MRESC InFocus Newsletter-Fall 2019

Serving Educators in Hardin, Logan, and Shelby Counties

Our Newsletter: This publication is designed to spotlight initiatives, success stories, and programming being implemented by the ESC and its partner districts. We are very proud of the work our staff members are doing in partnership with area districts to meet the needs of area students and their families.

If you have any questions regarding the MRESC, please feel free to contact us at 937-599-5195. You can also email us at

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Shine Like a S.T.A.R.

By Scott Howell, MRESC Superintendent

One of the greatest joys of being the superintendent of an ESC is the opportunity to work with people who are true servants at heart and find great joy and fulfillment in serving others. It may sound trite for an Educational Service Center to say, “Service is our middle name,” but at the Midwest Regional ESC, we really mean it. Over the past few years, the ESC has been working very hard to emphasize, refine, and celebrate service to others as our modus operandi. As employees of the MRESC, we are committed to being S.T.A.R.s in our work to serve our students, districts, communities, and colleagues. This commitment to being a S.T.A.R. has four dimensions that all ESC staff members are expected to exemplify:

At this year’s ESC opening day meeting, in addition to asking all staff members to strive for S.T.A.R.hood, I also asked staff to be on the lookout for colleagues who go above and beyond the call of duty in their work as servants and to send me a note so that I can recognize these acts of service. Since that day in August, I have received more than fifty reports of S.T.A.R. service. Each time I receive one of these reports I am deeply moved and further convinced that I work with some of the kindest and most caring people that the world has to offer!

Thank you to all my ESC colleagues who work every day to Serve Others through Teamwork with a positive Attitude and strong sense of Reliability! Your commitment to being a S.T.A.R. makes the entire ESC shine a little brighter!

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Fall Features Many Events for Logan County Students to Carve Out Their Future!

By Karen Sorreles, Youth Development Liaison

We kicked off with College Day on Sept. 13th. Seventy-eight representatives from colleges, universities, technical schools and the US military were be available to meet with students and parents are always welcome. We followed up with Financial Aid night on Sept. 26th.

On October 25th all the 7th grade students got to investigate different career options at Career Day. One student stated, “No one ever gets to see all of those careers, especially in one day. I also now know what to do.” This is a beneficial event to help students choose a career path to follow.

The Choices program for 8th grade students was offered for the fourth year to students in Bellefontaine, Benjamin Logan, Indian Lake, and Riverside. Content is changing, but the hot topics are staying consistent.

Some key take-aways:

  • Always perform random acts of kindness: you never know who you might help
  • If you see a sad face on someone, check in with him or her
  • Take at least one minute of every day to clear your mind and just breathe
  • If you spend time, money & energy on something, that is what you value.
  • Let the Class of 2024 be known as the “Kind Class”
  • Be cautious of your posts, be aware of your surroundings, talk to someone you trust
  • This is your warning-clean pics off your phones, computers and electronics and then make better choices.
  • Focus on the positive not the negative, praise people around you, especially your peers.

You are free to make the choices you want, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. Choose wisely.

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Indian Lake Cross Categorical Students Discover Riding!

By Jamie Ross, MRESC Public Relations

Eleven-year old Azzy Clinger has never spent much time in a barn. But you would not know it by watching her care for and ride horses during recent equestrian therapy sessions.

Azzy is one of nine Indian Lake Middle School special needs students who are taking part in a ten-week program at the new Discovery Riders Linda Liane Hauck Equestrian Center near Bellefontaine. Liberty National Bank and Quest Federal Credit Union, along with United Way of Logan County, are sponsoring scholarships for the students to participate free of charge to their families and school.

Already Azzy’s mother, Jessica Klaas, is seeing a profound impact on her daughter.

“She’s excited about coming, but excited enough to know she’s got to be calm to do it. She’s a lot calmer with other children and overall better behaved,” Klaas reports.

During the weekly sessions, students spend time learning horse-related vocabulary and other lessons with volunteers and center staff. Then, they prepare the horses by brushing them, cleaning their hooves, and putting on the saddles. Finally, they lead the horses around the arena, mount up and ride.

