Smith has taught French and math at the high school and middle school. In November, the school board accepted her retirement, which is effective Feb. 28.
Norwalk High School Principal Brad Cooley called Smith “one of the strongest teachers in my time in Norwalk — hands down.” Given her versatility in being licensed to teach both French and math, he said that will make it even harder to find someone to replace her.
“The person makes the program — and that’s the case with Peggy,” added Cooley, who complimented Smith on expecting a lot from her students, but was known for following up a tough test with a fun activity. “That’s the essence of who Peggy Smith is.
“She’s a top-quality person,” said the principal who started working with Smith at Norwalk Middle School. “We are going to miss her greatly.”
Cooley said he has tried to convince Smith to not retire, but added: “She’s got grandbabies she’s ready to see.”
Also retiring soon is Sandy Bennett, music director for sixth through 12th grades. She will retire July 31 after 28 years with the district and another three at Upper Scioto Valley.
With the retirements of Bennett and Smith, Cooley said the district is losing two teachers who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles and who get top grades from students for the coolness factor.
Also, Superintendent George Fisk briefly discussed a Feb. 22 special meeting for the purpose of approving a negotiated contract agreement with the Norwalk Teachers Association, pending its Feb. 21 notification. The Feb. 22 board meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the NHS library.
“There were three meetings, roughly seven hours (each). It was roughly 21 hours to complete it,” Fisk said after Tuesday’s meeting, referring to the negotiation sessions with the NTA that started Dec. 14.
Also board member Steve Linder, during public participation, said he wanted to apologize for the “kinda horrible way” the board handled last month’s public participation. Board president Lisa Wick cut the session short when people addressed allegations of abuse by head basketball coach Steve Gray. She prohibited speakers from naming specific people or use an audio recording.
Linder said he spoke to an attorney who reportedly informed him that names, audio, video and “hand gestures” are allowed during public participation as long as they fit within the allotted three-minute time restriction.
“It is our duty to allow each person who comes forward (to speak),” added Linder, whose comments were met with silence.
In other action, the board:
• Appointed Chris Stang to the Norwalk Public Library board of trustees for a seven-year term which ends Dec. 31, 2024.
• Accepted three donations: A $60,000 anonymous donation; and two for multiple teacher grants, $6,430 from the Schlink Foundation and $3,794 from the Huron County Community Foundation.