Select administrators spread throughout the multi-purpose room at Timmons Elementary School as the Kenston Local Board of Education carried out its regular meeting on March 16.

“I recommended holding this meeting tonight rather than canceling in these uncertain times,” said Board President Beth Krause said, noting that she believed it to be important to give the district community the opportunity to interact with the school board despite confusion surrounding recent mandates on physical distancing with the coronavirus, COVID-19, in mind.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed the schools statewide for three weeks to protect residents from contracting COVID-19. He is considering closure for the rest of this academic year. Large gatherings have been temporarily banned statewide as well resulting in the cancellation of sports, choir concerts and probably graduation ceremonies.

While agenda items at the Kenston BOE meeting consisted of bookkeeping, including monthly financial reports, supplemental contracts and approvals of substitutes among other standard proceedings, board commendations were given to those who could not attend the meeting in practicing social distancing to highlight their accomplishments as positives in light of the stress surrounding the uncertainty with state mandates.

“I work with a remarkable team of administrators and teachers, a beautiful community, wonderful parents [and] great students,” Superintendent Nancy Santilli said. “My heart goes out to these athletes and students that are involved in extracurriculars. My heart goes out to seniors,” she added of students missing out on milestone moments because of the school closures. “I just really have to commend the work that I’ve seen.”

Mrs. Santilli read out commendations that included: Kenston Intermediate School teacher Julie Beynenso for her recognition as the Innovative Teacher of the Year by the Educational Service Center of the Western Reserve; Kenston High School seniors Laura Parsons and Aubrey Taylor for being named 2019 National Merit finalists; KHS senior and Auburn Career Center student Jessica Schwinn for high marks in the Educators’ Rising Competition; senior Tyler Kestranek for earning gold in the Regional Skills USA Carpentry Competition; high school students Micah Greenberg, Laura Parsons and Samantha Stephens for their qualifications to compete in the National Speech and Debate Competition; and 20 student athletes for their recognition by the Western Reserve Conference with All-Academic Awards for winter sports.

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