SCS director of operations resigns

Eric Finke to leave district Oct. 31

By Melanie Speicher -



SIDNEY — The resignation of a 13-year employee of Sidney City Schools was accepted during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Following an executive session at the start of the meeting, the board returned to accept Eric Finke’s resignation, effective Oct. 31. Finke, who was the director of operations, technology and transportation, was placed on paid administrative leave until his resignation becomes effective.

Tuesday afternoon, Superintedent John Scheu said, “Eric is (being) placed on paid administrative leave until his resignation of Oct. 31, 2016, to provide for a smooth transition with his replacement, Jerry Harmon, who will be assuming the position of director of transportation and business services, effective Oct. 12, 2016,” said Scheu. “The tech director position is being assumed by John Michalos, network engineer for SCS.”

Scheu said at the Oct. 17 meeting that an item will be placed on the upcoming meeting agenda to hire Harmon.

During Monday’s meeting, board member Paul Heins said it was “with regret and disappointment” that he made the motion to accept the resignation. Bob Smith seconded it.

When Treasurer Mike Watkins called for the vote, the resignation was accepted by a 3-2 vote, with Mandi Croft and Chip Hix both voting no, while Heins, Smith and Board President Bill Ankney voted yes.

After the meeting both Croft and Hix commented on their votes.

“We are losing an asset to the district and I think we should have tried harder to keep him,” said Croft.

“I’m uncomfortable with the circumstances leading up to his resignation,” said Hix.

After Monday’s meeting, Scheu said Finke was pursuing other career options when asked why Finke was leaving the district.

Finke began teaching in the district during the 2003-04 school year, when he was hired as a fourth-grade teacher at Parkwood. He then taught fourth-grade from 2004-11 at Northwood School.

He became the assistant principal of Northwood School for the 2011-12 school year and was promoted to principal for the 2012-13 school year. He became director of operations in 2013.

In other business, Sidney High School administrators reported to the board how the new school year was going.

Principal Jon Geuy said things are going well at the high school.

“We have a good team,” said Geuy. “Mr. (John) Willoughby is a very positive addition.”

Geuy said there are “Bee Your Best” posters in the classrooms which encourage the students to “Bee positive” and “Bee on time.”

“Homecoming went very well,” said Geuy. “We had 700 kids at the homecoming dance.”

He said there are 95 FFA members this year, a number which he believes is second highest in the county behind Anna High School’s club.

There are 30 members in the Key Club, which is associated with the Kiwanis Club. FCCLA has 25 members and DECA has 30 members.

“The TV productions class has made commercials for the United Way and Peerless,” said Geuy. “Other companies have contacted them to make commercials for them.”

The first choir concert, said Geuy, will be Oct 13. Sidney’s orchestra is participating the the Evening with Strings on Oct. 24 at Centerville. The Music Boosters will hold a spaghetti dinner on Nov. 5.

Assistant Principal Doug Zimmer said the students are back into the routine of being in school. Interim report cards went out last week.

“We had quite a few staff members at the homecoming dance,” said Zimmer. “We’re getting ready to being a mentoring group with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

Assistant Principal John Willloughby is in charge of discipline at the school.

“The kids know what to expect,” said Willoughby. “I’d like to see less referrals on public works. I want the teachers to manage their classrooms and problems before sending students to me.”

Willoughby said if the teacher can handle problems in the classroom, he/she will gain the respect of the students.

A no cellphone policy has been adopted, said Willoughby. The only time students can use their cellphones is during their lunch period.

“I’ve had seven referrals of cellphones in the classroom,” he said. “The kids are adjusting to it.”

There are exceptions, he said, if the teacher asks the students to use the phone in the classroom.

Mitch Hoying, athletic director, said six of the seven fall sports have winning records.

“We’re winning twice as much as we did during the district’s financial troubles,” said Hoying.

First-year Spanish teacher Courtney Simpkins gave a presentation about a proposed student trip to Madrid, Spain, from June 7 to June 19, 2017.

Simpkins said she is working with International Studies Abroad (ISA), Austin, Texas, in planning the itinerary. The ISA, she said, will provide staff members to serve as chaperons when the group reaches Spain.

Airfare, food, hotel, the home stay, transportation and excursions will be included in the cost, which will be between $3,500-3,900 per student. Students will have to pay for two meals plus any souvenirs they purchase.

“I will set up fundraisers for the students,” said Simpkins. “On March 1, the roster is due with a $200 deposit per student. April 1 is when the full payment is due.”

Simpkins said she had met with ISA representatives last week.

“They will meet with students in November,” said Simpkins. “All Spanish students are eligible to go.”

The board approved the trip Simpkins proposed. All expenses will be paid by the students.

Eric Finke to leave district Oct. 31

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,