2022 In Review | Education & Sports
- Published: January 2, 2023
School board makeup changes
In January, newcomers became the super-majority on the school board as three new members were sworn into service on the five-member board. Judith Hempfling, Amy Magnus and Dorothée Bouquet were elected to replace outgoing members Aida Merhemic, Steve McQueen and Steve Conn, who did not run for re-election in November 2021. Additionally, Luisa Bieri Rios, who had run unsuccessfully in the November election, was selected at the end of 2021 to fill Sylvia Ellison’s unexpired term. Only TJ Turner, who has served since 2018, remained from the board’s previous configuration.
In late February, the board approved the formation of a Facilities Committee to explore the costs and ramifications of a phased, permanent improvement plan to repair and upgrade the district’s buildings. District leaders have aimed to come up with a facilities plan that meets identified building needs and is acceptable to a majority of the community since 2017; voters rejected two previously proposed plans in 2018 and 2021.
Throughout the year, the committee met monthly and worked to assess the current state of the district’s school facilities in conjunction with a maintenance plan advisor, or MPA, Motz Engineering, hired by the district. With the aid of a consulting architect firm, Ruetschle Architects, the district’s faculty and staff weighed in on three drafts of a proposed renovation plan.
At the end of the year, the MPA and architect presented estimates of the cost of renovating the schools according to the renovation plan; their estimates were two-fold: $25.4 million for a “foundational” renovation plan that would address what they had identified as being the most critical issues faced by the facilities, and $50.6 million for full renovation of both campuses.
School board opposes HB616
In April, the board approved a joint resolution opposing House Bill 616, which was introduced by Republican representatives earlier that month. If passed, the bill — popularly known by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — would not allow public elementary school educators who teach kindergartners through third grade to include information about sexual orientation or gender identity in their instruction. In addition, teachers of grades four and higher would have to limit their teaching on those subjects to what is “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The bill also would not allow educators to receive training on so-called “critical race theory” and other topics concerning diversity and equity, which the bill describes as “inherently racist concepts.” HB 616 was referred to committee in May, and remains there for the time being.
Former principal’s license suspended
In June, former McKinney Middle School and YS High School Principal Tim Krier’s Ohio assistant superintendent and high school principal licenses were suspended through June 30, 2025. Krier resigned as principal in September 2018 following district and police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct by a high school student; a district investigation substantiated the allegations that the student, who is related to Krier, engaged in harassment, sexual harassment and bullying. Subsequently the student faced criminal charges.
The details of the suspension included an agreement from Krier that he will not apply to have the licenses reinstated in Ohio upon the expiration of the suspension.
District considers security
Following comments from parents and community members at school board meetings over the summer that referenced the deadly May shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the district in August and September implemented new equipment and policies intended to shore up security in the schools. Visitor management software was installed requiring all visitors at both campuses to provide photo identification upon entry, and all school volunteers are now required to undergo a background check.
The schools purchased additional security cameras and two-way radios by way of a $72,000 grant received through Ohio’s K–12 School Safety Grant Program, and also installed locking mechanisms for interior doors on each campus.
The board also approved a request from Superintendent Terri Holden to install fencing, with a cost of up to $25,000, to enclose Mills Lawn’s younger student playground. No timeline has yet been announced for the installation of the fencing.
Theater productions, honors
• In May, McKinney Middle School and Yellow Springs High School thespians debuted “Shrek: The Musical” in the Paul Robeson Auditorium at Central State University, featuring a large cast of seventh- through 12th-graders.
• Yellow Springs High School seniors Olive Cooper and Eve Diamond were cast in the Ohio Educational Theatre Association’s 2023 All-State production of “Moon Over Buffalo.” Young actors from across the state auditioned on Nov. 5 for the upcoming show; Cooper and Diamond were two of only eight actors to be cast. The production will be performed April 14, 2023, as part of the State Thespian Conference.
• In November, Yellow Springs High School thespians presented “Five Scripts Toward an Antiracist Tomorrow” at the Foundry Theater.
Later that month, a cast of more than 30 predominantly seventh- through 10th-graders presented “Peter Pan and Wendy” in the high school gym.
