About Our Members

Congratulations, Art Fesmyer!

Earlier in the year Art received a Life Time Achievement Award in Education from the Kiwanis Club of Ravenna for all of his years of service as a teacher and administrator  in education.


David Spencer, who served for 33 years as a teacher and elementary school principal for Kent City School district, was inducted into school’s Hall of Fame.  He recognized with the Special Honorary Achievement Award.  Dave is a member of ORTA and PCRTA and was a candidate for the state Board of Education.

Known among many as “the man in charge of those words,” Spencer coordinated the Character Education program for Kent Schools after retirement. The program focused on core values, including responsibility, respect, empathy, courage and inclusiveness. “When you set high standards for yourself and you try to live up to something, then you know you need additional

Kent State University Distinguished Service to Education, Health and Human Services Award: Saroj Sutaria, Ph.D.

Born in Nagpur, India, Saroj Sutaria arrived in the U.S. in 1962 to study and obtain her doctorate in education. She had already earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in India, and she went on to receive another master’s degree and Ph.D. in special education at Syracuse University.

Upon graduating, she came to Kent State in 1967 to begin her teaching career, and she has remained in Kent ever since. From 1967-92, Sutaria was a full-time faculty member in the Department of Teacher Development and Curriculum Studies, specializing in the field of specific learning disabilities. She has remained very active with Kent State, as well as the Kent community.



The Ravenna Ravens Hall of Fame was established in 1989 by Dr. Thomas King, superintendent of Ravenna schools at that time. There are five categories in which nominees may be nominated, and four of the five must be graduates of Ravenna High School. Plaques are presented to each of the inductees with a biography of their achievements and their portrait, sketched by artist Sheila Liston, past Hall of Fame inductee and graduate of Ravenna High School. A second plaque is then hung in the Hall of Fame showcase at Ravenna High School.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams, Director of Ravenna 21st Century Learning Center

Amy Adams, Director of Ravenna 21st Century Learning Center

Amy Adams currently serves as the director and grant coordinator of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers after-school programs at Brown Middle School and Ravenna High School. She is now an employee of the Community Action Council of Portage County.

Prior to this involvement with the CAC of Portage County, Amy taught for 30 years in the Ravenna School District. She was awarded  National Board Teacher Certification in 1994.

During her teaching career she served as chairperson of the Ravenna Local Professional Development Committee, staff development leader, a university adjunct professor, a grade level chairperson and a mentor of pre-service teachers.

Joann Stykes

Jo Ann Stykes, Citizen of the Year Ravenna

Jo Ann Stikes, Citizen of the Year Ravenna

Jo Ann Stikes worked in city and federal government, at the YMCA, at Fort Hayes army base daycare and taught fifth grade at Ravenna School District, where she also had a Junior Master Gardener Classroom.

She was a Sunday school teacher, received a Teacher of the Year Award given by Ohio State University and was Citizen of the Year in the City of Ravenna.  Jo Ann was involved in the Skeels Summer Computer Class Enrichment Project.  First year teachers were mentored By Jo Ann, and she served as a leader of a textbook selection committee.

She was a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and a liaison for the Skeels Community Center, as well as a member of Skeels Senior Club. She is a member of the Akron Urban league, NAACP, Portage County Historical Society, and she is in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.



RuthWiegand, PCRTA Retiring Secretary

RuthWiegand, PCRTA Retiring Secretary

PCRTA would like to thank Ruth Weigand for all of her dedicated years as the recording secretary for the PCRTA Executive Committee. Ruth served us with very detailed minutes of not only the Ex. Bd. meetings, but minutes of the PCRTA luncheons as well.  Ruth likes to travel and is involved in her church.

She enjoys luncheons with her many sisters on “Sister Day,” movies, reading, eating out, line dancing, visiting her friends, and she especially enjoys visiting her son in N. Carolina and her daughter in Florida.

We will miss Ruth’s attention to detail, but we expect to see her at our luncheons enjoying her freedom.  THANKS, RUTH.


