Brophey honored at BOE meeting

Wellsville school board vice president Tom Brophey cuts into his cake during Monday’s board meeting to celebrate his honor as an outstanding board member on the All-Ohio Board during the Ohio School Board Association’s Capital Conference. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

WELLSVILLE — Members of the Wellsville Board of Education took time during Monday’s meeting to celebrate a honor on one board member and also welcome back another following a lengthy illness.

Board Vice President Tom Brophey received applause and congratulations from the board members and audience members as he was selected as a member of the Ohio School Boards Association’s All-Ohio School Board, to which he accepted the honor last week during the OSBA’s Capital Conference in Columbus.

Board member Nancy Francis presented Brophey’s distinction, and mentioned the selection process for the highly-prestigious honor shared in education. Each board of education throughout the state nominates one member to be recognized for his/her outstanding service. A regional award committee then makes a selection and is recognized in his/her region for the All-Ohio Board.

“There’s a lot of trips to Columbus, a lot of seminars that you go to, they take that into consideration,” Brophey said. “Your involvement in your local school district and also on a regional level.”

Brophey, a 24-year member of the Wellsville’s board who has also served as the president of the Northeast Region of the OSBA throughout 2016, thanked the board, Superintendent Richard Bereschik, Treasurer Eva Elliott and other board members for their support throughout the year.

Brophey also took some time to discuss some of his experiences during the conference, including speeches from celebrities who were in attendance, which included journalist Leeza Gibbons, former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin, and actors Steven Michael Quezada from “Breaking Bad” and Ernie Hudson, best known for the hit movies Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, as well as television shows “Law and Order” and “Oz”.

Brophey noted that with the exception of Hudson, the other three speakers mentioned all had something to do with board of education, with Quezada currently serving on the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education in his homestate of New Mexico, while Gibbons’ husband serves on the Beverly Hills city school board in California.

From those speeches, Brophey mentioned that the goal as educators should be to help, not hinder, the child from doing what they want to do in life, and added that the honor he received was about the children in the school district.

“As educators, the message that they kind of threw out there was that we should never tell a kid that they cannot achieve whatever they set out to do,” Brophey said. “I think that’s so vital and so important. I know here in Wellsville, we try to push kids towards their goals, and actually this award is about the kids, it’s really not about me because if it weren’t for the kids, I wouldn’t be sitting in this position.”

According to Brophey, the OSBA also discussed during the conference the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)–the act that would replace the No Child Left Behind act in the schools– and noted that some portions of the act are up in the air depending on whom President-elect Donald Trump will select as director of education at the federal level.

Meanwhile, Brophey also mentioned during his legislative update that the graduation rate has increased to 83.2 percent nationwide, an increase of 1.2 percent from a year before, marking the third consecutive year of an increase in the graduation rate.

“There are students that take longer to graduate,” Brophey said. “If you would include them in that statistic, we would be at 87 percent, so that’s a nice number.”

After the meeting, the board as well as those in the audience were treated to cake to celebrate Brophey’s distinction through the OSBA. Brophey’s plaque and red-colored apple-shaped trophy were also on display at his seat.

As the board congratulated Brophey on his state-wide honor, it also welcomed back Board President Ed Bauer, who presided over his first meeting in several months following surgery to install a pacemaker and defibrulator.

Bauer, who has been absent since the summer months, took time to thank those in the school district and the public for their thoughts and cards as he recovered from the surgery at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“I spent 51 days up at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, but by the grace of God, I’m back here now,” Bauer said. “There were times we weren’t sure it was going to happen, but I want to thank everyone who thought of me. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me.”

Bereschik and the board members each provided Bauer with a warm return, followed by applause from the audience.

“I’m glad to see Mr. Bauer back here with us,” board member Gary Althiser said. “It’s been a lonely seat there since you’ve been gone.”