Amy Esaleh is the educator for the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center’s Cross Categorical classroom, housed at ILMS. She is thrilled by this opportunity for her students and the progress she has seen in them.

“Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. The kids talk about it all the time. Landon has a countdown from the time we leave, until we return,” Esaleh says.

Indeed, sixth grader Landon Coy was first to learn the tack lingo. He says, “I like to trot, but I like grooming, too…I like to brush.”

Discovery Riders Program Director and Advanced Certified Instructor Sarah Potts explains that equestrian therapy is effective in the treatment of many challenges, including social/emotional struggles, autism, anxiety, depression, and physical disabilities.

Potts says that therapeutic riding uses all aspects of the horse to facilitate a depth of understanding about a variety of personal skills.

“Horsemanship is very much working with the animal and, in doing that, you learn how to socialize and interact and be appropriate if you’re going to be successful.”

In addition, Potts explains that readying the horses for riding involves sequencing skills and fine motor skills, like buckling the saddle straps. But Potts says mounting and riding the horses adds another level of exercise and growth.

“For anyone who is struggling with motor skills and aligning their mind and their body, that movement helps to organize the systems. It engages the core muscles and back muscles, which then also help with breathing and speech,” Potts says.

Discovery Riders is equipped with a special needs lift and other adaptive devices should the students or other riders require more assistance.

Esaleh says the lessons learned in the barn are blending into the classroom. “The letters on the wall (of the arena) help them with letter recognition and the colors of the cones help with those skills. We have some of the same books, so we read and partner read regularly to remember our horse vocabulary.”

After these sessions, Klaas, Esaleh and Potts report they are seeing more confidence and joy in the children. And that’s the best benefit of all.

Klaas says of Azzy, “She just loves animals and this is helping her learn how to behave in the world.”

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Hardin-Houston EarthLAB Engineers!

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By Sybil Truster, Director of Administrative Services & Innovative Programs

During the summer of 2017, Hardin-Houston Local Schools was awarded a 21st Century Grant from the Ohio Department of Education for the purpose of establishing and expanding a community learning center known as EarthLAB. Since then over 100 students have participated in enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement each student's regular academic program. The focus has been on improving skills in reading and mathematics, coupled with positive youth development while increasing parent and family involvement.

A recent activity involved Kindergarten through fourth grade EarthLAB Engineers in a nature retreat at Lake Loramie State Park. The goal was to spark each child’s interest in the protection, management, and conservation of the lake. Additionally, student engineers learned about STEM careers related to the environment.

Students participated in three sessions: identification of trees and wildlife species on a Lake Loramie island nature trail, park recreation activities, and fishing. During fishing, students learned about the importance of safety and the importance of embracing environmentally friendly techniques and strategies. It was an excellent fishing experience, and students followed the conservation policy for fishing of catch and release.

Students were reminded of the famous quote from Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Above Picture – Jon Geuy EarthLAB Coordinator and Jeremiah Alexander Grade 2 (Mrs. Bowers homeroom) Student

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Linking Schools and Businesses at the Inspire Career Concert

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Mercer, Auglaize, Shelby and Darke Counties hosted the Second Annual, Inspire Career Concert for high school seniors. The event was held on September 20th at Edison State Community College in Piqua. The Gold Sponsors for the event included: Advanced Composites, Inc., Classic Carriers, Inc., Crown Equipment Corporation, and Ross Aluminum Castings.

The goal was to actively link high school seniors from a four-county area to local businesses for future internships and summer or full-time employment possibilities in the future. This inspirational event focused on helping students find their voices and career paths. This provided a great opportunity to bring high school seniors together with local employers in order to make a meaningful, personal connection before they graduate. The senior event included a career fair (both in the morning and afternoon) and a band performance.

The keynote speaker/band combo was "Attaboy." They combined both impactful speaking with relevant music. The band encouraged students to find their paths and to get outside of their comfort zones. A few quotes from those who attended the Inspire Career Concert:

“Such a great opportunity for the students and for local companies to really get their name out there and show students the opportunities available to them.”

“Good interaction!! It is still surprising that many seniors had no ideas about what careers they are potentially interested in!”

