By Dedra Cordle
As his time on the South-Western City Schools Board of Education drew to a close, Gary Leasure could only think of one person who he thought had what it takes to help lead the sixth largest school district in the state of Ohio.
“Randy Reisling came to my mind immediately,” he said.
Having known each other through their church, Leasure said Reisling displayed all of the qualities he felt made an excellent leader.
“He was a very caring person who was always involved in the community,” he said.
According to Leasure, it took some prompting to get Reisling to run for a seat on the board, but eventually he said he wore him down.
As for Reisling, he said at the Aug. 8 meeting that he didn’t really expect to win, but enjoyed the process of campaigning.
“I loved putting those signs out and riding in the back of Gary’s truck,” he said with a laugh.
But in 2008, Reisling was elected to a vacant seat on the board and even served as the board president in 2010, 2013, and 2014, as well as the vice-president in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Among the issues Reisling rallied behind was the bond issue that would have brought 13 new elementary schools, two renovated elementary schools and a new Franklin Heights High School to the district through a partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
Ohio State Rep. Cheryl Grossman called Reisling one of the “biggest cheerleaders” of that issue as well as many more.
“For Randy, it was always about ‘we’ and never ‘me,’” Grossman said.
But on Aug. 5, Reisling informed the board that he would be resigning for personal reasons.
When he came to the board of education meeting on Aug. 8 to accept awards of service from Grossman, Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage and a representative from the Ohio School Board Association, he called himself a “man of few words” but thanked everyone from the district leaders, state leaders and the students, staff and the community.
Reisling said he loved his time on the board.
When it came time to vote for his resignation, several of the board members got choked up.
“It’s very bittersweet,” said Mindy Garverick, who ran for a seat on the board with Reisling in 2008.
She called Reisling a committed and passionate person whose love for students, teachers and staff was unwavering.
Lee Schreiner called Reisling a mentor and a friend.
“You have left quite the legacy,” he told Reisling who was seated in the audience.
Board president Cathy Johnson agreed.
“You have left us (the district) in much better shape than it was when you joined the board.”
Leasure said after the meeting that he could not have been prouder of Reisling.
“His presence on the board will be sorely missed.”
As per Ohio rules, the district will have 30 days to name a replacement for Reisling’s seat.
Johnson said they plan to do so at the Aug. 22 meeting. The newly-appointed member will serve on the board until Dec. 31, 2017.