The Urbana City Schools board will continue to debate, and possibly select, a replacement to fill former board vice president Warren Stevens’ position Monday, Oct. 17. Stevens died in a car crash Sept. 28.
The board interviewed three candidates Saturday, Oct. 8, after reviewing eight letters of interest from potential board members. The board could not agree on which of the three to select at Monday’s special meeting, so set another meeting to potentially appoint someone.
The person selected to fill Stevens’ spot will serve through Dec. 2017. A special election would be held in November 2017 to fill the remaining two years of Stevens’ four-year term, Urbana Superintendent Charles Thiel said. Three other board members – Alyssa Dunham, Jack Beard and Tim Lacy – will be up for election at that time.
The three candidates the board interviewed Saturday are:
•Yale Cline, a retired educator from Springfield City Schools. Cline retired after 30 years in education. He states in his letter of interest he believes “communication within our community is very important for understanding board views and the views of the community.”
•Sarah Finch, a retired administrator of Sodexo School Services. Sodexo provides food and cafeteria services to Urbana schools. Finch said she wanted to join the board “to be able to be a member of a team to work with and for our Urbana City Schools operation and for our students.”
•Darrell Thomas, a Honda employee for 18 years. Thomas said he has two children in school and that his wife, Carrie, works as a paraprofessional at Urbana South Elementary. He said he has the same passion as other board members and said, “I am a firm believer that our children are our future and what we deposit into them will create positive growth.”
The other individuals who sent letters of interest include:
•Jim Arter, former board member. Arter wrote in his letter of interest, “I would like to continue the legacy of Warren Stevens and work for the betterment of students in the Urbana City Schools.”
•John Birkhimer, retired chief aerospace designer for Tech Development in Dayton. He is also a former designer/draftsman of Grimes Manufacturing, a retired colonel in the Ohio National Guard and a retired U.S. Army Reserve captain and commander. He is treasurer of the Urbana Schools Levy Committee. A previous Urbana school board member, he says in his letter, “with new buildings in the future there are going to be tough decisions that will need to be made and I feel that I have the ability, temperament and background to be a part of making those decisions.”
•Mark Bloemhard, CEO and executive creative director of Bootstrap & Co. Creative Studios and an adjunct professor of Urbana University’s College of Business. A previous Urbana school board member, he states in his letter he would be “honored to serve in Mr. Stevens’ vacant seat. While the absence of such a remarkable citizen will be painful, I trust my previous experience serving on the school board will make for a smooth transition.”
•Doug Crabill, community development manager for the city of Urbana. Crabill has served on the Facility Steering Committee for the new school buildings and the levy committee for the bond issue for new facilities. He said he wanted to be on the board because he believes the community would grow and prosper with new school buildings as long as the education is the best that can be provided. He said he wanted to serve on the board to “work proactively with fellow school board members, administration, teacher and students alike to achieve this vision collectively.”
•Randy Dunham, retired chief master sergeant and former president of the Ohio National Guard Enlisted Association. Dunham is a licensed and trained mediator for the U.S. Air Force and retired small business owner. He said he wants to be on the board “to be an advocate for the taxpaying citizens of Urbana with regard to operations of the school district, both financial and administratively, while ensuring the quality of education meets all state and federal standards.”
The board’s special meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at the board office, 711 Wood St. The board must appoint a replacement by Oct. 28. Otherwise the Champaign Probate Court will appoint someone.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.