This week, Washington Court House City Schools Board of Education member Ken Upthegrove was honored by the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) for several decades of service to the district.
OSBA Central Region Manager Kim Miller-Smith traveled to the monthly meeting of the WCHCS board of education where she presented a plaque to Upthegrove for 25 years of service to the board and the district.
“Tonight I am here on behalf of the Ohio School Board Association to recognize the long-standing service of and to present to Washington Court House Board of Education member Kenneth Upthegrove his 25 year milestone service award,” OSBA Central Region Manager Kim Miller-Smith said. “Being a board member is harder than it looks, and many novice board members are disappointed with the thankless position they have assumed. Keeping that position and leading a district for this amount of time demonstrates passion and commitment to a district we love. We thank Mr. Upthegrove for his service to public education and his work to promote the students and families of the district.”
Following the presentation of the plaque to Upthegrove, Miller-Smith also thanked the other board members for their leadership and willingness to serve the district and community. She said that thanks to those efforts, the state enjoys “strong public schools.”
“It is pretty neat (to have earned this honor),” Upthegrove said this week. “The school board honored me a couple months ago and that was pretty neat, but I didn’t expect this, I knew a plaque was coming, but I didn’t expect to be honored or anything. It has been a good time working with the school board. I have done a lot, seen a lot and I think I know a little and it is pretty good.”
Upthegrove is no stranger to honors such as these, as just last month the Fayette County Historical Society featured him during Black History Month for being an important figure in the community.
According to the feature, Upthegrove was born on Aug. 21, of 1957. He was a 1977 graduate of Washington Senior High, where he excelled in the sport of basketball. After graduation, he attended Laurel Oaks Career Campus, where he would learn and eventually pay this knowledge forward and return as an educator to a new generation of youth.
He began working in the maintenance department of Washington Court House City Schools in 1982, where he would become the superintendent of said department 10 years later in 1992. After earning a degree in vocational education and construction from Wright State University, he would begin teaching at Laurel Oaks in 1995.
A year later, Upthegrove would become a member of the board of education for Washington City Schools, a position he has held for 25 years, to this very day.
“Mr. Upthegrove is an incredible asset to the students of Washington Court House City Schools,” WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey said. “As a board of education member for 25 years, he has given of his time and talent to help shape the incredible district that we are today. Each and every day our district is growing and getting better because of the leadership of our board. Mr. Upthegrove always gives his best so that we, the educators and administrators, can give our best.”
The feature also quoted Upthegrove as saying out of all of his accomplishments, “The best things that have happened to me are my wife (Melissa) and boys (Kenny, Evan and Nathan).”
“The Fayette County Historical Society would like to extend their most-sincere appreciation to this man, Mr. Ken Upthegrove, for his contributions to our city and county and for being such a positive role-model for this and future generations to come,” the feature said.
“There has been a lot of them,” Upthegrove said about the voters continuing to support him over the years. “It is humbling to know that the people of the community want me to continue to be on the board. I guess when they want me off I will stop running. Hopefully I can make 30 years, I don’t know (Upthegrove said with a laugh).”
The information in this article was provided by the Washington Court House City Schools and the Fayette County Historical Society.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.