On the evening of March 19, 2019 Southern Ohio Educational Service Center hosted the 22nd
annual Four County School Board dinner and meeting at Laurel Oaks Career Campus.
Beth Justice, Superintendent of Southern Ohio Educational Service Center brought the meeting
to order and served as the emcee of the evening. Harry Snyder, CEO/President of Great Oaks
Career Campuses welcomed the crowd of over 170 administrators and board members.
Members of the Wilmington American Legion Post 49 Honor Guard presented the colors and led
the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mrs. Justice kicked off the evening with a video of a Year in Review from Southern Ohio
Educational Service Center. Fondly referred to as SOESC, Southern Ohio Educational Service
Center provides educational services to Adams County Ohio Valley Local, Blanchester Local,
Bright Local, Clinton Massie Local, East Clinton Local, Fairfield Local, Greenfield Exempted,
Hillsboro City, Lynchburg-Clay Local, Miami Trace Local, Washington C.H. City, and
Wilmington City school districts.
SOESC Board President Martha Gausman provided inspirational opening remarks and
challenged the crowd to take time to reflect and effectively plan for the days and years to come.
David Beck and Matthew Spradlin directed talented, student musicians from Wilmington High
School who entertained the crowd during a delicious dinner. Vice President Jim Luck led the
invocation prior to the Italian style dinner.
After dinner the crowd enjoyed honoring individuals who have contributed greatly to the many
successes in our schools. A highlight of every year includes the Friend of Education Awards
representing Adams, Clinton, Fayette and Highland counties.
This year the award winner from Adams County was Mr. Tom Putnam who serves as a volunteer
School Resource Officer at North Adams Elementary. His presence alleviates parents and staff
concerns in regards to school safety.
In Clinton County Wilmington News Journal’s sports editor Mark Huber and editor Tom Barr
were honored for going out of their way to get the inside story and highlighting the schools in a
positive light with balance, fairness and professionalism.
The Friend of Education award was granted to Wayne Arnold who has spent his life working to
“making the best better”. He has spent decades serving Miami Trace and always focusing on
growing the minds and skills of those under his guidance.
Highland County honored Tom Purtell. Tom has served as the Fairfield Athletic Booster
President for over 25 years. In addition to this responsibility her has coached and organized
sports leagues for youth. He and his wife have generated an estimated $1,000,000 toward the
athletic and music programs for students at Fairfield Local.
Master teachers Loree Goddard of Miami Trace, Stephenie Erikkson, and Andrea Harpen of
Blanchester Local were honored for their renewal of the Master Teacher
designation. The Master Teacher program allows teachers to demonstrate their practice based on
the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession.
Over 35 awards were bestowed upon districts, schools and individuals for exceeding expected
student growth, earning all A’s on the state report card, sustaining high achievement and
progress serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students, meeting the
state’s requirements for Step Up to Quality preschools, and showing major commitment to
students and families connected to the military.
The evening continued with an introduction of the keynote speaker from Southern Ohio
Educational Service Vice President Jim Luck. Jim was honored to introduce this year’s speaker
as he hired her originally when she began her teaching career.
Nancy Reeves, State Board District 10 Teacher of the Year, presented as the keynote speaker.
She is a 8th grade Social Studies teacher at East Clinton Middle School, a position she has held for
28 years. Nancy encouraged and inspired the crowd of administrators and board members to
grow and honor their teachers through programs that are in place to pay tribute to educators.
This Four County Board meeting and dinner gives board members and administrators served by
the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center an opportunity to celebrate and energize
themselves to continue the work of providing high quality educational experiences for the boys
and girls of Southwest Ohio.