Four run for North Baltimore school bd.
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:54
NORTH BALTIMORE - A long-time educator, two parents of North Baltimore students, and a former board member are vying for the three seats that are open on the North Baltimore Board of Education.
Russell Bretz, the long-time educator; Tim Archer and Teresa "Tracy" Cotterman, both parents; and Cheryl Cotterman, who served on the board in the 1980s, are competing for the seats.
All are natives of the village.
Bretz, Archer and Tracy Cotterman are incumbents trying to retain their spots on the board.
Bretz has served two terms - eight years - on the school board.
He said he wants to continue the work the district started with the new building, the sports complex, as well as upgrading curriculum and extracurricular offerings.
He will continue "working in the direction of doing the best we can for our kids."
Bretz graduated from North Baltimore in 1948, but spent five decades in the Akron area.
He's spent 52 years in public education: As a classroom teacher, building administrator and adjunct professor in the College of Education at the University of Akron and Bowling Green State University.
He moved back to North Baltimore because "this is my hometown and my wife and I wanted a quieter existence."
He sees the primary need of the district as maintaining its financial stability.
Over the last two state budgets, funding for North Baltimore is down 43 percent.
"The state denies that," he stated.
"We have done a lot to control expenses, pretty much items we can control," Bretz said.
The board needs to keep the public informed on what's going on "and we also need to carefully manage the resources we have."
He praised the other two board members also running for reelection.
"This is a very good working board. Most of us have a pretty good grasp of what's going on."
Bretz also serves on the village's board of zoning appeals and is a member of the Lion's Club and American Legion honor guard.
Archer is finishing his first term, and said everything went so well he wants to return for another four years.
"Everyone really works really well together," he stated.
"I just wanted to help out again and keep things going in the right direction."
He considers himself honest and straightforward. "If anyone comes to me with an issue, I try to take care of it." Archer is an air quality control technician at Bowling Green State University and has a son who is a sophomore in North Baltimore this year. His daughter already has graduated.
"Keeping up with technology" is one of the biggest challenges facing the board. "We are working on it, but there's always something new out there."
He said the board needs to keep the community informed on what's going on with district issues.
Archer also is a volunteer golf coach for the district.
"I like to make a positive difference in our community," he stated, and helping out any way he can.
"I'm not the one to come out and say 'I do this.'"
He also referees varsity basketball games in Northwest Ohio.
Tracy Cotterman is completing her first term on the board, and is trying for a second term "because I'm really enthusiastic about the changes that are coming to North Baltimore."
Among those great things is getting better technology in the schools, she said.
She stated she is seeing more pride in the district. "The new building had a lot to do with that. Kids have a lot more pride.
"I see a big change from when my oldest daughter was in schools to where my kids are now."
Tracy Cotterman has two children who have graduated and an eighth-grader and a fourth-grader.
She's a nurse in the Wood County Hospital ER and is a Girl Scout leader.
She said she listens well, which she attributed in part to being a nurse.
"I've got a passion for North Baltimore," she said. "There are a lot of challenges ahead with unfunded mandates."
In the future, she sees technology as the pressing need in the district, as well as continuing to use funds appropriately.
"I think teachers and other staff members are going to need to understand how important the technology is to them."
And the board needs to continue appropriately using the funds it gets.
"Every day we hear we're getting less and less," she stated. The board needs to do a good job with what it's given.
"I love my job on the board, and getting to know the ins and outs of what it takes to run a district."
Cheryl Cotterman served two terms on the board 20 years ago, and had two children and now has two grandchildren go through the school system.
She is an aunt to Tracy Cotterman.
She said she is campaigning for a board seat because she cares about kids.
"I believe we need to keep a hold of our academic standards. ... I think we've become lax in some areas."
For instance, "I think some of our standards have been lowered for academic honors."
"We're there to educate the young people of our district. They are the future of this community and this world."
But as much as she cares about academics, she's also a firm supporter of extracurricular activities.
"I think we need to do more to encourage students to be more involved in extracurriculars."
Cheryl Cotterman is a semi-retired licensed optician.
She said while she was on the board, she was always open to suggestions and willing to listen.
The current board "needs to be more open to the community (and) more receptive to the needs of the community and the wants of the community."
She stated she was not running for a seat because she has problems with current board members.
"I'm not anti-anybody. I just think everyone needs to work together to educate our kids."