by Claire Beseler
Loveland, Ohio – On May 28th, 2020, two vacancies on the Loveland City School Board, previously held by Art Jarvis and Ned Portune, were filled. After Loveland’s Spring Operating Levy failed, Jarvis and Portune publicly announced their resignations, leaving the board to accept new applications. After reviewing 36 applications and interviewing each applicant, The Board chose Kevin Dougherty and Dr. Eric Schwetschenau to sit on the Board of Education along with current members, President Kathy Lorenz, Vice-President Michele Pettit, and Eileen Washburn.
Treasurer and CFO, Kavin Hawley, swore in Dougherty and Schwetschenau at the May 28th Board Meeting. Each, if they choose to remain on the Board must run in the November 2021 election. Their terms expire on 12/31/21.
After they took their oath of office, Dougherty volunteered to serve on the Finance and Facility Committees and Schwetschenau volunteered to serve on the Finance Committee.
Dougherty sent Loveland Magazine a response to his appointment to the Board. Schwetschenau referred us to the application he sent to the Board when he applied for the position.
Before moving to Loveland with his family, Dougherty worked in the Healthcare industry at American Hospital Supply Corp and Baxter Laboratories. After accepting a job at Kroger Co., he and his wife moved to Loveland in 2001, where his daughter completed her K-12 at Loveland City Schools. Dougherty was initially responsible for Logistics and Supply Chain at Kroger Co. but has moved over to their new Digital program. In an email, Dougherty wrote, “My overall goal is to help create a consensus on the right direction to take the District from here, built on ever-improving transparency, trust, clarity of facts and a sense of common purpose.”
Dr. Schwetschenau moved to Loveland in 2005. He has four sons, with one currently in 6th grade at Loveland Intermediate School. He has worked as a business owner with his own medical practice, as well as working with Evendale Medical Center and eventually TriHealth. Schwetschenau has served on the District Finance Committee. He told Loveland Magazine, “Education serves as the basis for the development and growth of our society. Without schools performing at their highest level in their mission of education of our children, our future becomes both less certain and less strong.”
Kevin Dougherty moved into the Loveland District in 2001 after he accepted a role with the Kroger Co. He was initially responsible for logistics and supply chain and later moved to lead the company’s new digital program. Prior to Kroger he had a number of different roles, particularly in the Healthcare industry at American Hospital Supply Corp and Baxter Laboratories. Dougherty retired in early 2017 after he said, “leading organizations from relatively small and simple to very large and complex over some 40-plus years.”
“Our daughter attended Loveland Schools K-12 so we have been parents served by the district for many of the years we’ve lived here,” said Dougherty.
He and his wife are the sponsors of Xavier University’s “X-Path” program, “focused on helping young people on the Autism Spectrum develop social skills as a foundation for independence and success in life.” Dougherty said it is very important to them and they are “very proud” of the life-changing impact the combined team of Xavier administrators, teachers, and student mentors have regularly with the clients of this program.
Dougherty said that when the Board openings occurred, some friends suggested he could be helpful with the challenges facing the District.
I hope to bring a career of business and people experience for example, to addressing the complex issue of back to back failed levies. There are certainly other urgent and emerging issues but this has been a visible, polarizing one. It’s an issue that demands a solution and we have to engage in it and find an answer.
Dougherty said that he fundamentally believes in people’s good intentions every bit as much as I expect and welcome their diversity of viewpoint. “I’ve learned in business that personal opinion is at best second to hard-earned facts and objective assessment. Our actions need to be driven by the facts, clear and agreed goals, and the viewpoints of the community.”
That means we have to find new ways to connect with the community … to discover what they think is important, how they think we are performing, and what they are capable of supporting. We have to understand them as a great business continually strives to understand its customers.
Dougherty wants the Board to look “realistically” at the financial performance of the district and running the business of the district like a business with the expected necessary control and accountability.
Knowing these things becomes critical to developing realistic operating, expenditure, and facility plans that balance the educational goals we have for our children with the community’s ability to afford it.
Dougherty emphasized that transparency is a foundation to trust, involvement, and ultimately, community support. He said, “Without it, great visions and great ideas risk never being realized. Despite whatever barriers to doing this really well may exist, I believe we must find ways to solve for a higher level of community engagement.”
Dougherty told Loveland Magazine that his overall goal is to “help create a consensus on the right direction to take the District from here, built on ever-improving transparency, trust, clarity of facts and a sense of common purpose.”
I believe we have some difficult, complex but very solvable problems in front of us. We will need dialogue and trust to arrive at answers we all can feel are right for our community.
Dr. Eric Schwetschenau
Eric Schwetschenau was born on April 13th, 1970. He is married and is the father of four sons, one of whom is currently in 6th grade at Loveland Schools. He is a resident of the Loveland City School District and has been so since 2005.
Schwetschenau told the Board of Education that his interest in serving as a board member is twofold.
I have a strong belief that a healthy and well-performing school district is critical to the future of our community. Education serves as the basis for the development and growth of our society. Without schools performing at their highest level in their mission of education of our children, our future becomes both less certain and less strong.
Recently, there has been a disconnect between what our community appears to desire in the form of financial support for the mission of the schools and what the school district (and board) believe is necessary to fulfill that mission.
I believe that I am relatively uniquely suited to help to bridge that divide. As a longstanding educator (albeit in a much different field) I can understand the difficulty of providing information in the form necessary to be both understood and incorporated by a diverse target audience.
I would be privileged to have the opportunity to speak to the current board members about my possible value as an addition to the school board.
As an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician who by nature specializes in respiratory illnesses and their effects, I am also relatively uniquely suited to help the board and the school district to find their way forward in the mission of educating our children safely and effectively while also helping to provide guidance about the protection and safety of staff in these very uncertain times of pandemic illness. I by no means claim to have the answers as to how to proceed but I am happy to provide my expertise and guidance in making these difficult decisions for and during the upcoming school year.
Schwetschenau also told the Board in his application, “With those two things in mind, one other area of expertise that I have to offer the board is my background as a business owner and finance committee member. After returning to Ohio in 2001 I joined, grew, and sold a medical practice with more than 20 employees and several million dollars of yearly revenue. I also served as a member, and ultimately chair, of the finance committee at Evendale Medical Center before and after the facility was sold to TriHealth.
These years of experience should help me to provide guidance and support to the board and the true professionals managing and running our school system.”