Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — May 14, 2024 Regular Meeting

The Board of Education posing for a photo with six of the retirees

The May 14, 2024, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:

Recognition of retirees

The Board of Education recognized the 24 Upper Arlington Schools staff members who have retired during or at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 school year: Mark Boesch, Upper Arlington High School; Donna Cornwell, Upper Arlington High School; Diane Kahle, Upper Arlington High School; Philip Lampe, Upper Arlington High School; Ruth Sacolick, Tremont Elementary School; Susan Shapiro, Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School; Star Simpson, Tremont Elementary School; Jeanne Beaver, District; Clay Bogart, Barrington Elementary School; Cheryl Chrisman, District; Margaret Cloern, Jones Middle School; Gwen Davis, Barrington Elementary School; Judy Deal, Upper Arlington High School; Traci Erickson, Upper Arlington High School; Amy Frecker, Hastings Middle School; Therese Gaulke, District; Richard Jones, Hastings Middle School; Marcia Keim, Upper Arlington High School; Laurie Long, Upper Arlington High School; Susan Mayhugh, Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School; Pamela Meadows, Hastings Middle School; Daniel Rohrs, Upper Arlington High School; Pam Thompson, District; and Donna Mattox, Greensview Elementary School.

Board discussion on the OSBA 2024 Legislative Platform

The Board of Education discussed the legislative priorities identified in the Ohio School Boards Association Legislative Platform for 2024. The Board ultimately voted to table the discussion and approval of the OSBA legislative platform until a special meeting, to be scheduled for a future date prior to the May 31 deadline with OSBA. 

District highlights

Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., shared the following district highlights:

  • This spring, the Upper Arlington Civic Association recognized nine outstanding Upper Arlington Schools staff members with Golden Apple Awards: Mary Weasel, Barrington Elementary School; Ron Hanninen, Greensview Elementary School; Kathy Rekstis, Tremont Elementary School; Kathie Zelnik, Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School; Lauren Grozenski, Windermere Elementary School; Joe Slover Jr., Hastings Middle School; Officer Travis Goodman, Jones Middle School; Mikayla McVey, Upper Arlington High School; and Steve Gdovin, District.

  • Earlier this month, the district celebrated Staff Appreciation Week, celebrating the difference makers at all levels of the district. The school PTOs and some student councils are an important part of making this a special week for our staff.

  • In late April, the Ohio School Public Relations Association announced the winners of this year’s achievement awards. Upper Arlington Schools earned honors for all four projects submitted for consideration.

  • The Wickliffe school community will host two ways to celebrate and say farewell to the castle playground — a town hall on Monday, May 20 at 8:30 a.m. that is open to the community and an informal gathering for alumni, community and neighbors on Sunday, May 26 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

  • The 100th commencement for Upper Arlington Schools will be held on May 26 at 9:30 a.m. at the Schottenstein Center, and more than 480 seniors will join the ranks of Golden Bear alumni.

Safety reminders

Dr. Hunt commended the staff following the safety situation last week at Hastings Middle School and thanked the partners at the City of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Police Division.

He shared some reminders about response levels used in the event of safety concerns: secured perimeter, shelter in place and lockdown. He also shared a reminder about the Stay Safe, Speak Up! Hotline. Students can find the SPEAK UP! app available via ClassLink on their school-issued iPads. Reports filed through this system can be made anonymously.  

The district is in the process of debriefing with principals and the city about the response to the safety situation.

Strategic planning update

Dr. Hunt shared an update on the strategic planning process. Since the start of the year, more than 75 student, staff, parent/guardian and community volunteers have been working together to develop the next strategic plan and define the future of education in the Upper Arlington Schools. They have drawn on the innovative and collaborative vision of nearly 9,000 stakeholders through feedback opportunities over the past two years. 

Last week, the district held a Listen Learn Lead community engagement session during which a panel of student, staff and community volunteers representing the strategic planning inquiry teams presented their draft strategy recommendations and solicited feedback. The three inquiry teams were each aligned with the strategic priority areas identified from community feedback: engaged learning, well-being and belonging, and connection and communication. The inquiry teams were strengthened by a focus on continuous improvement and guided by the UA community’s values of excellence and innovation.  

If you were not able to attend last week’s Listen Learn Lead community engagement session regarding strategic planning, there is an additional opportunity to provide feedback through 11 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. Please visit www.uaschools.org for more information.

Insight Education report

Chief Excellence and Engagement Officer Denise Lutz, Ed.D., shared an update on the Insight Education equity audit report. She recapped the three domains that have been previously shared over the past two Board of Education meetings — Domain 1: Systems and Structures; Domain 2: Culture and Community; and Domain 3: Equity in the Educator Work Force. At the May meeting, she shared an overview of the final two domains: Domain 4: Professional Learning & Personal Growth and Domain 5: Curriculum, Instruction & Learning.

Insight Education identified the following recommendations:

Domain 4:

  • Expand and systematize equity-focused professional development

  • Enhance data access and support systems

Domain 5: 

  • Diversify pathways and celebrate multiple successes

  • Infuse diversity and equity into curriculum instruction

  • Address data disparities and foster transparency

  • Ensure equitable access to gifted programs

  • Build equity and leadership into the existing service requirement


Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., presented 11 policies for second read and Board approval. Most reflect updates due to the budget bill, legislative changes and technical corrections. 

Human resources update

Chief Talent Officer Matt Jordan shared an update as the district is in the hiring season. The consent agenda before the Board of Education at the meeting includes administrator contracts, continuing contracts, and 1-year and 2-year limited contracts. He shared that Melissa Izar has been selected as a student services coordinator, to replace an outgoing administrator. She has served as an intervention specialist at Hastings Middle School since 2018.

Additionally, eight Upper Arlington Schools educators have completed their learning through the Ohio Resident Educator Program. This program is a comprehensive, two-year initiative to assist beginning teachers with mentoring and professional development as they start their education careers. Requirements of the program include successful completion of two years of District-determined mentoring activities as well as the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA), and it results in a teacher’s eligibility to advance their license to a 5-year professional license. The RE Program is designed to improve teacher retention, enhance teacher quality, and result in improved student achievement.

Treasurer’s update 

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting April 2024

He also shared the May update to the five year forecast, a legally required document that is presented to the board for approval and then filed with the state of Ohio. The five year forecast covers three years of actual financial data and five years of anticipated revenues and expenditures, and it is updated every May and November, providing the district with an important check-in point on potential future impacts and needs.

He reviewed variances from the November 2023 filing on the revenue side related to commercial reappraisals and new construction, as well as personal property taxes, and their impact on the five year forecast. The updated forecast reflects a decrease of $1.6 million in the projected unreserved cash fund balance for fiscal year 2028. The updated five year forecast will be filed with the state of Ohio and posted on the district website

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the May 14 meeting agenda and video recording. To view the meeting presentation, please click here. For meeting dates and more information about the Board of Education, please visit www.uaschools.org/board.

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