Lakewood OH

Three challengers, two incumbents vie for Rocky River School board




ROCKY RIVER — Three newcomers will challenge two incumbents in the Nov. 7 election as they run for three non-partisan seats on the Rocky River school board.

Challengers Ruth Beach, Daniel Mayer and Daniel Dunchack will face incumbents Jon Fancher and Kathy Goepfert. Board member Rick Manoloff announced earlier in August that he would not seek re-election for another four-year term.

The school board has five seats, with board members elected to four-year terms. Members are paid $125 per meeting, with a cap of $2,500 annually.

Whoever is elected will join Addie Olander and Diane Leitch, who defeated 12 year board veteran Scott Swartz in a contest for two expiring seats in 2015. The second seat was vacated when long time member Jean Rounds retired. 


Fancher 61, who is seeking his third term, has been Pastor of Rocky River Presbyterian Church for 26 years and has seen his three sons graduate from Rocky River High. He said he has chosen to run, in part, “for the sake of continuity on the board.”

“We have seen a healthy infusion of new people on the board. But continuity is importatnt,” Fancher said.

While finance is always a pressing issue, Fancher thanked voters for the “solidifies finances for the upcoming year.” In May, the district passed a 4.9 mill levy by a solid 63 to 36 percent margin. In addition, $7.44 million of outstanding bonds from the 2010 capital improvement bond issue were refinanced for a savings of $1,128,000.

“We have a very capable and committed administration and I want to support them in every way I can,” Fancher stated.


Goepfert, 55, is completing her fouth term. She retired in 2016 from the Fiscal Office of Cuyahoga County, where she spent over 30 years. She has two children who graduated from Rocky River High School, a daughter in 2012 and a son in 2016.

“I want to continue moving this district forward and continue to demand the high standard of education the citizens of Rocky River deserve,” Goepfert stated.

Acedemics and finance are seen by Goepfert as the major issues facing the district.

“The state of Ohio will continue to require a high level of acedemic achievement from all school districts,” Goepfert said, refering to the ever evolving standards and testing criteria handed down by the state. “We as a district must always be ready for the continuous changes and the high standards the state and citizens of Rocky River deserve.”

A well-planned and executed budget is also seen by Goepfert as being crucial.”We always need to be prepared for the unfunded mandates from the state. Most of the money the district received comes from the citizens of Rocky River, many on fixed incomes. I have and will continue to make sure the school district is fiscally responsible. We owe it to our citizens to be good stewards of their money. We have eliminated the three year levy cycle that has been in place since the 1980s. We are currently working with a five year levy cycle and are trying to further extend the levy cycle.”


Beach 45, the owner of Ruth Beach Ink, a writing and editing business with an office in Rocky River, said she will work for the earlier introduction of foreign language and increasing the language choices available.

She has edited and written for publications used in the Rocky River City Schools as well as writing articles for the district website.

“I am uniquely connected to the Rocky River City Schools on both a personal and professional level,” she said. “The schools are serving my family exceptionally well and I am running for school board to help support all our students and the excellent work of the teachers and administration.”

Beach and her husband Tom have two children at Rocky River Middle School and one at the high school.

“I will listen to all of our citizens, families, students and educators to hear their concerns and I will address those concerns in concrete ways,” Beach stated.

Dunchack 47, said if elected he will work for tolerance, making sure everyone receives the respect they deserve and are not bullied.

He has spent more than 22 years in public service, and is a wage and hour investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I have faithfully executed the policies of our elected officials,” he said in a statement. “Ultimately, you enter public service to give power to the people, not yourself.”

Mayer, 46, is a life-long Rocky River resident, graduating from Rocky River High in 1990. With his wife Julia, he has two children, one in middle school and one in high school. His experience includes owning a construction company, which he said will help with infrastructure and building issues.

“The main reason I am running for school board is the desire to be an active participant in my community,” Mayer said. “What I plan to accomplish is an even-handed review and implementation of the district’s policies and procedures. I feel the role of the board member is to help advise and consult the school district administration based on the feedback from everyone in the community.

He said he wants to make sure the district is asking the questions and assessing current needs while being mindful of the budget to ensure the district will be strong.



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