MIAMI COUNTY — True to its name, Thanksgiving is a time of the year when we count our blessings. For things as seemingly simple as the comforts of home that we tend to take for granted — food, warm clothes, a place to lay our heads at night — to greater gifts like an unexpected windfall or a new job, many of us find ourselves reflecting on our good fortune.
As some families go around the turkey-and-stuffing-bedecked table saying what they’re thankful for, the staff members of the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call went around the county asking school district leaders for what they are grateful on this holiday.
Dwayne A. Thompson, superintendent, Piqua City Schools
“I am thankful for my wife — and the rest of my family — who loves and supports me in all I do. I am blessed to have three wonderful children that are a joy to spend time with and watch grow into the fine young people they are becoming. I appreciate my friends, coworkers, and students that make each day better through the time I spend with them.
“Finally, I am grateful for all this community does on behalf of the students we serve! We cannot be successful without the support of Piqua’s citizens!”
Tony Lyons, assistant superintendent, Piqua City Schools
“I am very thankful for my wife, Kelli, who is the star of our family, and our four amazing children — Ashley, Bailey (Alexa, his wife), Jonathan and Caleb. I truly believe that they make me better every day. I am blessed to be able to work for the students, parents and staff members of the Piqua City School District.”
Virginia Potter, superintendent, Bethel Local Schools
“Recently, I came across this quote, “Do what you love and make sure that your heart is in your work.” That’s such a great picture of those with whom I have had the opportunity to work these past five years! I am so thankful and blessed to be part of an administrative team whose laughter, encouragement and perseverance to faithfully serve others is a daily practice in their lives.
”I am also grateful for the kind and consistent way that teachers strive to create learning environments that challenge students to take risks and find success. I appreciate the how much the bus drivers, secretaries, cafeteria workers, maintenance crew and financial teams never stop until their jobs are done, no matter how tired they are of answering phones, completing paperwork and ensuring that things are running smoothly in the midst of unforeseen chaos!
“Last, but not least, I smile every time I think of the Bethel community’s “Pay it forward” attitude and their continual support of the district to provide an excellent education for their BEES! Who wouldn’t love working in a place like this? Happy Thanksgiving, Bethel!”
Gene Gooding, superintendent, Covington Exempted Village School District
“I am thankful that I get to interact with, and work with, the remarkable students that we have here at Covington. I am also thankful that we have such a dedicated and hardworking staff that truly cares about the success and well-being of each of our students.
“Finally, I am thankful for a community that clearly values education and supports our students in all of their academic, athletic, and artistic endeavors.
“Personally, I am very thankful for my family and for the love and support that they provide.”
Brad Ritchey, superintendent, Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools
“On a professional note, we have numerous community members who are always willing to pitch-in, assist, and lend helping hands to push projects and activities forward whenever something might be needed to improve the overall experience for children.
“On a more personal note, but certainly still related to our community, I am so thankful for my family, and as we all get older, I know that every day I still have my own parents in my life is a wonderful gift.”
Dr. Todd Rappold, superintendent, Miami East Local Schools
“With the Thanksgiving break beginning this week, this would be a good time to pause for just a moment and think of all the things you might be thankful for. As a school district, we have countless reasons to be thankful this fall. The school year has gotten off to a very positive start this year.
“In addition, we continue to be thankful for parents and residents of the district for their continued support and encouragement. We are thankful for staff members across the district that not only get our students to and from school safely, but also spend as much time as needed with our students to ensure their success. It is not uncommon to see staff members here in the buildings long after the school day has ended or here on the weekends working with students or getting ready for the upcoming week.
“In addition to the many positives on campus, we are all thankful that this country has such great men and women in the military. We are thankful they are doing their jobs to keep this country safe.
“While letting others know that you are thankful is important, the most effective way to show your gratitude is to continue ‘paying it forward.’ We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving break.”
Pat McBride, superintendent, Newton Local Schools
“I am most thankful to be part of a great school district and community that are truly unique and wonderful.
“We have a saying in our district — ‘Only at Newton.’ Many people refer to this statement to affirm something that they have experienced with our kids, our staff, or our community that is positive and uplifting. ‘Only at Newton’ reminds us that these positive interactions are to be celebrated because it’s something that you will not often see in other schools or communities.
“Our kids are the best, because they come from homes where they are taught right from wrong. I cannot think of a better place to have grown up, to have raised a family, and to live life amongst genuinely good and decent people.”
Joe Hurst, superintendent, Bradford Exempted Village Schools
“I am very thankful for my families both at home and here at school! Bradford has the small town feel with a safe and personal environment. Rarely can one find a school like Bradford with rich traditions coupled with a warm and accepting community.”
Chris Piper, superintendent, Troy City Schools
”I’m thankful for many things this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful to be surrounded every day by adults dedicated to improving the lives of the boys and girls of Troy City Schools. I appreciate their hard work, dedication, and commitment to educate our young people and serve their community. I’m proud and humbled to be a Trojan and I’m excited to be a part of such an amazing school district! I am also thankful for the support of our voters in our recent Permanent Improvement Levy renewal. We will ensure these tax dollars are used wisely to care for our facilities. From Troy City Schools, we hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!”
Gretta Kumpf, superintendent, Tipp City Exempted Village Schools
“I want to express my gratitude to everyone who makes Tipp City Schools a special place. Our teachers and auxiliary staff are committed and dedicated. Our students work hard in the classrooms, earn scholastic honors, excel in extra-curricular activities, and donate hundreds of volunteer hours. They truly make us proud! I appreciate our parents and their extended families for their support and the focus they place on a quality education. I value our booster groups and the local philanthropy foundations that provide funding for enriching learning experiences for students.
“I am thankful for our partnerships with local businesses, churches, the library, and community support organizations who help us maintain our tradition of excellence. All of you make serving as the district’s superintendent an honor. It is my hope that you are surrounded by family and friends during this beautiful season. I hope you are embraced with love and friendship and enjoy the traditions that bring you great joy. During this busy season, may you find the time to reflect and see the bounties around you. Happy Thanksgiving!”