Martins Ferry school board member honored

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry City School District Board of Education saw one of its own recognized by the Ohio School Boards Association during Monday’s meeting.

Robert Zilai was honored for 20 years of service on the school board in Martins Ferry and with the Belmont Career Center. Zilai has a history in education, having worked for decades as a teacher. Today he owns and operates Z’s Jewelry in downtown Martins Ferry.

“I’ve been involved in education and working with kids most of my life,” he said. “I taught and coached for close to 30 years.”

He recalled some of the recent changes the district has experienced, including the move to the new hilltop campus location.

“The biggest accomplishment was getting the new campus up the hill,” he said.

He also mentioned other changes, such as the introduction of new technology and tools to prepare students, such as establishing the district’s Science Technology Engineering and Math Academy. He thanked the OSBA for the recognition.

“I appreciate it,” he said.

In other matters, the board accepted the resignation of John Shilling as a district custodian after more than 30 years on the job.

The board also approved the employment of Mike Delatore, middle school principal, as a substitute bus driver, pending certification. Superintendent Jim Fogle noted there is a shortage of bus drivers in local schools, in part due to drivers taking jobs with oil and gas interests. Fogle said Delatore is one of four substitute bus drivers currently in training.

“I know that in a lot of districts, a lot of administrators are getting certified to lend a hand as far as school bus drivers are concerned, because there is such a shortage,” Fogle said. “He is getting a certification to help.”

Fogle said the Martins Ferry district has a full staff of regular bus drivers, but there are few substitutes.

Fogle also noted the district’s two resource officers have begun making an impression as their presence becomes more visible around the district and they become more acquainted with the students and their issues. He added that incidents involving students are expected to decrease as time goes on.

“They’ve been an incredible addition to our staff. I don’t know what we did without them,” Fogle said. “They’ve been a great resource in our district.”

The board also approved a resolution with the Ohio Mid-Eastern Regional Education Service Agency ratifying an agreement for the purchase of electric generation for the period commencing July 2018 and terminating with the June billing cycle of 2021. Fogle said the district is part of a consortium that searched for advantageous electricity rates.

In other matters, the board approved the resignation of Mike Beck as the ninth grade boys basketball coach, effective immediately. Beck is being employed as the varsity assistant boys basketball coach. The board approved the employment of Greg Kumse as the ninth grade boys basketball coach.

Mike Lucas was approved as a tutor at $20 per hour for the 2017-18 school year. Linda Donahue and Jody Campbell were approved as substitute teachers.

In non-certified personnel, the board approved the resignation of Michael Rose at the junior high wrestling coach, effective immediately.