Member Stories

Lunetta Clark, EOPO Scholarship Committee Member

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I have been working for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District since April of 1993. I have worked as an Attendance Clerk, General Office Secretary, Administrative Assistant and currently as Confidential Administrative Assistant for the district. During my time at the school level, I loved being that helpful, encouraging, happy face to the children and parents. On October 10, 2014, I earned my Bachelor of Science-Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Ultimately, an Administrative Assistant position opened up in the Business Services Department and I applied. The graduation was on a Friday in December of 2014, that Monday I began working as the Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Director of Business Services. Presently, I am the Confidential Administrative Assistant for the Director of Business & Operations. I am now enjoying working for the District fulfilling my passion of helping with the business aspect of our facilities.

I joined the Educational Office Professionals of Ohio in October of 2017. I learned about EOPO by attending a PLC (Professional Learning Community) at the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County. Leanne Long introduced herself to me and told me about EOPO. I have attended several EOPO conferences and have found them to be informative as well as fun! EOPO allows me to meet and collaborate with my peers from different areas. Last year, I served on the Scholarship Committee which was my first time serving. I look forward to getting more involved!

While attending the first EOPO conference in October of 2017, I learned about NAEOP and joined. For the last couple of years, I have been working to obtain my Professional Standards Program certification.

I am married to my love of 34 years, William H. Clark Sr. We have two boys, William Jr. and Harry. I am a Christian and a member of New Jerusalem Baptist church in Cleveland, Ohio. I love my family and church but most of all, I love God. During my spare time I like to read and shop for clothes and shoe deals.

 

 

 

 

Lisa Zuk, EOPO Marketing & Social Media Chair

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Hello, my name is Lisa Zuk and I am an Administrative Assistant to the Director, Business Affairs with Westlake City School District. I’ve been with the district for 17 years. Love my job and position. I am also a member of Educational Office Professionals of Ohio, EOPO as we like to call it.

Three years ago a co-worker, and friend, asked me to join her to attend an EOPO Spring conference, I said why not. Previously, I belonged to another organization and loved my 17 years of involvement where I served in many positions including President. So, when EOPO was introduced to me I looked forward to getting involved again.

I went to the conference in hopes to retrieve information regarding my job and to meet new people in the same profession as myself. Not only did I meet new and interesting people, I also brought back information to incorporate into my position with the school. At this conference there were door prizes, one of the door prizes was a membership to EOPO. I signed up and won, my first year as a member was free! This gave me a chance to see if I was really interested in the group. I was excited and wanted to get started right away to become involved.

In the three short years of being a member of EOPO, I’ve been the chairperson for the Sunshine Committee, Newsletter Editor, and Marketing & Social Media. Plus, I volunteered on the Spring and Fall Conference committees. What I like about this group is you can get involved without traveling or taking too much time out of your busy schedule to complete tasks. The great benefit of becoming a chairperson for a committee is we don’t have to travel for Board Meetings. All Board Meetings are conducted online and/or teleconference. We meet in person one time a year and that is when we attend the conference. So you can see becoming involved with EOPO is beneficial, fun, and you get to meet new friends. I hope you too will join after reading my story. Thank you.

LZ FamilyLisa and MarkLisa's Grands

 

 

 

 

Lori Dietz, EOPO Member

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My name  is Lori Dietz. I am the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent at Polaris Career Center. I have worked at Polaris for 37 years.  I started my career at Polaris in the Treasurer’s office in an accounts payable position. I left for a short while to become the Assistant Treasurer at Independence Local Schools.  I left Independence to have my two children and was a stay-at-home mom for a few years. I went back to Polaris part-time in 1984 to help the Treasurer’s Office with a computer conversion. I ended up becoming the Data Processing Manager managing our computer systems and EMIS reporting.