“Well worth our time! Having high school students meet potential employers is very beneficial.

Participating organizations include: Ross Aluminum Castings, Hometown Opportunity, Auglaize Mercer Business Education Alliance (AMBE), Partnering for Progress, Darke County Economic Development, Workforce Partnership of Shelby County, Mercer County ESC, Auglaize County ESC, Midwest Regional ESC, City of Sidney, Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership, Auglaize County, Mercer County, Shelby County, Shelby County Dept. of Job and Family Services, and Edison State Community College.

Over 1200 students from Mercer, Auglaize, Shelby, and Darke Counties registered with more than 105 local businesses attending. We continue to believe our best hope for talent acquisition is right here at home.

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2019 Academia

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The 2019 Academia season ended with all Shelby County Schools participating in a tournament. This marks the 44th year for Academia. Schools participating are Anna, Botkins, Fairlawn, Fort Loramie, Houston, Jackson Center, Russia, Sidney, and Lehman Catholic. This marks the third year that Academia has held a season end tournament in which all schools competed against each other in an evening event. For the 12th year in a row, Sidney High School was named the Champion of regular season competition. Sidney is coached by Mr. Brett Bickel. Finishing second in regular season competition was Sidney Lehman Catholic. Finishing second in tournament action was Ft. Loramie and Botkins.

Over 200 hundred students compete in Academia. At the end of the season, each school awards a scholarship to student(s) which are selected by each school. This year’s winners are: Anna- Grant Spangler; Botkins- Elliott Goubeaux; Fairlawn- Kennedee Gallimore, Rachel Hiestand, Jaysmyn Phinney; Fort Loramie- Blake Holshaus; Houston- Blake Jacobs, Patrick Meiring; Jackson Center- Christopher Elchert; Russia- Sarah Pinchot; Sidney- Nobel Zhou, Whitney Petty; and Lehman- Michael Rossman.
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News from Hardin County

Students from Jennifer Hartman’s and Tami Allford’s cross-categorical classes worked hard creating activities for preschool students at Boo on the Boardwalk. The high school students made take home s’mores kits, and the middle school students designed friendly ghost masks with the children. Our students did a wonderful job running their stations and working with our preschool kids!

USV students also celebrated the fall season with our occupational therapy and speech therapy team. Students worked on social and motor skills through fun activities of "pin the spider on the web," pumpkin patch races, and making each other into mummies.

The cross-category classrooms in Hardin County will also be hosting the second annual Chili Cook-Off on Friday, January 31st. It will again be held at Upper Scioto Valley Local Schools in the fieldhouse. Classrooms from Shelby, Logan and Hardin County have been invited to attend the Chili Cook-Off to work on life and social skills. This will be a wonderful day for our students to socialize and develop friendships with students from other counties.

Stay tuned for more great things coming out of the Hardin County Cross-Category classrooms!

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Preschool Happenings!

Within the classrooms, educators have a strong focus this year on early literacy skills and embedded collaborative teaching. All classrooms are implementing the Heggerty series as well as the STAR program (Sit Together And Read). We are working hard to support families in continuing these activities at home so that we see much larger educational gains. Teachers, Instructional Assistants, and Related Service members are meeting monthly to discuss strategies to implement program-wide to ensure all needs and developmental levels are being addressed through the classroom environment and activities.

MRESC Early Childhood Department hosted our annual Fall Developmental Screening on September 13th at Ada. This screening was open to all children ages birth through five in Hardin County and advertised through fliers in the community and school district. Area private preschools had staff attend the screening and educate them on developmental red flags. This annual screening helps to ensure children’s delays are being identified prior to Kindergarten.

Our annual Boo on the Boardwalk was held on Friday October 25th at Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve with over 300 people in attendance! This event offered hands-on activities for children to engage in; activity suggestions and materials for families to take home; as well as trick-or-treating on the Boardwalk through the woods. This event is a collaborative effort between ODNR, MRESC Early Childhood Program, Hardin County Early Intervention, and Simon Kenton Preschool. This year, we had students from the Hardin County SWD unit lead hands on activities for younger children to participate in such as making plate monsters and smores. The event was also attended by children from Ben Logan and Indian Lake.

