April 24, 2014

Medina
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Medina school board entirely different from a year ago

MEDINA — The Medina school board installed Doug Eastwood and Tracy Givelekian at Monday night’s meeting.

The two fill the seats left vacant by the resignations of Karla Robinson and Susan Vlcek.

Doug Eastwood

Doug Eastwood

Tracy Givelekian

Tracy Givelekian

Their appointments mark the end of a complete changeover of the board in less than a year: None of the five members who unanimously approved Superintendent Randy Stepp’s controversial contract on Jan. 7, 2013, remain on the board today.

“We appreciate having Tracy and Doug on the board,” board member Robert Skidmore said. “They’re very committed to the community and I’m excited to work with them.”

Eastwood, 50, of Medina Township, is a 1981 graduate of Medina High School. He owns and operates his own company, Medina Excavating. Eastwood applied for a position on the board in 2013.

Givelekian, 46, of Montville Township, 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 and PTO president-elect for Sidney Fenn Elementary School.

Board President Tom Cahalan and board members Doug Adamczyk and Skidmore met in a closed-door sessions two weeks ago to interview 10 candidates for the positions and announced their decision Jan. 12.

“The other eight were strong candidates and that’s why it took a third day of deliberation,” Skidmore said.

State law required the board to appoint the two replacements before Jan. 30.

In addition to Robinson and Vlcek, a third board member resigned earlier, a fourth declined to run for re-election and the fifth member retired following public outcry over Stepp’s five-year contract that included an $83,000 signing bonus.

That contract was approved by the previous board on Jan. 7, 2013, but not publicized until more than a month later.

The board placed Stepp on leave in April after requesting a special state audit of his spending. In October an audit found at least $4,121 in illegal spending and the board voted to begin the process of firing him.

Over the next several months the board will move to fill the empty treasurer’s chair left by the resignation of Jim Hudson and start the search for a new superintendent.

Cliff Reinhardt has been serving as interim fiscal officer for the past nine days, while retired Sidney Fenn Elementary Principal David Knight has been serving as interim superintendent since April.

The board also must deal with several lawsuits filed by Stepp in response to his firing and the board’s decision to rescind his contract.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.