Sports records, wins, honors
• A 17-year-old Yellow Springs High School sports record fell on Jan. 20: In a varsity girls basketball game at home, senior Angie Smith surpassed the long-held scoring record of 1,770 career points set by Evin Wimberly in 2005. The layup that put Smith, jersey No. 10, one point over Wimberly’s total also gave her 27 points for the game, which ended with a 60–8 blowout over conference rival Jefferson Township.
• Both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams ended their seasons as Metro Buckeye Conference champs in February; the boys team’s conference record was 10–2, tying them with Dayton Christian, and the girls team’s record was 9–1, tying Legacy Christian.
• Senior Max Sturgeon was the first Yellow Springs High School bowler to advance to the state tournament in March, finishing 39th among 203 top bowlers from across the state in the Division II competition.
• The varsity softball team took first place in the Metro Buckeye League this past spring with a perfect 6–0 league record, after a soggy season of play.
• Senior DeAndre Cowen qualified for the state tournament in the high jump with a 6’0 jump at the Division II regional meet last spring, going on to place seventh at state with a 6’4” jump.
• The Yellow Springs High School varsity boys soccer team were Division III district and regional champs in the fall. The last time the team reached the regional competition was 2007; this was the first time the team won the regional championship since Division III was created in 2000. The team headed to the state semifinals for the first time since 1983, but were defeated by Grandview Heights. Team member Eli Eyrich was awarded player of the year for Division III by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association, and Coach Ben VanAusdal was named Division III All-Ohio Coach of the Year.
• The varsity girls volleyball team brought home the Metro Buckeye Conference championship title. Following the championship win, Coach Phil Renfro was named the conference coach of the year.
• The McKinney Middle School girls cross-country team won the Metro Buckeye Conference meet for the second year in a row. Across the school’s middle- and high-school teams, all-league honors were earned by Violet Matteson, Sierra Sundell-Turner, Cheyan Sundell-Turner and Wills Oberg; senior Josie DeWine was the recipient of the Coaches Award. Competing for the fourth year, Cheyan Sundell-Tuner finished in 21st place at the Troy Regionals, becoming the first YSHS female cross-country runner in recent memory to qualify for the regionals for four consecutive years.
Three longtime Yellow Springs Schools staff members retired at the end of the school year: intervention specialist Donna Haller, teacher and guidance counselor Dave Smith and custodian Steve Wilson, who died in September. The three were honored by the school board with plaques for their service.
THE ANTIOCH SCHOOL
Centennial anniversary feted
The Antioch School celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2022. Founded in 1921, the school postponed its celebration until this year due to the pandemic, and held a three-day reunion event in October, which was attended by alumni of all ages, who came to the village from both near and far.
COMMUNITY CHILDREN’S CENTER
In May, Malissa Doster stepped down as director of the Yellow Springs Community Children’ Center after five years at the helm in order to be closer to family who live out of state. Dana Zackey, a Springfield resident who had previously been a childcare director for HeadStart, stepped into the position. After a brief tenure, Zackey left the position in December. The board of directors hired Aillevrah Turner, who previously served as interim director, to lead YSCCC.
College receives demolition grant
Antioch College received just over $100,000 via the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program to help fund the demolition of its original student union building. According to the terms of the grant, the demolition of the building, for which the college will need to raise an additional $300,000–$450,000, must be completed by May of 2023.
30 students graduate
Antioch College held its first in-person commencement since 2019 on Saturday, June 25. Commencement speaker Emmett Schelling, executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, or TENT, gave the keynote address to 30 graduating Antioch students.
In July, Antioch College alumni returned to the campus en masse to celebrate the college’s annual reunion. It was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 200 alumni registered for the week-long event.
New H.U.M.A.N. library
The Help Us Make a Nation, or H.U.M.A.N., Racial Justice and Human Rights Library at the Coretta Scott King Center was dedicated on Sept. 10. The library will serve as a resource for antiracist and social justice community organizers.
Students call for SOPP updates
Following an Oct. 25 campus Community Meeting, during which a student publicly shared a sexual encounter that had occurred between them and an Antioch faculty member, many Antioch students expressed dissatisfaction with the college’s investigation of the incident and the resignation of the faculty member in question. Students issued a list of demands to Antioch administration that primarily called for updates to the college’s Sexual Offense Prevention Policy.
Antioch President Jane Fernandes told the News she planned to review current policies for potential improvement with input from students, faculty and staff. She said she expects the review to be completed by mid-January 2023.