Member Stories

Michele Newton, CEOE, EOPO Webmaster

Photo of Michele I originally joined EOPO in the mid-80s when I was the Vocational Guidance Secretary at Kenston High School and going to college part time. In 2005, I worked with Cindy Goga at the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County and she suggested I join EOPO. I attended the 2006 Spring EOPO Conference when Cindy was installed as EOPO's President and I've been hooked since. One of Cindy's goals was to get EOPO on the worldwide web. While taking classes for my Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management program, I developed the original EOPO website and then redesigned it for my final project. Since 2019, EOPO went with another web service and they designed the present website.

I grew with my career in education from a student faculty secretary while enrolled in Cooperative Office Education to the Controller of the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County when I retired after 38 years of service. While working full time, I attended Kent State University part time and earned my Associate Degree in Accounting Technology, Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, and  Master of Science. I thoroughly enjoyed my position as controller and working with grants and budgets for  special programs.

In April 2008, I became a member of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP) in order to obtain a national certification.  In September 2008, I received certification of completing the requirements for the Bachelor Degree, Option II certificate for the Professional Standards Program (PSP) and the distinction of Certified Educational Office Employee (CEOE). At the July 2009 NAEOP Annual Conference, I attended the PSP Banquet and received recognition of my certificate. At this conference, I attended NAEOP's 2-day Institute and made a friend for life. Over the years I've attended seven conferences and plan to attend the one in Utah. I believe in being a life long learner.

Since my EOPO membership in 2006, I have enjoyed being a member on the Scholarship, Web Design, Ways and Means, and Auditing committees. In 2009, I became the EOPO NAEOP PSP chair and was officially appointed as the EOPO Webmaster.  I love being a helper and even served on the NAEOP Bylaws and Website Committees. I was recruited to be a member of  the NAEOP Educational Foundation's Marketing & Corporate Sponsorships Committee. I have made wonderful friends and connections as a member of both EOPO and NAEOP.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to attend national conferences the past couple of years. I miss seeing friends and providing input from my experiences in the education realm while attending the conferences. I thoroughly enjoy learning at the state and national conferences. The keynote speakers have been very invigorating and even as a retiree, I am able to apply what I learn.

In retirement, I volunteer two mornings to paint fences or benches and one morning at the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library in Colonial Williamsburg. While painting fences, I have met many different people. At the library, I am working with the Williamsburg Area Resident files by looking at the Historical House Reports. My husband and I enjoy walking in Colonial Williamsburg and traveling to the mountains. The winters are so much better than Northeast Ohio, so we've enjoyed relocating. Our son relocated to Williamsburg, so it has been great to have him nearby. We dog sit Mocha. She's a character. I enjoy taking daily walks and sometimes Mocha does, too! Reading, gardening, hiking, cooking from scratch, and baking have been added to my daily life of retirement.

Michele hikingGreat Lake

Kathy Fordos, EOPO Treasurer

Photo of KathyWhen I started working for the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio in the spring of 2005, Leanne Long approached me about joining EOPO. I did and it has been a great decision.

My life in the education arena began at the same time as my children began school. I volunteered and eventually worked my way into full time at an elementary school in Worthington. I moved back to the Cleveland area in the spring of 2004 after living in Columbus for about 28 years. For the past 15 years, I worked as an Administrative Assistant in a special education program run by the ESC. I retired two years ago, but still work there part time. 

I have two children, both in their late thirties. My daughter lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and coaches and trains new and existing agents. My son is a professor in the College of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam in Holland. I am always saving to go see them. I am engaged to a wonderful man whom I have known for over 10 years and we both keep active in church and Hungarian cultural and social events. We travel a great deal and this summer we plan to rent an RV, visit parts of the East Coast and see if this is something we might want to do when we retire. 

I have enjoyed being a part of EOPO very much. The friends and connections I have made have been awesome. I love that other people working in education in this capacity come together once or twice a year to connect with each other, and share challenges as well as rewards. It’s always so nice to reconnect with friends that we have made along the way and to welcome and get to know new conference attendees. We live in a very different time than when my children skipped off to Kindergarten so many years ago. The speakers at each conference are so diverse in subject matter, address today’s challenges and concerns  and we always leave on a high note, refreshed and rejuvenated – looking forward to taking time for ourselves again and coming back to the next conference. 

