Perrysburg fills board seat PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 10 January 2014 11:02
Members of the Perrysburg School Board meet Thursday at the Commodore Building in Perrysburg.(Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG — After several hours of interviewing candidates Thursday, the school board agreed on who will join the group for the next two years.
William J. Davis III was appointed to fill the seat of Barry VanHoozen, who was elected to city council in November. VanHoozen’s term runs through 2015.
Davis was one of five who applied to fill the position. Other candidates were Valerie Hovland, who had been a board member since 2006 but did not win re-election in November; Jason Decker, who also ran in November but did not win a seat; Eric Benington, who has worked on several levy campaigns; and Ken Widdel, a former board member.
Interviews were not open to the public, instead being conducted in executive session as allowed by Ohio Revised Code.
“The board really wrestled with all those candidates,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said Thursday night. “It was a tough decision.”
Before the interviews, Gretchen Downs, board president, said she wanted to hear about how candidates would handle conflict among the group, as well as their knowledge of school finance and what “constitutes an excellent school district.” But even more so, she believed the group was looking for passion in helping the school district operate.
“We want to know, ‘Why do you want to be on the school board? What drives you about schools and public education?’”
After a 45-minute conversation that followed the interviews, Downs said she had an “overall feeling” that Davis was the right choice. He had “excellent” answers that suggested a long-term focus on the future of the school district and also has experience working with development directors, she said.
“That was something that the board really keyed in to,” Downs said.
“He’s a money guy,” she added, noting that four of the applicants had some form of financial experience or expertise.
Davis, who will be sworn in at the board’s organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, has a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. He has been a Merrill Lynch financial advisor since 1994, managing the Perrysburg branch since it opened in 2007. He has three children already attending Perrysburg schools, with another set to enroll in the district this fall.
In his application he submitted to Hosler, Davis noted that he grew up in Perrysburg and attended Frank Elementary. He wrote that he believed voters sent the message in November that they wanted new representation on the school board.
“In reviewing the results of the November elections and some of my own discussions with fellow citizens and parents, I feel there is a desire for new representation on the Perrysburg Schools Board of Education. The current long standing members of the board bring consistency and experience; however, I feel the balance of new representation and a new skill set that I will bring to the board makes me a viable candidate to serve our schools and our community.”
Davis could not immediately be reached for comment.
The organizational meeting on Monday will include the selection of a board president, as well as committee assignments. A regular meeting will follow on Jan. 21. Downs said a board retreat is planned to help educate the three new members on issues the district faces.
“It’s a big learning curve for the majority of the board, so we want to get them up to speed.”

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