ELIDA — A longtime supporter of Elida schools and its levy campaigns is the newest member of the school board.
The board interviewed four candidates and appointed Pat Schymanski to the board Monday. He replaces Brad Settlage, who resigned from the board last month for medical reasons.
“All four of them were great candidates and all are fantastic supporters of Elida schools,” board President Dennis Fricke said. “Pat is very open-minded and he studies all of the issues.”
Three board members voted for Schymanski. Sally Ulrich voted for Chad Bryan, but said she doesn’t have any issues with Schymanski serving on the board.
Schymanski, who retired from General Dynamics in 2010, has had four children go through Elida schools. He has coached soccer and started the quiz bowl team at the middle school.
Schymanski has worked on several levy campaigns, including co-chairing one of the high school bond issue campaigns and serving as treasurer for the May operating levy attempt. He is a volunteer tutor at Elida and Lima schools.
“I have been involved in the school system off and on since 1987,” he said. “Now that I am retired I have been more and more involved, so this is a chance to continue my involvement perhaps at the level some other people have been asking me to participate in.”
People have been asking Schymanski to run for a board seat the last several years. Being retired, he said, gives him more time to do so.
Board member Brian Anders said Schymanski is easy to talk to and is a good listener.
“He communicates very easily and is easy to dialogue with,” he said. “He has a calm demeanor and looks at both sides of the issue.”
Settlage’s term expires at the end of 2015. Schymanski will serve the rest of this year and run for election in November for the remaining two years. He said he had already taken petitions out from the Allen County Board of Elections to run for a board seat before Settlage resigned. Elida will have four out of five seats up for election in November.
Schymanski will get sworn in and begin serving on the board at tonight’s board meeting.
“I am learning a lot,” he said. “Now that I am sitting on the other side of the table, it is no longer my opinion but it is about listening and making decisions that are best for the school system, the residents and the students.”