WELLSVILLE - Tom Brophey, who ran unopposed for re-election to the Wellsville Local Board of Education in November, knew that he would be on the board again following the outcome of last November's election. What he couldn't have known was that election results on the other side of the state would propel him into a higher position in Columbus.
Brophey will be sworn in as a member of the Ohio School Board Association's Board of Trustees at their first meeting of the year on Feb. 22 in Columbus. He says he was gratified to learn that OSBA President Susie Lawson had nominated him for the spot, which was approved by a committee of 26 peers in December "It made me feel good that she feels that I'm capable of fulfilling the requirements," he said.
However, Lawson's own recent ascension to the presidency is partly responsible for the vacancy that Brophey is filling in the first place.
Jo Ann W. Feltner, a Central Region OSBA member, was the sitting president-elect, slated to serve as president for 2014-15, when she lost a re-election bid for her local school board seat this past November, nullifying her participation as an OSBA trustee. The association's Delegate Assembly decided that Lawson, a Northeast Region member who had only recently been selected as the new president-elect for 2015-16, should move into the top spot a year early to fill the vacancy.
Lawson's move up left an open trustee's spot, which Brophey will now fill for the next two years. "It was a relatively quick thing," he said. "I had no idea that it was coming down."
Brophey presently also serves on the OSBA Northeast Region Executive Committee and is Wellsville Local's customary delegate to the annual Capital Conference each November, making him no stranger to the association's offices in Columbus.
Though he has yet to receive an agenda for the meeting next month but says he would advocate for better communication between state legislators and the OSBA - and, by extension, local school boards throughout the state. "Unfortunately, sometimes I think state legislators try to improve schools, but I don't think they think about the consequences or costs of what those improvements are going to be. I think they need to hear from us what our thoughts are before they actually consider making something into law."
As much of an honor as it is for Brophey personally, he says he's gratified that someone from this part of the state has been chosen for high office at the OSBA, which is an uncommon occurrence. "There aren't a whole lot of people from our area who get appointed to anything of this significance," he said. To his recollection, in fact, it has been nearly 40 years.