Familiar faces compete for 3 seats on United school board

HANOVERTON- Residents will see two former staff members with two incumbents competing for the United school board on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Former superintendent RuthAnn Rinto and former teacher Wendy Doyle are running with incumbents Mike Phillis and Susan Drotleff for three seats on the board.

– Wendy Doyle, a 1969 graduate of United, spent 36 years as a school teacher at Lisbon and United, retiring from United in 2010. Currently a student teacher supervisor for a Kent State University substitute teacher at United, she is also a former state teacher evaluator for Praxis from 2002 through 2010 and former supervisor at the Salem Community Center (opening through 2005).

Doyle is a member of Winona Friends church, the Winona Area Historical Society, the Guilford Lake Civic Association, Winona Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, Lydia’s Daughters of the King Missionary Society and a lifetime member of the O.E.A. and N.E.A.

As a Kent State University graduate, with graduate courses at Ashland University and Praxis evaluator and mentor certificates, Doyle said her experience as a teacher, state teacher evaluator and mentor, plus that from her committee work, achievement testing and knowledge of the district, gives her a good foundation to work on the school board.

“I have a good understanding of the workings and running of our system, policies and school board,” she said. “I will support positive agenda for the children’s needs and always look for ways to improve. I will keep an open mind to new ideas while using my 40 years in the education field to make wise and sensible decisions.”

Doyle highlighted the state of the school district as a concern.

“We have to deal with aging buildings, outdated window[s], doors, climate control and equipment,” she said. “Our elementary is in dire need of change either with wing replacement or a whole new elementary campus. Morale must remain high either with an old building or new wings.

“If I am elected I will do my best to educate myself on the best way to financially meet the needs of the school. Then I can help decide the best solution for long-term answers. Band-aids will not work any longer; we missed a large window of state help, so now we must move on and act accordingly.”

Doyle also said she hopes to help the district continue improving to meet changing state mandates for students, staff and administration, supporting the process with training, assessment, encouragement and time needed to meet the mandates.

Doyle lives with her husband, Daryl, on Parkview Road in Hanoverton. They have two sons.

– Susan Drotleff, incumbent, has served on the board since 2002. She is a 1972 graduate of United and currently works part time in accounts payable at Thorne Management in Salem. She is also a 1976 graduate of Kent State University and 2001 graduate of Hondros College for real estate licensure.

Drotleff is active in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Salem, where she serves as treasurer of the congregation, substitute Sunday School teacher, choir member, member of the church Endowment board, Management Division and Church Council. She is also a member and past officer of the Salem Saxon Club and United Wall of Fame Committee, as well as announcer for the United High School Band.

A former correspondent reporter for 16 years, including covering school board meetings at United, Lisbon and Sebring, Drotleff said she gained valuable insight into the workings of school board which helped shape her decision to run for office. She said her experience working with a variety of board members, administrators and staff at the school to provide a good quality education for the students has been an honor and a task she does not take lightly.

“I am willing to devote the time necessary to be an informed advocate for the public education our district’s children,” she said.

During her tenure on the board, Drotleff said her biggest accomplishment has been taking part in the district’s financial planning, ensuring the district has maintained fiscal discipline without sacrificing a quality education for the students.

“The United Local Board of Education provides an excellent public education for the students of our district in the face of ever-tightening fiscal resources,” she said.

Drotleff said she believes strongly in the value of quality public education for all students and that all students must be “equipped to deal with, and be viable in, a 21st century world.”

“I know that, ultimately, I must make my decisions based on what I believe is in the best interests of out United Local students and their education,” she said. “The real reward for me, personally, is sitting on the platform every year in May, watching our United Local students receive their diplomas and go out into the world to make their mark, knowing that we, as a district, have given them the tools to do so.”

Drotleff lives on Tower Road in Salem with her husband, Tom. They have two children, both graduates of United.

– Mike Phillis, incumbent, has served on the board for eight years. He is a United Local graduate and has spent the past 31 years with Columbia Gas of Ohio.

A lifelong member of the United community, Phillis is an active member of Phillips Christian Church and has been involved with many clubs, organizations and committees during his life, always with United’s interest at heart.

“I enjoy working with and for the United students, parents and teachers,” he said.

During his time on the board, Phillis said his biggest accomplishments include helping keep the district fiscally sound, working with the other board members and administration to keep United a “premier choice for getting a quality public education in Columbiana County” and helping with academic decisions to get the district the an Excellent rating on the 2011-2012 state report card.

Phillis lives with his wife, Lynn, on Salem Grange Road in Salem. They have three children.

– RuthAnn Rinto, an honorary graduate of United Local, has over 40 years of experience in education with Cleveland Public Schools as a special education teacher; Minerva Local Schools as a special education teacher and children services coordinator; and United Local, where from 1990 through 2012 she served as elementary and high school principal positions and most recently as superintendent. She is currently retired but working part time as a Spin/fitness instructor at the Salem Community Center and student teacher supervisor at the University of Mount Union.

She is a 1964 graduate of Shaker Heights High School and 1968 graduate of Bowling Green State University. She earned her masters degree from BGSU in 1969 and her doctoral program-educational leadership ABD.

Rinto is an active member in the United community, serving as secretary of the United Athletic Booster Club, United Wall of Fame Committee and the United Community Scholarship Foundation, as well as a member of the Winona Area Historical Society and Charitable Foundation board of the Salem Community Hospital.

In addition to her work experience, Rinto has also served on the Minerva Public Library Board of Trustees for 34 years, taking part in the building of the library at no cost to taxpayers and the renovation of the building.

“My career experiences as a teacher, principal and superintendent, and my volunteer activities serving on boards and committees, have given me the listening, thinking and communicating skills that are needed to be an effective school board member,” she said. “I am also very knowledgeable about all school operations and finances. I like to work with others to accomplish projects or goals and I have the time the to listen to community members’ concerns and thoughts. I am not afraid to make the right decisions that are in the best interests of our students, community and taxpayers.”

Considering her past experience, Rinto said her understanding of school funding, school law and school policies makes her a unique candidate for the board. Working part time also gives her the opportunity to attend meetings and school activities and to be a responsible board member.

“I believe that United Local provides a good education for the children in our community and I would like to be part of a board that continues to prepare our students for their future,” she said. “I will do my best to represent the families and community members of United while serving on the board.”

Rinto also said that she will volunteer for any state level committee that promotes revising the way public schools are funded in Ohio.

“I feel that public education in Ohio is not funded correctly,” she said. “Taxpayers are asked to approve levies based on two-thirds of the valuation of their homes or emergency levies or replacement levies or five-year permanent improvement levies or permanent, permanent improvement issues or bond issues that last for 20 to more than 30 years. There is also a 10 percent homeowners’ roll back and a 2.5 percent homeowner’s rollback, both of which are disappearing if new or additional funds are voted in. There are inside mills, outside mills, outside mills that can be moved inside, mill floors and the Homestead Exemption Act, which senior citizens can’t apply for after this year.

“Hardly anyone understands how schools are funded in Ohio. It’s a crazy and confusing way to ask taxpayers and property owners to support public education and Ohio students, who are our future and the keepers of our democracy.”

Rinto and her husband, Conrad, operate Weathervane Farm on Whinnery Road in Winona. They have five children and four grandchildren.