When the ball drops on Sunday, it will mark the beginning of 2018 as well as the end of the term for Delaware City Schools Board of Education President Deb Rafeld, who has been a board member for 12 years.
Rafeld said she was substitute teaching for the district more than a decade ago when she got the idea to run for a vacant board of education seat.
“I decided to give it a shot,” Rafeld said. Rafeld said her children were just starting school in the district at the time and she wanted to get more hands on with the district. “I really just wanted to be involved. I wanted to do something that I felt like was making a difference within the school district.”
Rafeld won her seat in 2006 and has been on the board ever since. She said she’s thankful for the Delaware community’s support.
“Every bond issue or levy issue that we had, we passed,” Rafeld said. “That feeling of knowing that the community supports you and supports what’s happening within the district is a great feeling. You feel like your school district is really doing something right when the community supports you over and over again.”
Rafeld said being on the board has taught her much and has changed her life.
“It totally changed the direction of my life,” Rafeld said. “Being part of the board and interacting with the leadership of the district and the teachers of the district, it really gave me insight into what I wanted to do and I ended up going back to school to be a teacher because of it.”
Rafeld now teaches fifth grade in the Buckeye Valley Local School District.
Rafeld’s seat became vacant in November after she decided not to pursue a fourth term.
“My daughter graduated last year, so both my kids went from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Rafeld said. “When I became a board member, I really believed in becoming a board member because I was a parent. Once your kids graduate you really become disconnected from what’s going on in the schools and I think it’s important for board members to have that connect. After 12 years it’s time for some new blood to get in there and do something else.”
Rafeld said the board members she worked with felt like family and respected each other, even when they disagreed about issues.
“I will miss the people the most,” Rafeld said. “Everyone within the district is great. The leadership are wonderful people. I am going to miss everybody a lot.
Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft said Rafeld will be missed on the board
“She was a consummate board member,” Craft said. “She understood the role about being a connection to the community, and being one of five voices that come together to shape the direction and policy of the district.”
Craft said Rafeld was connected to various sports teams and other groups through her kids and those connections were invaluable to the board.
“That’s huge to have a board member who’s that connected,” Craft said. “Her growth as an educator gave her a deeper appreciation for what we do and made her an even more effective board member.”
Rafeld’s seat was won by Michael Wiener, an assistant prosecutor at the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office, during the election on Nov. 7. Wiener will begin his term in the new year.
“I’m extremely grateful to the community and how they have supported the schools,” Rafeld said. “I feel really lucky to be part of Delaware and to have been allowed to represent the school district as a board member and it was the community that let me do that. I am extremely grateful for that. I hope the community continues to support the district. I’ll always be around to help out the district any way I can.”