Piqua Board of Education remembers staff members who have passed away recently


By Sam Wildow

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PIQUA — The Piqua Board of Education on Thursday held a special presentation in remembrance of four staff members who have passed away recently, gifting a plaque on those staff members to each of their family members.

Board member Sean Ford first recognized Keith Stoler, 66, who passed away in September.

Superintendent Dwayne Thompson remembered Stoler, saying in his recognition of Stoler that Stoler “was a true asset in every role he played in our district.” Ford read Thompson’s recognition of Stoler, saying, “He was willing and able to help in so many ways, and he had such a wide skill set and strong work ethic. More than that, he was kind and had a great sense of humor.”

Ford went on to say Stoler was recognized for his contributions to the Piqua City Schools District in 2016 when Stoler was named the Support Staff Member of the Year.

Ford then recognized Judi Nicholl, 64, who passed away in November. Nicholl taught at the Community Christian Academy from 1979-1981. She was also an educator at Piqua City Schools for 26 years, where she taught first grade at Springcreek Elementary School for 23 years.

Ford read Springcreek Principal Ross Loudenback’s remembrance of Nicholl, saying, “Judi will always be remembered as a loving, dedicated, and caring teacher with a giant heart for children. Her passion for teaching was recognized by the many lives she touched throughout her career.” Nicholl’s daughter, Megan, proceeded her in death one week prior to the passing of Judi Nicholl.

“She will be greatly missed by her family at home and her family at Springcreek,” Ford said.

Next, Ford recognized Joyce E. Pitsenbarger, 63, who also passed away in November. She started her career with Piqua City Schools in 2003 as an aide at Wilder Intermediate before transitioning to the Piqua High School in 2006. Pitsenbarger was remembered as being a “very patient and caring person.”

“Joyce loved working with students and helping them achieve high levels of success. She had a special ability to build relationships with students to make sure they were on the right track with their schooling and personal choices,” Ford said, reading a statement from High School Assistant Principal Darrell Hite.

Ford then recognized Tonitia “Toni” Riley, 37, who passed away in September. She began her work at Piqua City Schools in 2014 as a school guidance counselor at the Piqua Junior High School.

“As a fierce fighter against cancer, she made every day count,” Ford said. He read Piqua Junior High School Principal Jeff Clark’s statement about Riley, saying, “Toni was the kind of educator that we all strive to be. She cared deeply for her students and her coworkers. She made every day better for anybody that was around. Her fun-loving nature was contagious, and we will miss her deeply at the Piqua Junior High School.”

Later in the meeting, the board heard a presentation from Timothy Forbess, CEO and president of G.F. Bailey Company, LLC, and Chris Schmiesing, director of the city of Piqua’s Development Department, regarding the site of the former High Street school. Forbess proposed developing the site into independent housing aimed at residents 55 years old and older. Schmiesing discussed how there is a demand for housing for those 55 and older, citing the assisted living homes at Garbry Ridge.

“We know there is a huge need in the community,” Schmiesing said.

Forbess said the trend in the market is going away from nursing homes and moving toward homes where people can “age in place.” The plan is to make a development that blends in with the neighboring homes but also stands apart as its own development. The concept of the development includes 36 units with each unit having two bedrooms and approximately 1,000 square feet of living space, not including the garage. The homes would be rental units going for approximately $1,500 a month.

The board authorized for Thompson to move forward on seeing what the next steps are in pursuing that development.

The board then authorized contracting with Arcon Builders to do alterations to the Piqua Junior High School. Arcon Builders were the lowest bidder for the project at a cost of $1,516,138. The work includes new finish flooring, painting, ceilings, counter tops, and other improvements, according to Thompson.

The board ended the meeting by approving a resolution to refinance a 2012 bond on the elementary school buildings, which is expected to save the district approximately $268,449 in interest over the life of the bonds.

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