Ben named OACHE’s Outstanding Administrator

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

Tom Ben is not one to toot his own horn.

Perhaps that why he has been

tight-lipped since the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE) honored the Symmes Valley superintendent as Outstanding Administrator of 2003 at its 10th annual conference in Lewisburg, W.Va., last month.

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"I'm kind of a quiet, private person when it comes to stuff like this," Ben said.

Ben was recognized "for his commitment to enhancing the learning environment for students and encouraging them one-on-one to attend college and pursue a rewarding career after high school," according to OACHE Executive Director Wayne White. Ben was one of just four individuals in the 29-county

area OACHE serves who received recognition at the banquet.

As Outstanding Administrator, Ben received an OACHE award plaque and a $250 prize.

"I was nominated by several members of our staff, so it was certainly appreciated," Ben said of the recognition.

"Any kind of award such as this gives recognition to our school district. The success we are having both academically and athletically is a positive reflection of what's going on in our school district. We're moving forward."

In the letter nominating Ben for the honor, Symmes Valley guidance counselor Linda Gillespie wrote "As the high school guidance counselor for seven years, I have witnessed a man who truly cares about our children and their future. He is not just a 'behind the desk' superintendent, but one who walks the halls of Symmes Valley and converses with the students

asking them individually about their plans to attend college and pursue a career."

Ben has been in the education field for 32 years. After serving as a principal in the Rock Hill and Symmes Valley school districts for 11 years, Ben became

superintendent at Symmes Valley 11 years ago. Prior to his work as an administrator, he was a teacher and coach for several years, including a stint in the Ironton School District.

"We are very proud of Superintendent Ben … and Symmes Valley Local has every reason to be proud as well," White said.

This is not the first time a Symmes Valley educator has been honored by the OACHE. In 1999 Gillespie herself received the Outstanding Counselor award during the Sixth Annual OACHE Conference in St. Clairsville.

Other Appalachian Ohio educators recognized during this year's banquet include Outstanding Teacher Don Dudding of Southern High School in Meigs County, Outstanding Counselor Janette Calendine of Morgan High School in McConnelsville, and runner-up for Outstanding Counselor Jennifer Buchanan, also of Morgan High School.

OACHE is a consortium of 10 public colleges and universities in the 29-county region of Appalachian Ohio.