I have been chair of the Ways and Means and now am happy to serve as Treasurer. Since I am partially retired (so supposedly I have more time), I am able to give back in my small way. Working with this Board and this President has been a super great experience. 












Dana Hoffman, EOPO Membership Director

DH 1

I am the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent at Westlake City Schools. I started my career in education as the secretary to the principal at one of our elementary buildings after being in the business world for over 20 years. I loved working with the families and staff, so I was hesitant to leave that position when the central office position came open, but I knew I wouldn’t get another opportunity so I through my hat in the ring and here I am. I love coming to work every day.

I heard about EOPO through a random email. I checked it out, saw it was only $20 to join and it was a no brainer. This was how I could get professional development and meet more people in my field.  I was really searching for that. Since each district only has one AA to the Superintendent, I needed a support system. I have since attended several conferences where I have received training that not only helps me do my job better, but also helps me be a better person. I have made wonderful friends all across the state who I often look to for support.

As a member of EOPO, I have enjoyed being on the Planning Committee and helping to plan conferences as well as the Awards Committee. At my first conference, I met and began to admire the former Membership Director, so when the board position came open, I entered the election.  Now, I enjoy connecting with members, spreading the word about our wonderful organization, and offering things like Book Discussion and Summer Socials. I am newly a member of NAEOP and look forward to attending my first conference in Utah this summer where I should receive my PSP certificate.

On a personal note, I enjoy running (I am doing my first half marathon in Columbus in October), yoga, hiking (Italy has been my favorite), scuba diving, reading and a lot of family time. I have the world’s best husband, two sons, a daughter, and a new son-in-law. I’m also totally in love with my Great Dane, Pepper.

DH PepperDana and familyDana on pantoon


Kristine Kozlowski, CEOE, EOPO Secretary

KKMy name is Kristine Kozlowski and I am an Administrative Assistant at the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio (ESCNEO). I have been with this organization for 3.5 years and have learned a lot about the field of education which I did not know before. Prior to the ESCNEO, I worked in healthcare for 5 years at different hospitals/practices and was the Merchandise Operations Coordinator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I had not quite found my niche in these fields/jobs and randomly ended up at the Educational Service Center. I have been an Administrative Assistant for my entire time here and recently transitioned into a role where I directly support our Student Wellness Department and special projects for our Director of Operations.

Upon starting at the ESC, many of my colleagues immediately drafted me as a member of EOPO and NAEOP and I have been involved ever since. I have held multiple Board positions with EOPO including Ways & Means Chair and currently Secretary and Scholarship Chair. I’ve also served on multiple committees including Ways & Means, Scholarship, and Conference Planning. I have not yet served on the NAEOP Board but recently completed the Professional Standards Program (PSP) and received recognition as a Certified Educational Office Employee (CEOE) this past July while at the 2017 NAEOP Conference in Boise, Idaho.

I’ve worked hard to develop my skills and experiences not only as it pertains to my work life but also my personal life. I am very proud to see how far I’ve come in the past 3.5 years and a lot of that has to do with my time being involved with EOPO and NAEOP. The opportunities that present themselves in these organizations really rounded out areas that I was not strong in or were missing altogether. I’ve also had the chance to travel and meet many wonderful individuals locally, statewide, and nationally.

In my personal life, I am a proud Aunt of my 3.5-year-old niece, Nova, and 1.5-year-old nephew, Hudson. They are quite possibly the greatest parts of my life and I love spending all my free time watching them grow and learn. I have a ~7 year old chihuahua mix named Beatrice (Bea, Sweet Bea, Bea Boo, BB) whom I adopted from the animal shelter I volunteer at in April 2019. She is my first pet and I could not be more in love with her. Bea has 2 dog cousins, Ruby Mae, boston terrier mix, and Margo Rita (Margie), dachshund mix. These three dogs make the silliest pack and I cannot wait to adopt another dog to add to our wonderful family.

one dogEOPO FriendsKK Two Dogs