July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Field set for Medina school board candidates

Eleven people have applied for two open seats on the Medina Board of Education. Board member Susan Vlcek announced last year she would resign her post at the start of this year, and board President Karla Robinson, who initially said she would resign in June, announced in December she also would leave Jan 1.

Both Robinson and Vlcek announced in September they would not serve out their full terms in response to the public furor over the new contract approved in January for Superintendent Randy Stepp.

Public outcry against a contract for Stepp led to the board rescinding the contract in the spring and requesting a special state audit of Stepp’s spending, which reported that Stepp illegally spent at least $4,121.

The board placed Stepp on unpaid leave and voted to start the process to fire him in October when the audit was released.

Stepp has gone to court to challenge the firing and the audit results. The board also has sued Stepp.

Robinson initially planned to serve on the board until the spring for continuity, but her announcement that she would resign means the board can appoint both positions from the pool of applicants they received. The application deadline was Friday.

“That fact that Karla did what she did with the timing allows us to appoint the two people right now,” said board member Tom Cahalan, who was appointed to the board last spring and won re-election in November.

State law requires the board to appoint the two replacements before Jan. 30 but after Jan. 10. Cahalan said they hope to appoint the new members at the board’s Jan. 27 regular meeting.

The appointed members will serve out the remainder of Vlcek and Robinson’s terms, which end in 2015.

School officials released information about the 11 applicants:

n Terry Bernath has lived in the school district for 21 years. Bernath is a retired law enforcement officer and serves on the Medina Schools’ community finance committee. Bernath applied for open board positions in 2013.

n Dennis M. Churgovich is retired and has lived in the district for 13 years. He holds a degree in computer and information science.

n Doug Eastwood has lived in the district more than 50 years. Eastwood is a 1981 graduate of Medina High School. He owns and operates his own company, Medina Excavating Inc. Eastwood applied for a position on the board in 2013.

n David Edmonds is a retired teacher and his lived in the district for nearly 40 years. He was a teacher in Strongsville Schools, and taught at Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University.

n Todd Gerber moved to Montville Township in 2013 but had lived in Wadsworth Township since 2002. Gerber is a director of category management at GOJO Industries. He holds a law degree from the University of Akron School of Law and holds additional master’s degrees in taxation and intellectual property laws. He serves on a number of local boards including the Medina County Port Authority, Wadsworth Public Library and Medina County Public Defenders Commission.

n Tracy Givelekian has lived in the district for more than seven years and serves as a senior associate/editor at ICF International. Givelekian is a building levy coordinator for Sidney Fenn Elementary School and is PTO president-elect of Sidney Fenn Elementary.

n William Green has lived in the district for more than 13 years. He serves as a human resources manager at Wolff Bros. Supply Inc. in Medina. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

n Christina Guk is retired from the U.S. Postal Service. She has served as a zoning clerk for Brunswick Hills Township.

n Shelby Kacludis is a nine-year resident of the district. She is the PTO president at Heritage Elementary School and a volunteer with Main Street Medina.

n Christopher O’Connell has lived in the district for more than 10 years and works as an HVAC sales manager for S.A. Comunale Co. Inc.

n Ronald Ross is a 27-year resident of the district, Ross holds a bachelor of science in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and is a retired Medina police sergeant. Ross has applied for board positions in the past and ran for an open in seat in the November election.

Robinson and Vlcek’s early departures mean none of the five board members who approved Stepp’s contract will remain on the board.

Cahalan replaced Dr. Robert Wilder, who retired in the beginning of 2013.

After board President Charles Freeman resigned in March, Doug Adamczyk was appointed to fill his seat and also won re-election in November.

Robert Skidmore won a third spot on the board in November and took office Wednesday. He replaced Bill Grenfell who chose not to run for another term.

Cahalan, Adamczyk and Skidmore will be sworn in at an organizational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the high school.

Cahalan said members will choose committees and elect a board president and vice president. Following that meeting, the board will host a work session at which they will discuss the hiring and interview process for the 11 applicants.

“My guess is we will interview all the applicants, but I haven’t talked to the other members yet so I don’t know what they think,” Cahalan said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.