School board mourns Mrs. Radakovich

STEUBENVILLE – Veteran teacher and administrator Margie Radakovich was remembered Wednesday night with tears, stories and a moment of silence at the Steubenville Board of Education meeting.

The Wells Academy principal died earlier Wednesday of a heart attack after a brief illness, according to a statement read at the meeting by board President Ruth Ann Bruzzese.

“During her career, Mrs. Radakovich served as a reading and math teacher at Harding Middle School, dean of girls, principal of McKinley, Roosevelt, East Garfield and the Wells Academy. She most recently served as a Success for All coach for the district and was instrumental in implementing the SFA program in the city schools. Over time Mrs. Radakovich served more than 7,500 students during her tenure,” said Bruzzese.

The city schools were on a two-hour delay this morning to allow principals and teachers to meet and prepare to discuss Radakovich’s death with pupils and students who knew her.

Acting Superintendent Richard Ranallo said grief counselors were available today for staff and pupils.

The board also watched a national video about the Success For All program that featured Radakovich and the Wells Academy preschool pupils.

In other business, Assistant Steubenville High School Principal Ted Gorman reported on the annual Pathfinders Assembly set for 10 a.m. Friday in the high school auditorium.

Gorman said the student-led program will honor Claudia Holmes, Tom Gaines, Helen Gillison and Lester Hicks.

According to Gorman, the Pathfinders Assembly was started in 1993.

The school board officially ratified a one-year contract with the Steubenville Parks and Recreation board to use the Jim Wood Park ballfield for girls softball games and to maintain and cut the grass of the ballfield.

The parks and recreation board unanimously agreed last week to the field usage and maintenance agreement with Steubenville City School District that will allow the Steubenville High School athletic department to maintain the Jim Wood Park ballfield in exchange for first rights to the field.

The recreation board members met in special session with representatives of the high school athletic department last month and heard Steubenville High School girls softball coach Gus DiMarzio propose a maintenance agreement that will see the school fix a drainage problem near third base, build new concrete block dugouts, fertilize and cut the grass.

“I would like to make improvements at the field. I want my girls to have a home field. And I want them to take pride in that field,” DiMarzio said at the Jan. 29 special meeting.

Steubenville High School Athletic Director Lynn Meyer told the recreation board members Wednesday night the school is prepared to reach a similar agreement for maintaining the Jim Wood soccer field.

City Manager Tim Boland said an agreement will be written for the soccer field and presented to the recreation board at the March meeting.

Recreation Board member Jim Emmerling proposed a schedule board be built at the Jim Wood field, “so the public will know when the Big Red girls softball team is not using the field and it is available for other people.”

“Whatever you want us to post we will. I would rather everyone know when the field is available,” added DiMarzio.

The school board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on March 19 to discuss the total number of hours in the school year, length of the school day and beginning and ending dates for the school year.

The hearing also will address other issues regarding the school calendar.

The meeting will be held at the board offices at the former McKinley school building.

In other business during the regular session, the board approved several personnel matters including:

– Hiring Crystal Hatcher as a substitute teacher for the remainder of the school year.

– Approval of Aaron Bottegal as an Eastern Gateway Community College IT intern to work under the supervision of Director of Technology Bryan D’Aurora.

– Approval of Anthony Gossett and Eric Bentley as volunteer coaches.

– Approval of a motion to contact donors to the scholarship fund to transfer the funds to the Steubenville City Schools Foundation.

– Approval of a contract with Apollo Pro Cleaning and Restoration for cleaning Harding Middle School.

– Approval to apply for QZAB funds for remodeling of the Steubenville High School Commons area, Harding Middle School and to create a STEM Academy.

– Approval of a contract with Natalie Campana to design a web page for the school district.

– Acceptance of a $100 donation from the Columbiana County Bar Association for the Steubenville High School Mock Trial Team.

– Approval of Brittany Baker as a cafeteria worker in the Big Red Works program at East Garfield Elementary.

The school board met in executive session to discuss personnel issues following the public meeting.