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Two new members join Green school board

1/2/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Sally Fanelly
Katie Stoynoff
GREEN — The Green Local Schools Board of Education is starting the new year with two new members.

Sally Fanelly and Katie Stoynoff received the first and second highest votes, respectively, in the November General Election. They were separated by one vote. They replace Lynn Wiggins, who chose not to run for re-election, and Steven Foster, who was not re-elected.

Both Fanelly and Stoynoff bring a background and experience in the field of education to the board. Their first meeting is set for Jan. 6 starting at 6 p.m. with an organizational meeting in Green Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd. Green Treasurer Eydie Snowberger will administer the oath of office to both.

Sally Fanelly

Fanelly, 63, will take her seat on the board with 18 years of experience working for Green Local Schools. According to Fanelly, she retired Sept. 1 after 15 years as secretary to the district treasurer and three years as secretary to the director of operations. Previously, she worked for eight years as a compensation specialist for General Tire & Rubber Co./GenCorp and 15 years as an insurance secretary and office manager for Gerber and Associates.

The North High School graduate also attended The University of Akron. She has been married to her husband, Bob, for 40 years, and has two children and four grandchildren.

Fanelly, who preferred to be interviewed by email, said she believes her experience working for the district will help her as a board member.

“I know the schools from an employee’s point of view, a community member’s point of view and a parent’s point of view,” she said. “When the school board makes a decision, I can give an educated perspective of how this decision will affect our students and our employees. I want to make a positive impact on school policy, educational initiatives and spending taxpayer’s money.”

Fanelly said she is proud of the district’s academic excellence and its Excellent with Distinction rating earned for the past five years from the Ohio Department of Education on school report cards.

“I would like to maintain the high quality of education and uphold the excellent reputation of Green Local Schools within our community.

“I am a supporter of innovation in education and how it can successfully affect our children in college and in the business world,” she added. “The market place is changing so rapidly and we must meet these changes and teach our students not only to learn, but to be lifelong learners.”

Fanelly said she would like to see some of the district’s buildings improved and upgraded.

“The Green Middle School roof is in need of repair and lighting in some of the buildings needs to be upgraded to be more energy efficient,” she said. “Also, the track at the stadium needs to be replaced. All of this takes money and our financial resources are limited.”

Fanelly believes the district’s most pressing issue today is funding.

“With the governor making changes in the funding model, all districts must be very conservative in their spending,” she said. “We must learn to live within our means.”

According to Fanelly, she is “vested in Green Schools” and hopes to work to keep the lines of communication between district officials and residents “wide open.”

“Both of my children graduated from Green Schools and I will have four grandchildren attending Green Schools in the near future,” she said. “I am very passionate about Green Schools and I will work very hard to address any problems that come to the attention of the school board.”

Katie Stoynoff

Stoynoff, who was interviewed by phone, said she has experience in both teaching and the administrative side of education.

“I am well prepared to handle things coming before me as a board member,” she said.

According to Stoynoff, 37, she received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Akron (UA) in industrial management with a concentration in human resource management in 1999 and earned a master’s degree in secondary education in 2006 from UA. She also is licensed to teach seventh through 12th grades.

She has been a full-time instructor for seven years at UA and is an assistant director of the English composition program, she said. She has served as a transition coordinator for students in the Akron Early College Technical Preparation program and was an employee training specialist and compensation analyst for its human resources department.

Stoynoff said she has the qualifications to serve as a representative on the Portage Lakes Career Center Board of Education, and discussion on that is expected to take place at the next board meeting.

Stoynoff, a graduate of Green High School, has been married to her husband, Jason, for 16 years, and they have one son.

“The education I received played a significant role in my success,” said the Green native. “I am committed to assuring every student receives the highest quality education in Green.”

Stoynoff said she understands what students need to move successfully through school and beyond, such as critical thinking skills that require students to provide more than just the correct answer to a question. She added that another useful tool is the use of technology to enhance learning.

“I see how those skills should transition into college,” she said. “Green Schools does a good job, but my background can help evaluate this effort to enhance or make improvements.”

On the administrative side, Stoynoff said she has experience in handling personnel matters that are within the responsibilities of the Board of Education, and that includes the new requirement of teacher assessments.

She said she prefers a holistic approach to teacher assessments, as UA uses. She added that seeing a student make good improvement each year is more important than success or failure in one year.

Stoynoff said she is also familiar with the administration in the district, having worked on a committee to select new Superintendent Jeffrey Miller several months ago.

Stoynoff added she agrees with Miller’s move to improve communications with residents.

“I want better explanations for board actions, especially when it comes to budgets and levies, so that residents can better understand what is happening,” she said. “I want to be forthright with residents as this is their tax money, and they have a right to explanations. I hope to offer public forums to explain our decisions on spending, to discuss things in public and get honest answers for anyone who asks questions. I believe in transparency.”

At the same time, Stoynoff said she wants residents to understand that, “People are getting a good deal in Green Schools as far as tax rates and how the money is spent.”

Stoynoff said state lawmakers are reducing funding assistance to local entities such as schools and governments, which pushes the financial burden of funding education onto taxpayers.

“They need to acknowledge they balanced their budget on the [backs] of locals so that school districts can explain the need to ask for more money from residents who may not be making more in this economy,” she said.

Stoynoff said one example of this is the district will receive $1.3 million less during the next two years than it did in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. The district also is losing approximately $500,000 a year from students who leave the district to go to charter schools, many of which have received increased funding from the state, she added.

“I want people to know I will do the job they elected me to do,” she said. “As a parent, teacher and school volunteer, I believe that strong schools are a critical part of any thriving community.”

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