in Highland County included Bright Elementary of Bright Local and Greenfield and Rainsboro Elementary of Greenfield Exempted.
Human resource director and SOESC Master Teacher Consortium member Rogina Conroy recognized Stacey Camp, a fourth grade ELS and social studies teacher at Peebles Elementary and Melanie Ohnewehr, a science teacher at North Adams High School, for completing the many hours needed to renew their Master Teacher designation.
SOESC Governing Board President Chrissy Charters brought the evening to a close by extending congratulations to all those present for the leadership they provide and the role they play in the many successes their schools have experienced.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for the SOESC.