Clark County educators honor 3 with distinction awards

One individual also recognized for receiving state award.

The Clark County Educational Service Center (ESC) honored three people with its Fellow of Distinction awards.

The fourth annual award ceremony, held Thursday, honored Melvin Gene Farrell, Marcia Nichols and Dale Steinlage.

A Fellow of Distinction is an individual who has made a lasting, significant contribution to the Clark County ESC’s mission, vision and values; who has made a positive impact while championing students, staff or the public; and who has excelled in a career of exceptional circumstances or leadership while displaying high professional and ethical standards.

“It is a privilege to honor recipients who have put so much into the ESC over the years, who encompass the mission and values of the ESC, and we are happy to bring them back — past board members, past employees — and acknowledge their accomplishments,” said Scott Webb, administrative assistant to the superintendent of the ESC.

Farrell worked for 16 years at Beneficial Finance Corporation in Springfield, then continued to work in the loan and finance industry until he retired in 2000.

He served as a long-time member and Sunday school teacher of the South Charleston United Methodist Church, a member of the Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rite of Dayton, a member of the Springfield Kiwanis Club, a 4-H assistant club leader, a Southeastern school board member, vice president and president, a member of the Ohio School Board Association, and a Clark County ESC board member and president.

“It’s always a joy, for once in your life you get something right. You meet a lot of nice people, that’s what it’s about,” Farrell said.

Nichols began working at the ESC in 2004. As the director of operations, she works to provide the best for students and educators, including helping all districts obtain the PPE needed during COVID-19 and scheduled vaccination clinics for all educators.

She has been involved in many projects and initiatives such as the All County Boards’ Dinner, Strengthening Families, Excellence In Education, Young Authors’, Franklin B. Walter All Scholastic Award and Mervin Britton Scholarship.

Nichols said it was amazing to not only get this award but “to be honored with (the two other recipients).”

Steinlage, who began his career with a bank in Mercer County, later moved to New Carlisle and became president of the New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank before retiring in 2016. He was also on the Clark County ESC Board of Trustees for 18 years, retiring in 2021.

“It was just a pleasure to serve the people of the county, serve the students, especially the children of the county. To have a little bit of an impact on them is very rewarding,” Steinlage said.

Each recipient received a plaque with their name engraved on it in honor of their contribution to the Clark County ESC.

Linda Jordan was also recognized during the ceremony for receiving the 2023 Ohio School Boards Association Service Award, which is part of the STAR (Service, Training, Aptitude and Recognition) Awards Program.

Jordan, who was on the Clark County ESC board for seven years and Northeastern school board for 20 years, said receiving this award is nice.

“This is from the state organization, and I’ve been president of the regional organization, then on the board of trustees for the state and then the executive committee for the state, so it’s a long hill of accomplishments and working hard for the kids in the district,” she said.

This program was established by the Clark County ESC Board of Education on May 14, 2019.

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