Polaris switched to Lotus Notes email and I transitioned to the Technology office.  I became the Lotus/Domino Administrator managing the website, email, chat, security and application development servers. I designed an online purchase order system, a sick leave approval system and an online student application and trained the staff in their use.  Polaris Administration decided to move to the Microsoft Exchange email system and the Domino applications were retired a few years ago. The Superintendent’s Assistant retired in 2015 and the he asked me to become his Executive Assistant.  I have realized that throughout my career I have supported almost every department at Polaris in one way or another. I really enjoy supporting the staff.

In September of 2017, I found EOPO while chatting with Cindy Goga. She told me about EOPO and I decided it was an organization I wanted to become member of. One of the benefits of EOPO is the quarterly newsletter, the Buckeye Bulletin.  In the 2020 Fall Issue, I saw an article looking for members to help with the EOPO website. With my technology background and some free time, I decided to contact the webmaster and see what they needed. I am helping with the website now and I am happy to say that I will be appointed Webmaster during the 2021-22 school year.

I live in Strongsvile with my cat, Molly.  I have two amazing grown children and three beautiful grandchildren. I am lucky that my grandchildren are close by and see them often. I enjoy watching all their activities and having our sleepovers at Grandma’s house.

 Dietz grandchildren    

   

 

Cindy Goga, CEOE, EOPO President 2006-07, 2011-12

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In September 2003, I was interviewed by Leanne Long and then hired by the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County. The staff were friendly and welcoming! During that first year, Leanne introduced me to EOPO and I am so glad she did! She took me to a couple of the board meetings, so I could get a “feel” for the organization and understand what it was all about. At that time, the meetings lasted anywhere from 2-4 hours; although I did not enjoy the long meetings, I did enjoy meeting the board members and learning what the organization was all about.

I started slowly with EOPO by volunteering to help on a variety of committees. For a while I worked on the Scholarship Committee and then I was Secretary and then President. Each step of the way I grew from the professional development opportunities and from each of the members. It also took me out of my comfort zone which was a steppingstone for my personal growth and confidence.

I am winding up a 34-year career in the educational setting and am looking forward to spending more time with my husband and my family. I have three grown married children and I have 4 wonderful grandchildren who I love and adore! I also have a list of places that I would like to travel to and explore. When I am not with the family or traveling, I am outside walking with my Bassett Hound, Angus, reading a good book, or crafting.

Angus

 

 

 

Donita Smith, CEOE, EOPO President 2007-08, 2009-11

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I joined Educational Office Professionals of Ohio in 2002. Judi Ross, our Superintendent’s Executive Assistant, was the president at the time and asked me if I would do a newsletter for her. Little did I know, that by agreeing to do something I enjoyed I would not only be a member of EOPO but, I was also on the Board of Directors.  Judi gave me that news after the fact.

I learned a lot from the ladies that came before as Presidents and members. I was privileged to meet the founders Martha LMartha and Lilaeach and Lila Van Swerigen. I was honored when they showed faith that I could be President as well. I now do public speaking with confidence. I served as the Newsletter Editor, President Elect, President and Membership Director.

 

I was privileged to serve on the National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP) Board of Directors. I was appointed the High School/Career Technical Council Chairman and I was elected as the Northeast Area director.

We offer professional development, but the friendships, encouragement and support offered from the members of this organization is beyond measure. I have made lifelong friends across the state and the nation by being in this wonderful organization.

Donita and Past Presidents

 

 

 

Mary Beth Smith, EOPO Past President, EOPO President 2017-2019

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Hello, my name is Mary Beth Smith. I live in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (in a log cabin on Hidden Valley Lake), however work in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am the Executive Assistant to the President/CEO at Great Oaks Career Campuses. This is my 32nd year at Great Oaks and have worked in many different capacities. I have been married to Denny for 40 years, have two grown daughters (Michelle and Amy) who have blessed me with wonderful son-in laws and a total of seven grandkids.

I enjoy kayaking, antiquing, visiting wineries and spending time with my family and friends. I try to attend as many of my grandkids sporting and school events as I can, which keeps me very busy. My favorite vacation place is Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love the ambiance of this cute little town as well as the food and people there.

I have been a member of EOPO since 2006. I have served on the board for the past fourteen years in different roles: Newsletter Editor, Ways & Means Chairman, Vice-President, President and currently as Past-President.

