Board introduces new teachers; public comments on levy

by Laura Bednar

Aug. 29 board of education meeting

The Nordonia Hills Board of Education introduced 14 new teachers to begin the school year.

The list: Kristina Brown, middle school long-term sub; Kalli Butler, intervention specialist for Northfield and Rushwood elementary schools; Kyle Fenn, family consumer science teacher at the high school, Lauren Greco, Ledgeview Elementary kindergarten teacher; Lauren Griggy, fifth-grade math and science teacher at Lee Eaton Elementary; Andrea Maldonado, high school math teacher; Danielle Miller, Northfield Elementary teacher; Donovon Nichols, intervention specialist at Lee Eaton and freshman football coach; Patrick Riley, high school science teacher; Maggie Schneider, long-term sub at Rushwood; Tyler Stern, middle school English language arts teacher; Rebecca Taylor, high school speech/language pathologist; Danielle Westbrook, Lee Eaton psychologist; and Joe Zeffer, high school intervention specialist.

New Nordonia teachers (l-r) Donovon Nichols, Patrick Riley, Maggie Schneider and Tyler Stern. Photos by Laura Bednar.
New Nordonia teachers (l-r) Kristina Brown, Kalli Butler, Kyle Fenn, Lauren Greco, Lauren Griggy, Andrea Maldonado, and Danielle Miller.

Public comments

Several community members spoke during the open forum regarding the bond levy and school security.

Resident William Beck said, as a former banker, he did not see the savings of constructing new school buildings with levy money. He also asked if the size of the buildings would be “overbuilding,” because student enrollment has declined in recent years.

Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark said the estimated savings through consolidation was $700,000 per building for an approximate total of $2 million. He added, “Three buildings will bring us more in line with the number of students we have.”

District resident Carol Lewis asked where the money would go from the sale of old school buildings. Treasurer Matt Brown said it would help pay the debt from the rebuilding project.

Lewis asked, “Can the school hire a project manager or does that person come with the company?”

Brown said there is a vetting process for a project manager with bids coming in for the board to approve.

Parent Jeff Pudelski said students have succeeded at Nordonia, and the community has not paid to construct buildings for 50-60 years. “Now the bill comes due,” he said in support of the levy. “It’s time for us to leave our legacy.”

Resident John Patterson asked how new buildings would promote academic success. Clark said the facilities would allow for more modern education but he had not researched studies correlating buildings with academics.

Resident Loren Bruns asked Clark if Nordonia planned to arm teachers in line with Ohio House Bill 99, which allows teachers to carry firearms after 24 hours of training. “I will never bring a motion before the board that would arm school staff,” Clark said.

Parent Laura Gabel said she has been a university professor teaching school safety for 15 years and provides security training throughout the state. “Nordonia keeps up with school safety,” she said. “New buildings would give state-of-the-art security that is needed.”

She said she thought that the layout of the school building contributed to the Uvalde shootings.

Donations and grants

The Building Boosters of Nordonia Hills donated a programmable scrolling display sign for the safety desk in the high school lobby worth $384. The Chaffee Family Foundation donated $2,095 to the NHS Robotics team. Ledgeview Elementary PTA donated a refrigerator, two microwaves and a microwave cart for the staff lounge valued at $2,975.

The school also received a $203,000 federal K-12 safety grant.

The Building Boosters have again set up a “Teacher Wishlist” Facebook group for teachers in the Nordonia and St. Barnabas schools to communicate what they need in their classrooms. Building Booster President Karen Byers said community members can donate items or money, and the list is posted all year. ∞