SIDNEY — For the final time Monday night, Kelly Rees made a motion to adjourn the Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting. Darrell Spangler seconded the motion.
Both Rees and Spangler attended their final meeting as members of the BOE. Rees has been on the board for 12 years and Spangler for eight years. Neither sought re-election in November.
Rees, whose husband, David, attended her final meeting, said she has enjoyed her time on the board.
“It’s been a long but fast 12 years,” said Rees. “It’s mostly been fast.”
During her time on the board, Rees has served as president and is currently the vice president. She has served under five different superintendents during her tenure.
“I’ve served under a variety of superintendents,” said Rees. “Steve Miller was here when I started. He retired and we hired Mike Trego.”
Trego left the district and the board rehired Miller as an interim superintendent. Pat O’Donnell was the next superintendent. Jerry Harmon was hired as an interim superintendent after O’Donnell left. John Scheu was hired by the board five years ago.
“John has done a good job righting the ship,” said Rees.
Rees said teaching the community that every vote counts during an election was her greatest accomplishment on the board.
“One vote counts,” said Rees. “It was a very difficult time when we had staff we had to cut. It broke my heart because this was people’s livelihoods.”
The financial aspect of being a board member, she said, was the biggest challenge she faced.
“I never expected that,” said Rees. “I knew the state was making changes with how money would come to the schools, but to the level it happened — I never expected that.”
Rees said she hopes the district will continue to see improvements in the state report cards over the next few years.
“I’m also proud of the armed response team we’ve put into the schools,” said Rees. “I never thought we’d have to be armed in our schools.
“And look at the class on terrorism we approved,” she said. “Whoever thought we’d approve a class on terrorism for our junior and seniors.”
Rees said the most unexpected thing she encountered as a board member were all the mandates the state and federal government required of the district.
“I didn’t realize the state would mandate something but then not fund it,” said Rees. “There are a lot of unfunded mandates.”
Rees gave some simple advice to the new board members.
“Listen and learn the first year,” she said.
She and her husband are the parents of three sons, Kyle, who lives in Augusta, Ga., Evan, who is in his final year at North Carolina Greensboro, and Luke, who is a junior at Sidney High School.
“My middle son is going for his Ph.D. after he graduates and he’ll be either on the east or west coast,” she said. “So we’ll be doing a lot of traveling to see both of them. Luke says he’s going to college in Ohio because he’s seen how tough it’s been on mom with the other two away. Rees is employed at DK Manufacturing in Dublin.
Spangler said the greatest accomplishment during his time on the board was the recent passage of a tax levy.
“Getting the levy passed gave us funds to operate the district,” said Spangler.
During the district’s financial hardships, he said, the teachers and staff stepped up to continue to give the students the quality education they deserved.
“How our teachers performed and how they committed to take a tax cut so we could operate the district was appreciated by the board and me,” said Spangler.
He said the district faces a new challenge of passing the permanent improvement levy in March.
“This is vital and important to keep our buildings and school maintenance up,” said Spangler. “With the levy’s passage, we’ll have more money for the education of our kids.”
Spangler said when he first joined the board “It was not a pretty scene. Through perseverance, we’ve been able to let the people know we want to help with the education of their kids.”
During the board’s attempts to pass a PI levy a few years ago, the community let its displeasure be known with the board members.
“I received hate mail,” said Spangler. “That was a big disappointment to me.”
Spangler had worked at US Bank for 35 years and a number of my customers and their attitudes changed toward him during the levy’s failures.
“That was very disheartening to me,” said Spangler.
His advice to the new board members?
“Keep the administration and education programs solid and don’t let down,” said Spangler. “Be committed to get the best education for the students.”
Spangler said he is very proud of the district’s Academia Team.
“This shows we have a great program here,” said Spangler. “From the students to the faculty to the teachers, they’re all committed to education.”
Spangler and his wife, Faye, are the parents of two daughters, Brooke Gessler, who is the curriculum coordinator for Sidney City Schools, and Kristin Willman, who lives in Greenville. They have five grandchildren.
What’s next for Spangler?
“She’s not here but you’d have to ask my wife,” said Spangler. “I’ll be totally retired now. We enjoy traveling and I like to do yard work. We’ll also be attending our grandkids activities.”
They will be replaced by Mandi Croft and Richard L. Hix II, both of Sidney, who ran unopposed in the November election.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.