The newest face on the Twinsburg Board of Education is also a familiar one.
Rob Felber, an eight-year veteran on the school board, was sworn in during the Jan. 19 school board meeting to fill the unexpired term of Adrienne Gordon, who announced late last year she would step down effective Jan. 5. The seated board members voted unanimously to appoint him. Gordon's term expires Dec. 31, 2023.
His own seat had been up for reelection, but Felber had not taken out petitions to run.
"It is an honor to serve the community once again. As in my past eight years, I remain wholly focused on our students," Felber said. He added that he had been off of the school board for 18 days. "What did I miss?"
Felber said that during the past summer, when he was weighing whether to run again, he had decided not to campaign due to his other responsibilities.
"In considering another four-year term, I simply did not have the additional time or energy to add a campaign to my existing responsibilities," Felber said. "Through the past two terms, I managed to run my company, be a board member at CVCC and work part-time for a neighboring fire department. I weighed the decision very carefully and chose not to pursue another four-year term. I know the personal sacrifices this position takes."
However, Felber said he was "enthused to be part of the new board and look forward to a strong working relationship with my new and past colleagues." He said he hoped to see a "continued scrutiny of our finances, the completion of the facility plans to stabilize district infrastructure, and, hopefully, the resolution of COVID’s impact on our district."
"COVID, as a key focus of my past two years on the board, sapped our staff's energy and health and created a challenging overall work environment," Felber said. "But if 8 years taught me anything, our Tiger family is strong and resilient."
Felber, who has lived in Twinsburg for 27 years, and wife Sheryl have twin daughters who graduated from Twinsburg High School in 2018. He is the president of Felber Public Relations and Marketing in Twinsburg. Felber has and continues to serve as a firefighter/paramedic with Pepper Pike since 1983. He has also served as the public information officer for the Hillcrest Technical Rescue Team and was a member of the team for 28 years.
While on the school board, Felber served as board president in 2016 and 2019, and vice president in 2015 and 2018.
"Mr. Felber, welcome back," said Mark Curtis, current board president, during the meeting.
Curtis said that Felber "brings a wealth of institutional knowledge with him as well as the stability needed in challenging times."
"He has always held the best interest of our district when making decisions and brings unique business perspective that we really need," Curtis said. "His experience only enhances our membership as a whole and serves as a valuable resource for our two newest members along with myself and Mrs. [Tina] Davis."
Davis said she felt that Felber "will continue to do a great job and am encouraged by the eagerness and enthusiasm of this new board."
"It was encouraging to see community members step forward and express interest in the vacant board of education seat," Davis said. "I was especially impressed with our top three candidates, all of whom have a genuine interest in our schools. However, Mr. Rob Felber stood out for his knowledge of our district, what it will take to continue to move our schools forward, and his undeniable experience of eight years as a school board member.
"Part of being an effective board member is being able to work with your colleagues under incredible and often stressful circumstances, while having a mutual respect and understanding. We don’t always see eye to eye on every issue, however we do our best to come together as a whole to make decisions that we believe are best for our students and our district."
School board members interviewed three candidates
Treasurer Martin Aho said that 10 people sent the Twinsburg school administration letters of interest for the position. Of those, two were interviewed by the four seated school board members in addition to Felber: Dr. Patricia Stoddard-Dare and Maria Hamilton.
Superintendent Kathryn Powers said the school board met Jan. 10 to go over the applications, where they selected the three finalists. The finalists were interviewed Jan. 13.
"Felber’s institutional knowledge and desire to address unfinished business were invaluable," Powers said. "He expressed the need to focus on the district’s financial outlook as well as to relaunch the Conceptual Legacy Project as the primary motivation to rejoin the board. His previous experience and deep understanding of board operations will allow the board to seamlessly move forward in addressing the most pressing needs of the school district."
The school board now includes veteran members Curtis, Davis and Felber, as well as recently elected Rhonda Crawford and Lea Travis.
The next school board meeting is Feb. 2 in the Twinsburg High School auditorium, starting at 7 p.m.
The Twinsburg City Schools has more than 4,100 students and has more than 500 employees. The district primarily consists of Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and Reminderville.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Eight-year veteran of the Twinsburg school board due to vacancy