(Posted July 12, 2022)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
A vacant seat on the Jefferson Local school board did not stay empty for long with the appointment of Galloway resident Loriena Roberts a month after David Harper stepped down after 23 years of service.
In her June 3 application letter to Superintendent William Mullett, Roberts said she has been involved in education in a variety of facets for 24 years and moved into the school district 15 years ago.
From 1998 through 2009, she worked for Hamilton Local Schools as a softball coach, science/language arts teacher, literacy coach and in elementary instructional support. From 2019 to the present, she served as a substitute teacher at Norwood Elementary.
Roberts was a classroom volunteer at Norwood from 2011 to 2019, served as a Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor program volunteer from 2018 to 2020, and volunteered as a West Jefferson Youth (WJY) assistant softball coach from 2013 to 2014, along with serving as a WJY assistant volleyball coach/head coach from 2014 to 2017.
“My understanding of school district rules and regulations, along with my love for engaging students, parents and community fit well into the role of a school board member,” Roberts wrote. “I believe my experience brings valuable insight and prospective to help guide our district into the future.”
Roberts graduated from Elgin High School in 1994, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio University in 1998 and a master’s degree in education and allied professions from the University of Dayton in 2002.
She is a Girl Scout troop leader, a parent volunteer with Jefferson Local musicals and the West Jefferson Music Boosters, and serves as the booster group’s secretary.
“In the 15 years my family has lived in the district, I have always strived to be an active participant in the community and our school district,” Roberts said. “I have had the benefit of watching our two children thrive in their educational experience at Jefferson Local Schools.
“I see this next step as an opportunity to continue the engagement I have tried to achieve during my time in this community. I have enjoyed working side-by-side with teachers, other community members and administrators during my time volunteering over the years.”
Roberts hopes her experiences in the field of education and volunteerism within the community are assets in working with current board members to guide the district into a successful future.
Four candidates submitted applications for the open board seat. The board interviewed all four on June 27. Treasurer Mark Ingles administered the oath of office to Roberts on July 11.
Combining more than two decades with Jefferson Local and time spent in Hilliard on the city council, staff and committees, Harper served the public for 52 years. Before he moved to Madison County, he worked for a banking institution and as a volunteer on committees under the mayor and with Hilliard children.
Harper officially stepped down on June 13 as a school board member, but said he will continue to serve as the district’s representative on the Tolles Career and Technical Center board until the end of his term at the end of the year.
“And I’m not resigning. This is more of a retirement, and I’m still going to be involved with the athletic boosters,” Harper stated previously. “I’m just stepping down to be more involved with my family and grandchildren.”
In other action, the board completed the second half of a two-step process to place a substitute levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. The action also gives a citizen-led committee the go-ahead to start the campaign process which is privately funded and does not involve school financial resources.
The emergency levy was first passed nearly 40 years and runs for a seven-year term. Mullett previously reported the levy does not ask for any new taxes but does allow the district to collect taxes on new growth.
Mullett also pointed out that if the levy is approved, taxpayers will continue to reap the benefit of a 12.5 percent exemption on their home.