PEMBERVILLE – Sherri Sheffler has spent 32 years giving back to the Eastwood community in one way or another.
She has served on the Eastwood Local Schools Board of Education for 11 years and will run for reelection for the last time this fall.
This is after spending 35 years as a teacher – 32 at Eastwood.
“I decided I wanted to stay in education in some way, so I decided to run for school board,” she explained.
She didn’t run to make any changes in the district, rather to make a contribution.
“I thought I had a different perspective than anyone else.”
She is a 1967 Eastwood graduate. Her elementary years were pre-consolidation and she attended Luckey then Lemoyne, which were part of Troy Township schools.
She started teaching in Putnam County in 1971 after getting a teaching degree from Bowling Green State University.
She returned to Pemberville to work in an office before taking over for her mother-in-law, who taught English and Latin, and who left due to health issues.
Sheffler was certified to teach English and Latin.
Latin is no longer taught at Eastwood; Sheffler said the lack of teachers has kept the language from being as popular as it used to be.
Spanish and German are now the foreign languages taught at Eastwood; French was eliminated in the early 1980s.
Easily the biggest change in the classroom over the years was technology, she said.
“When I first started, my first year, we had the old crank mimeographs. … When I came to Eastwood and saw an automatic mimeo machine, it was like, this is awesome.”
Then came the photocopiers and overhead projectors and then remote printing with collation and stapling.
“I could not walk into a classroom and utilize the technology that’s in there now,” she said about additional technology advancements over the years.
And while students also may be more tech-savvy, “when you push that aside, a kid is still a kid,” she said.
She said she knew when it was time to retire.
“You know mentally when it’s time to go. And I knew, OK, it’s done, it’s time to go,” she said.
Sheffler has served as board president three times.
“We’re lucky. We don’t usually disagree,” she said about the other board members. “We all have common goals and as long as I’ve been on the board, I can only remember one no vote.
“We just usually come to a consensus. … We all generally agree on the direction we are going.”
Sheffler praised the teachers and staff for their work during the pandemic and before.
“At the time, we made the best decision for the kids and the staff,” she said about starting the school year with the upper grades on a hybrid model of learning and the elementary going four days a week.
High school and middle school started four days a week on March 1 and will return to five days next week. Elementary students are already in class five days a week.
Sheffler gave Superintendent Brent Welker and the administrators credit for devising a plan and bringing it to the board for discussion.
“If we hire these administrators and we’re paying their salaries, we should respect their opinions,” she said. “If they say we can make it work this way, who am I to say my opinion is better than yours? I go with my administrators.”
Welker also praised Sheffler for her contributions.
“Sherri brings the experience of 35 years of teaching and the perspectives of a lifelong community member to the board,” he said. “She truly has a unique set of experiences that have been invaluable over the years.”
Sheffler said she discovered jigsaw puzzles during the pandemic.
“I am addicted. I have a stack of boxes of puzzles in my living room as tall as I am.”
Once she has put one together, it goes into a different stack until she can find someone that she can swap with.
Shefflerhas no plans for when she leaves the board in 2025 – assuming she is reelected this fall.
She now has a granddaughter who attends Eastwood, after having two children graduate as Eagles.
Husband James is a Bowling Green High School graduate. She made it clear when they got married they would live in the Eastwood school district.
“I would not live anywhere else.”
That loyalty to the district goes back to great elementary experiences. It has extended to outside the school district. Sheffler also spent 20 years of the Pemberville Library board.
“Being on any kind of board or any public office and you’re serving the community, I think that is something that more people should try. I think it’s just very rewarding.
“There are just so many places in a community you can serve if you just look.”