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Ohio School Boards Association Awarded “Multi-District Impact Program Award”

By Sybil Truster, Director of Administrative Services & Innovative Programs

The Ohio School Boards Association has chosen to recognize the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center’s and Sidney City School’s Opportunity School as one of the top three “Multi-District Impact Programs” in Ohio’s southwest region. At right: The Opportunity School staff (pictured ~ Tom Clark, Coordinator; Sybil Truster, Director; and Tom Roll, Administrator) at the OSBA’s Annual Meeting on October 10, 2019.

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New Scholarship Opportunity

By Amy Simindinger, Shelby County Juvenile Court Liaison

Forging a new path in life can be intimidating and overwhelming, particularly when you are a student. A new scholarship under development in Shelby County will bring opportunities and support to youth hoping to brave that path by participating in additional education and training.

The William R. Zimmerman Sr. Scholarship is designed to support students who are pursuing technical training, vocational training, or higher education, and have been involved with Children’s Services or Juvenile Court or who have had direct care adults in their lives involved in the legal system.

Students can be deterred by many factors when considering additional programs in high school or pursuing a degree after graduation. Pursuing an occupation or training that differs from family tradition or expectations can be intimidating. Cost is often a leading deterrent in considering a path to higher education or training.

There are currently supports in place for financial assistance at many local colleges and vocational programs. The Zimmerman Scholarship committee wanted to provide an additional opportunity for youth to receive funds in an effort to eliminate any financial barrier to success. Students who qualify for the Zimmerman Scholarship may be encouraged to apply by staff who have worked with and guided them during their challenging times.

“Many students I work with are hesitant to pursue additional programs because they fear their family can’t afford it,” said Amy Simindinger, Juvenile Court Liaison for Shelby County. “Being accepted and having to decline is a disappointment. If we can assist students and families with program costs and show students there are ways to address and eliminate those barriers, they are encouraged and empowered to reach further and consider possibilities they thought impossible.”

The scholarship was developed as a response to interest from guidance counselors in the community for resources to support students who have faced difficult challenges. Because past life choices or the life choices of caregivers should not deter students from pursuing additional training or opportunities, multiple entities in Shelby County collaborated to create the scholarship opportunity.

The scholarship committee will award a minimum of two scholarships annually. The specific amount of the scholarship will be based on the program needs of the student and can assist with program costs such as uniforms, materials, program fees or tuition. Due to the nature of the scholarship, the recipients of the scholarship will not be named publicly.

The scholarship was also developed to honor the career and accomplishments of Judge William Zimmerman. Judge William R. Zimmerman was elected to the Third District Court of Appeals on November 8, 2016. He was successful in contested races in both the primary and general election for the position previously held by retired Judge Richard Rogers. Judge Zimmerman previously served as judge on the Shelby County Common Pleas Court, Probate and Juvenile Divisions since 2009 (elected 2008, re-elected in 2014). During his time as a Probate and Juvenile Court Judge, Zimmerman was a faculty member of the Ohio Judicial College (2012-2016) responsible for the teaching and training of new judges in Ohio. He was also appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor to serve on the Task Force on the Funding of Ohio Courts.

The scholarship Committee members include representatives from the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Sidney City Schools, the Sidney Police Department, and the Upper Valley Career Center.

Donations to the scholarship can be made to the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center, 129 East Court Street Sidney, OH 45365 Attention: Keith Thomas. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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National Honors!

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By Erica Baer, Director of Student Achievement

The Logan County National Honor Society celebrated its newest inductees and officers Tuesday evening, October 29th, at 6:30 PM. Hosted by the Indian Lake chapter, President Alexis Clem (IL.), Vice President Mason Hammer (BL), and Secretary Lauren Johnson (Riv.) presided over the ceremonies, welcoming new members and “tapping” the newest officers. After exhortations to develop sterling character, pursue stellar scholarship, demonstrate wise leadership, and engage in selfless service, Clem, Hammer, and Johnson shared with each new officer the duties and responsibilities of his or her role and charged each one with excellence. The evening concluded with a reception in the gym.

Congratulations, NHS Officers!