I have also been a member of NAEOP since 2006. I have served on committees for the past seven years and served on the national board as the High School/Career Technical Education Council Chairman for two years.

I am very grateful to be a member of EOPO and NAEOP, and I want to thank Donita Smith for introducing me to these organizations. I have met so many new friends and acquaintances over the past fourteen years. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and serve on a committee or as a board member for one of these organizations. I look forward to many more years of being a part of EOPO and NAEOP.

MBS FAmilyMBS Girls

 

 

 

Beth-Anne Zaenger, CEOE

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I worked for the Worthington Schools, suburb of Columbus, Ohio. I started there in 1996 and worked in the Gifted and Talented Office as their administrative assistant for 17 years, until I retired in 2014. I loved my job and the people I worked with, especially my bosses. They were always supportive of my joining EOPO. I joined EOPO at the urging of my friend Bonnie Turner and felt a part of it from the beginning. Everyone made me feel so welcome, especially Esther Nesselroad. She was President of EOPO the year I joined. It was during my years with EOPO that I decided I wanted to earn my CEOE. I began taking college classes at Columbus State. I earned my CEOE in May of 2004 in Boston and also was Educational Office Professional for the year 2004-05. After earning my CEOE I decided to continue my classes and graduated with a Business Administration degree in 2008. I was the Treasurer of EOPO for a number of years before I retired. Those years I was a part of EOPO were a great part of my life. I made friends and learned so many things to bring back to the office. I also attended some of the National Conferences: the one in Boston, one in Louisville and one in South Carolina. I would recommend the conferences to anyone interested. I even sang with their choir a couple of times. Earning my CEOE was the highlight of my career and it was amazing to walk across the stage to receive it.

BethAnne and Chris

I love retirement. My husband, Chris, and I retired on the same day, March 31, 2014. A few days later we took off to Arizona for a trip with my sisters. We flew into Phoenix and drove to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and saw so many ruins and beautiful sights. Chris and I have also taken a number of Road Scholar tours. The one to Utah was my husband’s favorite. Zion and Bryce and all of the other parks we saw were magnificent. The beauty of this country always amazes me. My favorite was probably the trip to the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff and even got to walk on the ice fields. A trip to Chattanooga with my sisters was also a lot of fun. I never knew there was so much to see there.

We have been blessed with two wonderful children, Kevin and Katy, and four grandchildren—four little girls who all have flower names, Lily, Mia Jasmine, Violet and Emmy Rose. Mia lives nearby so we get to see her often.However, the other three live in Ft. Myers, Florida. Thank goodness for FaceTime, although we try to get down when we can.

BAZ Family 1BAZ Family 2

We are celebrating fifty years of marriage this September and had two trips planned. Of course, Covid took care of that. But we did get to the panhandle of Florida with daughter Katy and family. Son, Kevin, was worried about the case rise in Florida so opted out. We have a couple of great trips planned for next year: Death Valley and Canadian Maritimes with my sisters, unless the Covid pandemic is still a worry.

This is our little mini doxie Bella as a baby.

BAZ Bella

I love to travel and have been reading lot since retirement. Louise Penny is a favorite author if you like mysteries. I’m still cooking and plan to crochet each granddaughter a wedding afghan. Chris and I also love singing. Besides church choir, we joined a local choral group, Capriccio Columbus, 14 years ago. Katy’s high school choir director started it and there were 60 of us the first year. Now we are nearing 100 singers, but due to Covid we haven’t been singing and don’t really know when we will be able to get back together.

 

 

 

Evelyn Urbin, Nominations & Elections Director, 2020-2022

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I am Evelyn Urbin and have been a school secretary for twenty-five years. My career includes working in three different school districts, as secretary to a Curriculum Director, Assistant Principal, and Guidance Counselors and currently as the Principal’s Secretary at Westlake High School (WHS). Looking back, I can see how each position prepared me for the next. When our kids were little, I worked part-time at the I-X Center in Cleveland, where I sold tickets to events, and eventually moved to the Accounting office, where I balanced out tellers’ drawers, and helped with the deposits. Little did I know at that time, I was gaining knowledge I use now at Westlake High School, as I am responsible for making our deposits and creating purchase orders, etc. I’m grateful for this current position that I hold at WHS.

