There were no classes in the Westerville City School District on October 20 (OEA/NEA Day), but the parking lot at Westerville North High School was still packed with cars. The Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) conducted their annual meeting there, drawing more than 3,000 attendees.
Helping to organize the large gathering were Shirley Timberlake, president of OAPSE Local 719, which represents Westerville City Schools’ bus drivers and mechanics; along with Jason Shenefield, president of OAPSE Local 138, representing district support staff such as custodians, food service workers, maintenance employees and warehouse staff. OAPSE is more than 34,000 members strong, with 480 locals around the State of Ohio.
Deputy Superintendent Mark Hershiser welcomed the group by telling them Westerville City Schools takes pride in hiring energetic, optimistic educators and support staff who are willing to do whatever it takes to elevate each child to their greatest potential. “We value every single member of our team and recognize that the success we have achieved here would not be possible without the contribution of all employees,” he said.
Board of Education member Tracy Davidson also spoke, acknowledging that the District could not function without these groups of dedicated employees. One of the Performance Objectives in Westerville’s Strategic Plan states, Student learning is driven by recruiting, selecting, developing and retaining effective and skilled staff members. Davis said, “If we were not making progress on this objective, we would not have had the successful start to our school year that we did. I am proud to be associated with such a great team of professionals and thank all of you for the diligent work you do all year long.”