The Southern Ohio Educational Service Center recently hosted the 22nd-annual Four County School Board dinner and meeting at Laurel Oaks Career Campus.
Beth Justice, superintendent of Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, brought the meeting to order and served as the emcee of the evening. Harry Snyder, CEO/president of Great Oaks Career Campuses, welcomed the crowd of over 170 administrators and board members.
Members of the Wilmington American Legion Post 49 Honor Guard presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Justice kicked off the evening with a video of a Year in Review from Southern Ohio Educational Service Center. Fondly referred to as SOESC, Southern Ohio Educational Service Center provides educational services to Adams County Ohio Valley Local, Blanchester Local, Bright Local, Clinton Massie Local, East Clinton Local, Fairfield Local, Greenfield Exempted, Hillsboro City, Lynchburg-Clay Local, Miami Trace Local, Washington C.H. City, and Wilmington City school districts.
SOESC board president Martha Gausman provided inspirational opening remarks and challenged the crowd to take time to reflect and effectively plan for the days and years to come.
David Beck and Matthew Spradlin directed talented, student musicians from Wilmington High School who entertained the crowd during a delicious dinner. Vice president Jim Luck led the invocation prior to the Italian-style dinner.
After dinner, the crowd enjoyed honoring individuals who have contributed greatly to the many successes in the schools. A highlight of every year includes the Friend of Education Awards representing Adams, Clinton, Fayette and Highland counties.
This year the award winner from Adams County was Tom Putnam, who serves as a volunteer school resource officer at North Adams Elementary. His presence alleviates parents and staff concerns in regards to school safety.
In Clinton County, Wilmington News Journal’s sports editor Mark Huber and editor Tom Barr were honored for going out of their way to get the inside story and highlighting the schools in a positive light with balance, fairness and professionalism.
The Friend of Education award was granted to Wayne Arnold, who has spent his life working to “making the best better.” He has spent decades serving Miami Trace and always focusing on growing the minds and skills of those under his guidance.
Highland County honored Tom Purtell. He has served as the Fairfield Athletic Booster president for over 25 years. In addition to this responsibility, he has coached and organized sports leagues for youth. He and his wife have generated an estimated $1 million toward the athletic and music programs for students at Fairfield Local.
Master teachers Loree Goddard of Miami Trace, Stephenie Erikkson and Andrea Harpen of Blanchester Local were honored for their renewal of the Master Teacher designation. The Master Teacher program allows teachers to demonstrate their practice based on the Ohio standards for the teaching profession.
Over 35 awards were bestowed upon districts, schools and individuals for exceeding expected student growth, earning all As on the state report card, sustaining high achievement and progress serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, meeting the state’s requirements for Step Up to Quality preschools, and showing major commitment to students and families connected to the military.
The evening continued with an introduction of the keynote speaker by Southern Ohio Educational Service Vice President Jim Luck. Luck was honored to introduce this year’s speaker as he hired her originally when she began her teaching career.
Nancy Reeves, State Board District 10 Teacher of the Year, presented as the keynote speaker.
She is an eighth grade social studies teacher at East Clinton Middle School, a position she has held for 28 years. Reeves encouraged and inspired the crowd of administrators and board members to grow and honor their teachers through programs that are in place to pay tribute to educators.
This Four County Board meeting and dinner gives board members and administrators served by the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center an opportunity to celebrate and energize themselves to continue the work of providing high quality educational experiences for the boys and girls of southwest Ohio.