I became a member of EOPO over a year ago, as I was looking for a way to improve my professional outlook and career. What an amazing group of women! I especially enjoy the comradery, and energy that is contagious in this group. Being a member of EOPO has helped my career immensely. I’ve benefited from the uplifting speakers at both conferences I’ve attended. I also appreciate the interaction with other members, and always walk away with helpful insights and meaningful suggestions. I also enjoy being involved in our book club discussions. I am looking forward to this opportunity to serve as a member of our Membership Committee.

I have been married for 40 years to my H.S. sweetheart, and we have been blessed with our daughter, Angel (38), and our son, Vince (31). I say “blessed”, because both were preemies, and I am very grateful they survived after their rough starts. Some of my hobbies include reading, playing the piano and baking. I especially enjoy decorating cakes for family and friends.

 

Evelyn and familyPicture of Evelyn's dogEvelyn's cat

 

Katherine Reichley, CEOE, EOPO President, NAEOP & PSP Chair

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I started at Otterbein University in 1989 in the Education Department preparing for an Ohio Department of Education accreditation visit. After 24 years I moved to the Academic Affairs Office and serve as the Academic Assessment and Accreditation Specialist. When I started working at Otterbein, I was employed part time while I completed my master’s degree at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Delaware, OH). After I graduated (1990), I started working full time at Otterbein.

While at Ottterbein, my life has taken a number of turns. I moved to Somerset in Perry County, got married to Tim, and had our son, Dominic. We currently have a 12-year-old miniature long-haired dachshund named Curly. Although access to my electronical files is not the best right now and I miss my wonderful, hardworking colleagues, I do enjoy working from home. My commute is normally 55 miles and two tanks of gas a week so no driving has been great for my time and the family budget.

When I was serving in a leadership role for the University Staff Council, I started looking for professional organizations for educational office professionals. I quickly found NAEOP and joined immediately. It was not until some time later I joined EOPO after finding it highlighted in a NAEOP publication. I connected with a board member in the Columbus area and got signed up for my first conference soon after. This spring I participated in both the NAEOP and EOPO book groups.

A few of my favorite things are knitting, sewing, making jam, sudoku puzzles, writing, and this summer I look forward to gardening. I have even entered some of my knitting and jam in the Perry County Fair the last few years. We have a sewing group at my church with meetings once a month to make things for other people. We have done blankets, burp clothes, and bibs for local agencies as well as pillow case dresses for overseas. Since we cannot get together right now, I have been doing a lot of face masks for our church food pantry and others.

Face masks made by KatherineKatherine with face masksItems Katherine has sewnItems Katherine entered in fair with ribbons

 

Leanne L. Long, EOPO Past President 2004-2006

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My name is Leanne L. Long. I work at the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio as an Administrative Assistant in the Special Education/HR Department. I started in 1978 when the ESC employed less than 100 people and now there are over 1,500 employees scattered across northeast Ohio. The offices have moved three times to bigger and newer places and I have done many and various jobs including Superintendent’s Secretary.

I have reinvented my position in pupil services to fit the needs of the ever-changing ESC to pick up necessary tasks. I am in charge of various specific tasks that occur at different times of the year such as updating the 80 page staff handbook, updating parts of the ESC website on personnel, updating board policy manuals, NCSSA subbing, insurance minutes, all contracts with vendors and every student agreement and contractual agreements for services within the Cuyahoga County lines to name a few.

Martha Leach was very inspirational in getting me involved in EOPO. In 1978 I went to the very first conference held in this region at St. John’s Cathedral, in downtown Cleveland. A unique place for a conference –and yes we sat in the pews and took notes. I don’t remember the topic but it was a beautiful setting! Martha personally met each of us newbies as she called us and took personal time with us. There were about 80 members at that conference.