(Current and Officers-Elect from left to right):

President~ Alexis Clem & Jacob McKenrick

Vice-President ~ Mason Hammer & Sierra Snow Secretary ~ Lauren Johnson & Ella Wagner

Lego Scrimmage Spectacular!

On Thursday, October 31st, Honda’s Anna Transmission plant hosted the annual LEGO robotics scrimmage. Our talented students amazed the judges with their STEAM abilities, successfully programming robots to complete complicated missions. In short, teams of students ages 8-13 collaborated to write computer-based programs to direct a robot on a LEGO-based mission exploring space!. These robots then completed tasks and earned points for the team based on a creative problem.

Over 25 teams from three counties participated in the City Shaper problem. For this year’s challenge, students responded to two key questions: “What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?” and answered these – through the robot game and projects – around FIRST’s “core values”: discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun!

Many, many thanks to Honda of America, whose plant managers, Rick Riggle and Kazuhiro Ito, dedicated engineers, and event coordinator, Deb Kunkler, made this event possible. Thanks to Honda's generous sponsorship of our teams; provision of the awesome wellness center gym as location; and Ms. Kunkler's awesome event planning, the day went smoothly and successfully despite the fog! Some of the engineers are even serving as mentors to their teams throughout this season! We look forward to next year’s fun and challenging LEGO scrimmage! For additional pictures, click here:

Bowling Over Math Problems!

On Thursday, Oct. 31st Mrs. Griesdorn arranged for Cassie Dietrich from the OSU Extension Office to come in and lead a STEM activity called Bowling for Fractions. The students had to program their Spherobot to bowl down a 24 inch lane. The students kept track of how many bowling pins they knocked down. They recorded their score as a fraction. (ex. 8/10) Then, the students had to simplify their fractions and compare their fractions to see who won each frame. The students had tons of fun doing this activity!

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OTES 2.0 Will Be Arriving Soon!

By Dave Shellhaas, MRESC Curriculum Director and Shawn McElroy, Director of Organizational Development

The Time to Start Planning is Now – Upcoming Important Dates

The passage of Senate Bill 216 made changes to Ohio Revised Code 3319.111 and 3319.112 which govern teacher evaluations. The new version of Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) will take effect at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Several districts throughout Ohio are piloting the new rubric, and final changes will be released by ODE in late Spring 2020.

How can I learn more? The MRESC will be holding a series of trainings and informational meetings between January 2020 and September 2020 to help district leadership teams, teachers, and administrators prepare for the rollout of the new system. These trainings will be designed to provide you with information you need to be successful in your use of the system next year!

Please find below draft descriptions of the trainings, proposed locations, and dates. Registration will open for these events at on January 6, 2020. We encourage you to begin making arrangements to attend sessions that are relevant to you now!

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Training for Administrative Teams & District Leadership

Event Title: OTES 2.0 – Essential Details for District Leadership Teams

Date: January 30, 2020 (Sidney, Ohio)

Target Audience: District Leadership Teams (Principals, Superintendents & Teacher Representatives)

Overview: During this OTES 2.0 District-wide update, the MRESC’s team will be sharing the most current information available to assist districts and schools as they prepare for implementation of OTES 2.0 starting in the 2020-2021 school year.

Topics covered will include, but are not limited to: the NEW OTES 2.0 Framework, Mandatory vs. Recommended components, High Quality Student Data (HQSD) considerations, district implementation timelines, summer training options for teachers, and more.

Faculty: Dave Shellhaas, Gina Rogers, Erica Baer & Shawn McElroy

Registration will open on January 6th at

Event Title: EVASS & Ohio Reporting System (ORS): Essential Reports - OTES 2.0 Considerations

Option #1 Date: June 1, 2020 (Ada, Ohio @ ONU)

Option #2 Date: September 9, 2020 (Sidney, Ohio)

Target Audience: District Leadership Teams (Principals, Superintendents, Test Coordinators & Teacher Representatives)

Overview: Under the new OTES 2.0 rubric, the collection, analysis, and use of high-quality student data to modify instruction is a mandatory requirement for educators wishing to be ranked skilled or accomplished. Both Value Added data (through EVASS) and student achievement data (through the Ohio Reporting System (ORS)) may be used by the teachers to demonstrate their use of data to inform instruction.