Adel in TriathlonOne of our own members, Adele Fussner, participated in the Girls Tri Too Triathlon on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at Linwood Park in Vermilion, Ohio .

Adele reports that the race is a beginner’s race and that 50% of the entry fee goes to the Susan G. Komen Ohio Affiliates. Adele’s aunt had breast cancer.

The race began with a plunge into Lake Erie waters for a 250-yard swim, equal to 6 laps in an Olympic size pool. This was quite a feat for Adele. Until seven years ago, Adele was afraid of water. She credits her water aerobics’ teacher, Fran Carly, at the Kent Roosevelt Natatorium for teaching her to swim and encouraging her to participate in this beginning race.

(Ed. If you look in the background of Adele’s picture, you will see Fran in the dark top and khaki shorts running along with her camera at the ready.)

Adele felt extremely protected during this part of the triathlon. She was the last swimmer in the water, and a fireman was in a kayak escorting her into shore. Furthermore the next group of participants was on shore waiting for their race to begin. As Adele emerged from the water, she was met with high fives and cheers to encourage her on the next leg of the race.

Adele then biked for seven miles. She was quite the talk of the race for two reasons: first, her contestant number and age had to be displayed on her calf (556 / 75) and second, her bike was the only one sporting a basket.

The last leg was a two-mile run/walk. Adele reports that the encouragement of her husband and her water aerobics teacher throughout the race made it possible for her to get through the burn which sets in during the last half of each leg. The wise words of her teacher, Fran Carly, “Look forward and keep pushing!” echoed in her mind throughout the race. We all could live by those words!

Adele proudly stated she won her division of the race, age 75 and up. She then laughed and added she was the only participant in that division. I found her times on line and found them quite impressive: swam 250 yards in 13:08 minutes; biked seven miles in 45:58 minutes; and ran/walked two miles in 33:07 minutes.

We all need to give Adele a THATAGIRL the next time we see her!




Ruth_ Weigand, Secretary

Ruth Weigand, Secretary

Speaking of getting letters…PCRTA received this letter from Rene Dawn White Chlysta whohad seen a picture of Ruth Weigand, her former third-grade teacher, in the PCRTA newsletter and felt compelled to write to her. Letters like these are what keep teachers going strong. Here is an excerpt from it:

“When I was in your third grade class at Field Central Elementary School, I could not know how sheltered my family kept me. I could not travel and experience the many wonders of the world beyond Brimfield, our family farm, and my relatives’ homes in West Virginia. But my circumstances were only one reality. You showed me learning-language, mathematics, social studies, nature and science…I remember one time, even when our class was outside coming in from being behind the building…I noticed some sort of insect or arachnid near the door, mentioned it to you, and we talked about its existence. You called other students over to see it and notice it…You tied it into what we had been going over in class…I remember your face, your smile, your intellect, as we pondered over that little critter.”

There were little times like that in your class that made me very happy on a daily basis. But it might be your character and mannerisms I remember most. You were so organized and exact. You were thorough and dependable. You were honest and respectful and kind. You were fair. And you have always been one of the people responsible for those qualities in the teacher I continue to become. Thanks for being my third grade teacher.”


Ken Cardinal in Hall of Fame 


Ken Cardinal

Ken Cardinal

Kent City Schools recently inducted Kenneth Cardinal into their Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes people who have made exceptional achievements and unique contributions to the Kent community.  Ken and his wife Joanne are life members of PCRTA and ORTA, and they participate regularly in the luncheon meetings.

Kenneth Cardinal was the superintendent of the  Kent  City Schools from 1977-1981 after serving as the assistant superintendent for ten years. His career began in Ashtabula County where he was a teacher, coach, and an administrator in the Buckeye Local Schools.

Ken researched and developed a structured interview process designed to predict behavior, attitudes and other subjective traits in teacher candidates.  He has worked with school districts throughout the United States and Canada to provide instruction of the use of structured interviewing and targeted professional growth opportunities for classroom teachers, administrators, coaches, and school support personnel.

Cardinal earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Kent State University and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Outstanding Accomplishment from the KSU College of Education. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge.  Congratulations, Ken!