Galion students come back, give back

More than 5o GHS graduates now work for Galion school district

GALION — One of the common statements heard during most high school graduation ceremonies involves graduates commenting that they don’t plan on “coming home.”

However, for more than 50 Galion alumni, that wasn’t case. These individuals returned to Tiger Town to educate future generations of Galion graduates.

“I always knew I wanted to stay in Galion,” said Sue Stark, a 1975 Galion graduate and fifth-grade teacher at Galion Intermediate School. “The connections I have with the families I serve is priceless.”

Stark started her educational career in Galion as a substitute teacher in the late 1980s. Many of her connections were made — and enhanced — through her time teaching swimming lessons for 30 years through the Galion chapter of the American Red Cross. She also managed the city swimming pool for many years.

“Murriel Crall (second grade), Miriam Voelm (first grade), Bill and Marilyn Stepro (middle and high schools), Jack Arlen (band), Bob Casey (sixth grade), Derek Kent (sixth Grade) and Miriam Sayre (high school) were all very important teachers in my education and taught me how to think on my own,” said Stark. “I have always been proud of my deep roots in our town and am very proud to be able to give back to the town that has given me so much!”

Mira Zeisler and her husband Jeff left Galion to attend The Ohio State University, and then moved to North Carolina following their graduation as Buckeyes. The Zeislers loved North Carolina, but something was missing for the couple.

“We missed the human connection that living in a small town brings,” said Zeisler. “We missed running into a friend or neighbor at the grocery store.”

After returning to college to earn degrees that would allow them to return home, Mira started working as a teacher 27 years ago. The couple feels blessed to have raised their children in their hometown.

“I had a wonderful experience attending Galion City Schools and was fortunate to return and work with many of my former teachers,” said Mira. “Darrell Lemke, Julie Hoffman, Judy Beers, Doug Court, Jim Wegesin, Dick Predmore, Tim and Patti Miller, Dave Spraw, Ed Snyder, Steve Stuckman, Dave Smith, Tim Weiskopf, Nancy Stanley and Bill Stepro were some of the wonderful educators that made a difference in my life as a student and then mentored me as a teacher.”

John Denoon, a 1971 GHS graduate, has been teachingindustrial arts at the high school for 15 years. He’s always lived in Galion. He likes the opportunities presented by living in a small town.

“I’ve lived through the highs and lows and use that experience to adapt classes to prepare students for life after graduation,” he said. “I was lucky that I could make my choice and ended up back home.”

In addition to teaching at the high school, Denoon taught adults in the telecommunication and safety arena for local and global companies. He also served as an instructor at Marion Technical College, and credits Don Duper, Fred McCumber and Steve Kent (former classmate anda Galion teacher) as educators that influenced his to return to Galion.

“I was like every other kid at GHS ready to get out of Galion,” Denoon said. “But I found out that the positives and negatives are the same everywhere, regardless of the size of the town.

Jenny (Kelly) Jackson (Class of 1988) and her husband Phil (City of Galion Fire Chief and Galion High School head baseball coach) take great pride in being from Galion and wanted to work in Galion as a way of giving back to the community that provided a safe upbringing, and many wonderful memories.

“My husband and I both have family in the area,” said Jackson. “Returning to work in the same place you called home as a child is a special way to help keep the community moving forward while holding on to traditions, history and the charm of what Galion has to offer.”

Jackson, who works at Galion Primary School as the Title One Reading Intervention Specialist, says one of best things about working at Galion as an alumnus is knowing the families who have grown up around the same time she did, and who now have students coming through our school.

“Mr. Carl Stough and Mr. Fred Fairchild (former Galion principals) made the biggest impact on my decision to return to Galion,” Jackson said. “It’s great seeing the various traditions that have been in place for decades being carried on.”

Other Galion alumni who have returned home and currently work in the district include: Brian Owens (Board Member), Tina Crim, Brent Tyrrell, Meghan Tyrrell, Traci Wittibslager, Heather Carney, Regina Jutz, Jenny Reagan, Jon Stinehour, Lynne Foust, Jeanne Kuns, Matt Tyrrell, Troy Yunker, Jena Gardner, Dawn Hunter, Cindy Glew, Mandy Kent, Amy Tyree, Elizabeth Ice, Kim Chandler, Bryce Lehman, John Erlsten, Fred Rinehart, Aleta Rowe, Laura Rigdon, Bridget Sutton, Ashlee Cuttitta, Deborah Furr, Lisa Perry, Curt Wiggins, Katy Erlsten, Jaime Valentine, Tena Eyster, Shani Rush, Christina Eckert, Roxann Ramsey, Lupe Campo, Sarah Wegesin, Pamela Hayes, Michelle Talbott, Kathy Alguire, Laurie Smith, Kerri Ganshorn, Jan Cass, Suzanne Woodmansee, Grant Garverick (Board Member), Mike Mateer (Board Member), Lindsey Gribble, Todd Eagle, Carson Early, Stacy Harding, Chris Carpenter, Cheri Laughbaum, David Kirk, Diane Mann, Cindy Nichols, Kyle Mann, Kelly Phelps, Lindy Edgell, Guido Lane, Amy Keller, Kristin Lehman, Jason Bash and Kristi Jackson.

“It is incredible that we have so many alumni working in our district,” said Jim Grubbs, Galion Superintendent. “Many of our staff would tell you one of the reasons they went into education was because they wanted a chance to make a difference in students’ lives like an educator had done for them.

“Now, our current staff members are able to make the same impact on our current students and create a special environment for everyone in the district.”
More than 5o GHS graduates now work for Galion school district


Special to the Inquirer



This article was provided by Chris Stone, of Rock Solid Media, which provides marketing services for Galion City Schools.