This session has been designed to provide building administrators, superintendents, school counselors, and test coordinators with an overview of the reports teachers will need to access to effectively analyze student data from EVASS or ORS as required in OTES 2.0.

Faculty: Dave Shellhaas, Gina Rogers, Erica Baer & Shawn McElroy

Registration will open on January 6th at

Teacher Trainings on OTES, HQSD & Tools for Assessing Your Data

Event Title: OTES 2.0 Teacher Survival Guide: An Overview of New Evaluation System, HQSD & More

Overview: This training will provide teachers with an overview of OTES 2.0, including, but not be limited to: understanding the new performance rubric, mandatory vs. recommended elements, requirements regarding the collection and use of high-quality student data, and a step-by-step guide for the assessment of student data. These sessions will be offered twice (once in June and an alternate date in August).

Faculty: Dave Shellhaas, Gina Rogers, Erica Baer & Shawn McElroy

Please plan to attend (register for) the session that is most closely aligned to your teaching assignment (a total of five groups are available). Registration will open on January 6th at

June 2020 Sessions @ Ohio Northern University

Group #1: Kindergarten through Grade 2 (All Subjects) Date: 6-3-20

Group #2: Grades 3-12 (Tested Subjects: ELA, Math, Science & SS) Date: 6-8-20

Group #3: Grades 3-12 (Non-Tested Subjects) Date: 6-9-20

Group #4: Specials (Art, Music, Ag-Ed, PE, Health, Fine Arts, Tech.) Date: 6-10-20

Group #5: Special Education (Intervention Specialists) Date: 6-11-20

August 2020 Sessions (Repeat of June Sessions) @ Sidney, Ohio

Group #5: Special Education (Intervention Specialists) Date: 8-5-20

Group #1: Kindergarten through Grade 2 (All Subjects) Date: 8-6-20

Group #2: Grades 3-12 (Tested Subjects: ELA, Math, Science & SS) Date: 8-7-20

Group #3: Grades 3-12 (Non-Tested Subjects) Date: 8-10-20

Group #4: Specials (Art, Music, Ag-Ed, PE, Health, Fine Arts, Tech) Date: 8-11-20

For additional information, voice over PPTs, and other resources check out ODE’s OTES 2.0 site by clicking on the button located below:

Button Hyper Link:

Use ODE OTES 2.0 RESOURCES as the title for the button.

Questions about MRESC’s Upcoming OTES Trainings or Local Resources? Please contact Shawn McElroy, Executive Director, MRESC at

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Our Directors are a well-informed, highly-skilled team of specialists with a vast range of experiences. Through a wide network of connections with colleagues across the state, relationships with ODE, and memberships in various regional, state, and national organizations, the MRESC team is able to deliver pertinent information and answer specific questions regarding school improvement, professional development, parent engagement, curricular initiatives, and more.

Please contact a member of our Director team if you are interested in customized curriculum services, onsite workshops, professional learning communities, etc. We are interested in helping you develop cost effective options that are aligned to your individual needs. Our phone number is 937-599-5195 or 937-498-1354.

Dave Shellhaas, Director of Curriculum & School Improvement

Gina Rogers, Curriculum Director & ELA Content Specialist


Robert Batty, Curriculum Director & Math Content Specialist


Sybil Truster, Director of Administrative Services & Innovative Programs

Erica Baer, Director of Student Achievement & Gifted Coordinator

Craig Ludwig, Director of Special Education

Lori Berger, Director of Early Childhood Education

Meaghan Tidwell, Director of Special Education, Indian Lake Local Schools

Jeanie Riethman, Student Services Administrator

Connie Schneider, Youth Development Liaison (Shelby County)

Karen Sorreles, Youth Development Liaison (Logan County)

Shawn McElroy, Executive Director of Organizational Development

Julie Phillips, Behavior Specialist


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Midwest Regional ESC

Our Vision/Mission: The Midwest Regional Educational Service Center serves and supports students, families, and districts as an innovative educational partner.