The Southern Ohio Educational Service Center hosted its 21st annual Four-County Board and Dinner Meeting on March 20 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 offering 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 Clinton County Friend of Education Award was presented to Margie Eads Walker.
According to Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker, Walker has been a staple of the Clinton-Massie educational community for 39 years.
Beginning her career as a physical education teacher at CMHS, Walker served students in the classroom for 15 years before transitioning to the role of guidance counselor at the middle school. Walker’s commitment to students remained steadfast as she served as a counselor, dean of students, therapist, substitute teacher, or lunchroom supervisor, wearing the hat of whatever role was needed. Margie also served 13 years as the coach of the celebrated Clinton Massie drill team.
Additional “Friends in Education” awards were presented to Sheriff K.R. Rogers of Adams County, Tim and Alana Walters of Fayette County, and 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 recognitions 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 CH and Miami Trace Elementary.
And Five-Star recognition in Highland County included Bright Elementary of the Bright Local School District and Greenfield and Rainsboro Elementary of the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.
Human Resource Director and SOESC Master Teacher Consortium member Rogina Conroy recognized Stacey Camp, a grade 4 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.