Soon after I was elected President of the Cleveland Chapter of EOPO – the Greater Cleveland Educational Office Professionals Association meetings were held at the ESC offices on Canal Road in Valley View. My superintendent, at the time, loved the idea that we had those meetings for secretaries from schools across the county. Attendance was good until it wasn’t and GCEOPA folded. A sign of the times in the late 80’s. However, that sense of collaboration and comradery still hangs on today as my ESC still holds administrative assistant networking meetings at our building and I’ve seen three other superintendents since. EOPO meetings have been held at the ESC also.

I feel the learning we administrative assistants need to share with each other is so vital that I have tried to convey with coworkers and superintendents how important it is to have these meetings and conferences and so it continues. Hence, I was President of GCEOPA and then EOPO for two years. Without that experience and believe me, it wasn’t easy, but it was always rewarding. I learned so much which I believe would not have put me in my position today which gives me the confidence to speak to administrators, coworkers and other staff with knowledge, pride and mutual respect. I learned to speak in front of a crowd, but I still get nervous. I managed to put together a few workshops for other secretaries and at an administrator conference where I helped present a secretary rubric for excellence and self-evaluation which is still used today.

Certificate of Recognition

My ESC administrators were so proud that when I passed the gavel to the next EOPO President, Cindy Goga – they ALL came to Columbus to the installation dinner to watch, the Treasurer, Superintendent, Directors, Coworkers. That was a special memory. Along with that the ESC Board gave me a special Commendation Resolution plaque that I have hanging in my home office.

The best professional development that always helped me was the type that wasn’t about learning google but about helping people understand other people and understanding yourself.

The very best EOPO conferences over the years I’ve been a member are the ones I’m driving the two hours home to Cleveland alone having a heart to heart with myself about what I just learned and most of the time involving some tears because the speakers are so uplifting and I needed to hear it! That’s the inspiration that EOPO does for you if you are just joining. Get involved – get to know people like yourself. You will not regret it.

EOPO and the ladies who mentored me throughout the years have a very special place in my heart not to mention the friendships acquired. I say thank you to them here even if I haven’t said it to them directly. We all know who we are.

If I had any suggestion to anyone starting out in the educational office field today. I would never waiver from the 41 years of experience I have by saying keep learning – faster and faster technology is a given. Use the technology. Be kind, don’t gossip, and check facts first, be tactful, be proactive, and don’t be afraid of change, accept challenges and be your best self.

Above all as I reflect, I had a four-year son, seven and nine year old daughters to raise, basically alone when I divorced 29 years ago. He was not in their life for 20 years. However, I kept consistency going. It was my sanity. Now, they are responsible adults with their own families and career driven. I see they saw the consistency I made back then between home and work. It was together. Be consistent in all you do at work, home, play and prayer and how you treat people. Do consistent excellent work. It does pay off.

Hobbies? I will retire in about a year. I have 5 grandchildren – 4 of which are almost 4 years old (set of twins) all exactly 6 weeks apart and one just turned one year old. No, I’m not opening a daycare – although I’ve been asked! I’m writing adventure stories for two grand girls – one is fairy story adventures and creating a scrapbook with trinkets I’ve found around the house. “Lula” is a fairy that lives at Grammy’s house who hides trinkets. The other is friendly monster adventure stories featured with the little monster creature next to one of pictures I’ve painted! As I write the adventure stories, I’m telling about family members since they are scattered in different states, so they learn about extended family. My artist daughter will take these pictures from the phone (since they live in PA) and make a photo book from it. I expect to keep up these stories through the end of a year, but my daughters want me to keep going – ha! We’ll see.

In these COVID-19 days as I’ve cleaned out closets and drawers, I’ve gathered all my art supplies and sewing supplies and journal books in one place! I like to draw and paint and I love to sew. Oh, so much to do and so much to share with the little ones.

Keep doing your important work for the students in Ohio!

Thank you for allowing me to share.

 

Leanne's GrandsLeanne and Scarlet