FAIRBORN – The December Fairborn City Schools Board meeting, held on Dec. 7, was anything but business as usual as school board members bid a fond farewell to outgoing School Board Member Jeri Luce.
Luce, who was elected to office in 2013, chose not to seek reelection in November.
On behalf of the school district, School Board President Andrew Wilson asked for a resolution officially giving recognition to Luce for her selfless service and contribution to the school district. School board members presented Luce with several tributes including an exquisite Skyhawk metal sculpture her son, Physical Education Teacher Jacob Dysinger designed, and a bouquet of flowers.
Jeri has been around this town forever,” School Board Member Pat McCoart said when presenting a recognition certificate to Luce. “Jeri went two years without most of us on the board and two years with us. We sure appreciate her.”
McCoart also noted that the school board had purchased an 8-by-8-inch paver brick with Luce’s family name on it that will be placed in the track area.
“We all do this because we love kids, and I know that Jeri is in that same boat. She has been a little slice of heaven I know for me. I have known her for a long, long time. She has done a tremendous job, and I thank you for what you have done, Jeri,” said McCoart.
Tearful at times, Luce expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve the school district and its students. Luce also publically acknowledged a long list of individuals who supported her during her four-year tenure on the school board, thanking them individually for what they had done and noting that their support meant a great deal to her.
“When I ran for office four years ago, I said that I would give this board four years of my life to try to make a difference, and it has been four years of my life,” Luce said. “I have learned a lot in those four years.”
Luce expressed a special thank you to Wilson who was also elected to office in 2013 along with Luce.
“The only person who knows exactly what I have been through on this journey in four years is Andy. I want to thank Andy for everything,” said Luce. “When we started four years ago, we had a very different town; we had a very different morale; we had a very different school board. If you remember, those were the days we had town meetings at the legion and at churches, and the teachers wore red shirts. Now, they wear blue Skyhawk shirts, and we are very proud of that. We have come a long way.”
Luce pointed out several changes that transpired during her term in office, including the fact that the district has a new superintendent, new treasurer, new legal counsel and new busses.
“We have taken a lot of pride in our buildings, our stadiums, and our fields. We have pass levies and a bond issue,” Luce stated. “We collaborate now with city council, and we have meetings with city council members and with township trustees. We are working together, and we have made huge strives. We are very happy with that.”
Luce also acknowledge the fact that the district has new administrators in many district buildings and has switched around other administrators.
“I think that the morale in those buildings is the highest that I have seen in decades, and I think that is great,” Luce said. “The parents and students are happy, and the staff and faculty are happy. That is huge.”
Luce expressed her regrets that she would not be an active member of the school board during the construction and completion of the new school buildings, but she pointed out that she would definitely be around to celebrate those special events.
“These are the best people to work with. We truly like each other and get alone great,” Luce said of her fellow school board members. “We enjoy being together whether it is in Columbus or Lebanon or all around. We don’t always 100 percent agree on everything, but we are easily able to talk about it, work it out, and come to agreements. I have really appreciated them.”
Luce concluded by wishing her successor, Mary Reaster, the best of luck as she officially replaces Luce on the school board in January 2018.
“Mary couldn’t be walking into a better board. I think the district is in a great place now. I think we have come a long way, and I think we are still going,” said Luce. “We are on our way, and I can’t wait to see what happens in our future because this journey is not over. We still have a lot more to do, but I think we are doing the best we can. I think you cannot ask for more than that.”
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.