By all accounts Maxine Johnson was much more than the library media paraprofessional at Malabar Intermediate School.
She was a colleague, a friend, an encourager, a grandmother whose gentleness could calm the most troubled student. Her recent death left a gaping hole in the Malabar family. “Maxine was the most kind, caring, compassionate and loving person I ever met,” Principal Andrea Moyer said at the outset of Tuesday’s Mansfield City Schools Board of Education meeting in the Malabar cafeteria.
Mrs. Johnson’s family watched as several students and teachers took turns at the microphone, expressing their love for Mrs. Johnson in essays, poems and songs. Several could not hold back their tears.
The board recessed its meeting to move to the library where a plaque in memory of Mrs. Johnson was placed on the wall outside the library. The inscription beneath her photo reads: “Mrs. Johnson fostered a love of reading for over 30 years as our beloved librarian with the Mansfield City Schools. Her compassion for children and calming influence encouraged students to realize their potential. Mrs. Johnson left this world a better place. She shall always be within our hearts.”
Following a brief reception in the library the board returned to the cafeteria to act on several items of business. On unanimous votes, the board:
— Approved school calendars for 2017-18 and 2018-19. For the coming year students will start school on Aug. 17 and end on May 23. In 2018-19 school will begin on Aug. 22 and end on May 31. In both years the first semester will end before winter break.
— Adopted of a workforce diversity plan for the district to be implemented over the next three years. It was developed by a committee that included Gary Feagin, Teresa James, Mark Manley, Glenn Myers and Alice Williams. The plan’s goal is development of a workforce which “mirrors an eclectic community of economic, racial and ethnic diversity.”
— Approved the purchase of “transfinder” software for the transportation department. Transportation Director Deb Richert said the new software will allow much more accurate routing by updating changes on a daily basis and ultimately will save the district money.
— Authorized adoption of social studies textbooks and materials for kindergarten through sixth grade at the Spanish Immersion School.
— Heard a levy report from Doug Castle, one of four campaign co-chairs, who said a steering committee is developing plans to win voter support for the two renewal levies the district will have on the May 2 ballot. Neither will increase taxes, he said, only maintain what the district already is receiving. Together, the two levies generate $7.9 million annually. Castle said passage of the renewals is “absolutely essential.”
— Recognized Chris Japikse of Malabar at the Ohio String Teachers Association’s Young String Teacher of the Year and Peggy Sutton, nurse at Senior High, as the Ohio School Nurse of the Year.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first for new board member Judy Forney, who was selected to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Monica Hubbard. Mrs. Forney joins board members Renda Cline, Chris Elswick, Sheryl Weber and Gary Feagin.
The board’s next regular meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on March 21 at the Raemelton administration building.