Teacher’s dedication brought program

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 13, 2000

Jeff Handley has a smile that lights up an auditorium.

Saturday, May 13, 2000

Jeff Handley has a smile that lights up an auditorium.

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The long-time drama coach and recently retired Ironton teacher has influenced countless students during his three decades in the classroom.

Of course, he is best known for his perennial success in bringing music and stagecraft together during Ironton High School’s annual spring musical. It is a blessing that he has agreed to continue his directorial work even though he has officially retired.

However, Mr. Handley has always been more than a teacher and a drama coach. He truly cares about his students, about his school district and about Lawrence County. It is that heartfelt caring that has made such a significant difference in so many students’ lives.

Now, he has carried that concern to a new level through his leadership role with the groundbreaking new Gear Up partnership between the Ironton City School District and the Ohio University Southern Campus.

The program seeks to increase the level of preparedness of local graduates so they have a new combination of self-confidence and academic readiness as they move from high school to post-secondary education.

This past Thursday afternoon, the Gear Up program officially began with a special presentation at Ironton High School. Mr. Handley, as usual, set the tone with his characteristic upbeat, can-do attitude and megawatt smile.

The five-year program breaks new ground in the Buckeye State and focuses on exposing students beginning in the junior high school years to special counseling, tutoring, mentoring, college visits, scholarships and financial aid options.

According to the program distributed prior to the Thursday event, Gear Up also will partner with community-based businesses to increase educational expectations, involve parents, school and community members with tutoring and other activities. For the past two years, The Ironton Tribune already has been involved in a similar activity with Ironton Junior High School students as is evident in our annual job shadowing project, and we look forward to growing that partnership to a greater level as the Gear Up program grows and develops.

We all are extremely fortunate to have someone of Jeff Handley’s caliber leading the Gear Up program. Not only is he a dedicated academic professional, but he truly cares about the success of every student in our area.


Mother’s Day is always a special day, and we at The Ironton Tribune wish the very best to every mother across Lawrence County.

Our mothers are truly unique and wonderful. Each of us only gets one, so today is the day to put any disagreements behind you and embrace the wonderful woman you call mother.

The years have a way of slipping away too quickly. Too many of us realize too late in life how dear our mothers really are. Unfortunately, once the years are gone, they cannot be recaptured.

Don’t wait until next week or next month or next year to tell your mother how much she means to you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

Jennifer Allen is publisher of The Ironton Tribune.