The Chillicothe Education Foundation raised between $15,000 and $20,000 at its annual benefit dinner, held at the home of Ed Milbank (CEF Board Director), on Wednesday night.

“That [dollar amount is] pretty normal,” said CEF Board President Ed Douglas.

The dinner has been held at Milbank’s home for the past 15 years.

“He also very graciously provides all of the food and drink that makes all of this possible,” Douglas said.

Douglas noted that the amount raised annually at the CEF-Milbank benefit makes up the Foundation's core funding. He provided that approximately $10,000 is spent annually on the Teacher of the Year awards, $1,500 on the Beacon Awards, close to $2,500 on teacher recruitment, and $3,500 on teacher mini-grants.

In further explaining the teacher recruitment moneys, Douglas said that sometimes, if a worthwhile applicant is being pursued within a pool of candidates for an open position within the district, the education foundation might chip in a small cash bonus to reinforce the applicant’s incentive to become a part of the R-2 family.

“Sometimes, that little gesture can be what it takes,” he said.

Douglas said that among the foundation’s recent achievements were the buying of the 60 acres of land near the Chillicothe High School for possible future district consolidation, as well as taking the lead on the coordination of the new stadium project.

“We’ve had several towns call and ask how our education foundation works,” he said. During Wednesday’s festivities, he mentioned Cameron as one of those entities.

Just prior to the evening meal, the group gathered for a few moments to recognize this year’s Chillicothe R-2 Teacher of the Year and Beacon Award (support staff) nominees and winners.

Carla Meyers, Career Independence / Career Options Aide and Job Coach at the Grand River Technical School, was recognized as this year's Beacon Award winner. Fellow candidates Mary Lou Wilhoit (CHS and CACE), Janet Abbey (CMS), Amy Hand (Central and BMP), Melody Munson (Field), and Connie Quigley (Dewey and Garrison) were also recognized. Hand and Quigley were absent from the event.

Tim Riekena, Chillicothe Middle School sixth-grade mathematics teacher, was recognized as this year's Chillicothe R-2 Teacher of the Year. Douglas noted that Riekena and his wife, Tami, are only the second husband-wife duo to win the R-2 Teacher of the Year award, behind Dave and Debbie Goodwin.

This year's nominees included: Riekena; Leda Schreiner, representing the Grand River Technical School; Angela Peterson, representing the Chillicothe High School and CACE; Ashley Hawkins, representing Central School and the Behavioral Management Program; Tiffany Acree, representing Field School; and Brooke Wolf, representing Dewey School and Garrison. All were in attendance on Wednesday.

The winners of this year's awards were first announced at an assembly at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center, on Dec. 7.

The Chillicothe Education Foundation Board consists of: Ed Douglas, President; Mike Turner, Treasurer; Julie McCoy, Ad Hoc School Board Member; Dr. Roger Barnes, Superintendent; Ron and Roger Wolf, Co-Directors, Grand River Technical School; Mary Staton, Director; Edward P. Milbank, Director; Brenda Fellhoelter, Secretary; Dr. Bruce Brodmerkle, Director; Lindy Chapman, Director; Robin Westphal, Director; and Inger Young, Director.