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CCC says goodbye to retiring employees

PROCTORVILLE --- It’s been two-decades —- plus a couple of years —- of challenges for Joyce Blazer. Her title is a long one, but certainly matches her responsibilities.

She is treasurer for the Board of Education for the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District.

Or to put it in more familiar terms, she is the chief financial officer for the Collins Career Center.

Now, after 22 years, she is saying goodbye to the job she has loved.

She came to the Collins center after a 15-year career working in the banking industry.

Then, in her 30s, she was looking for a new career path. When she heard about the Collins post, she felt her background made the job of treasurer a perfect fit. And it is a career change she’s not regretted.

“Working with school personnel is great. They’re probably the best people,” she said. “I am doing a service for the community and I enjoy what I do. But I have come to an age where I need to stop. I am not burned out, but after 47 years it’s time to stop.”

In essence, Blazer has managed an $18 million annual budget for the school district that has 525 juniors and seniors on campus, about 500 students on satellite campuses and about 500 in the adult programs.

“We have just produced a lot of successful people,” Blazer said. “In adult education, we have multiple graduates and they go right into the medical field. We have all kinds of high-tech adult courses.”

Besides turning out graduates who will go into such fields as nursing, radiology, and ultra sound, the center also has a trade and industry program and does customized training for businesses.

Taking her place on Jan. 1 will be Richard Sketel, who comes to the area after a career with the state of Ohio, where he started in 1983. The last post for the Ohio University graduate was as a senior deputy auditor. There he supervised activities within the southeast region that is comprised of 17 counties.

Sketel has been on campus since July when he started working with Blazer in the financial aid department, handling among other things Pell grants.

“That has been great to understand adult education here at the school,” Sketel said.

Also leaving the career center is Paul “Hammie” Leffingwell, who served on the center’s board of education for 22 years. He also is retiring from the Chesapeake School Board after a 32-year tenure. During his time on the board, Chesapeake built three schools. Leffingwell was also active in the Chesapeake Little League, kept score for the basketball team, announced the school’s football games and was a local referee for 25 years.

As to Blazer’s immediate plans, the businesswoman says that right now she’s flexible about her future.

“I’m going to rest, then search out something else to do,” she said. “I am not going to quit work. I just don’t want to work 40 hours a week. I am looking for some downtime and will re-evaluate my situation in a couple of months.