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One busy man

Melissa Topey • Aug 11, 2014 at 12:23 PM


Eugene Sanders is always a busy man.

This time of the year, however, every minute is scheduled.

It is August 6 and classes begin for the Sandusky School District in 12 days.

Sanders is the superintendent of Sandusky City School District. On Wednesday I worked as a Superintendent alongside Sanders for my “On The Job” series.

I meet up with him at 10 a.m. in his office at the school board building.

We were scheduled to go into our first meeting in a few minutes. It was to be the first of three back to back meetings.

Before we could leave the office a couple of men with a local company were at the door. They wanted to talk to Sanders about providing a service of fingerprinting students. They said they had an appointment. They were, however, not on the schedule. Sanders apologized and explained to the men he was going into meetings. He left them with his assistant to reschedule the meeting.

Throughout his days a lot of people will want a few minutes with Sanders.

We walked into our meeting with seven young adults and Brooke Austin, the districts web communications assistant. Austin is helping the team plan for the “Blue Streak Pride 5K Run/Walk”, taking place Oct. 4.

The group has a goal of 2,000 participants, made up ideally of 1,000 current students and 1,000 residents.

Gathered around a large table the kids and Sanders talked about ways to recruit people and students to the race. They moved on to discussing manning the mile markers with volunteers from the student council who would provide water and assistance to the runners.

As I watched it became obvious Sanders and the young adults had a respect for and good relationship with one another. He challenges these kids and they rise to the occasion.

They showed me a video they made in the school promoting the race. It was a good video, my only suggestion was to film a couple segments in iconic Sandusky locations. I would like to see them film by the namesake Blue Streak coaster in Cedar Point a challenge to residents to come out and show support for the community they live in by participating in the 5K.

I then officially launched, or made active, the website so people can register for the “Blue Streak Pride 5K Run/Walk” event.

I can push a button, that was easy but Sanders wants me to participate in the 5K. I am defiantly going to have to walk it.

Sanders was the very first one to register, proudly representing the class of 1976.

“One down, two more to go,” Sanders said as we headed to our next meeting.

The next meeting on Sanders agenda was about Blue Streak University, a new program that offers a potentially cost free way for high school students to get college credit and possible an associate's degree with their high school diploma.

We sat down with key administrators from Bowling Green State University, including BGSU Firelands Dean William K. Balzer and Executive Associate Dean Andrew Kurtz, and Sandusky City Schools.

Everyone talked about options for the structure of the program, including an on-line option. Part of the program could include about six weeks overseas participating in a study abroad. It was obvious they are looking to break the mold in terms of student experience.

Sanders, Balzer and Kurtz are going to be meeting a lot in these next couple months.

That meeting over, we immediately walked down the hall to another room that was already filled with school principals and department supervisors.

Sanders and I were about to hear how ready the schools are for students to arrive.

Principals and staff in the schools had schedules in place and seemed to be ready. The maintenance department said they are receiving about 20 to 25 work orders a day and will have to prioritize them. The school will be ready but some minor items may not get done until after school starts.

School transportation routes will be finalized Friday, Aug. 15, two days after the Sandusky School District Open House.

It was a productive morning. He liked what he heard. School staff is about 95 percent ready for the year, he said.

Sanders grabbed a slice of pizza as we left the meeting. That will be his lunch.

Next stop Ebenezer Church to speak to a group of kids.

In the lobby was a family. Their little son held a goodie bag in his hand. They had just registered him for school.

"Hi little man. Are you going to go to school?," Sanders asked.

The little boy was shy, his big eyes looking up at Sanders.

The family responded for him that he will be in kindergarten.

“What school are you going to?,” I asked.

The family hopes Venice Heights elementary.

They realize the man in front of them is Dr. Eugene Sanders.

Their eyes light up in recognition and they shake his hand.

Sanders talks with them for a moment before he starts to walk down the street.

He had to get to Ebenezer Church, students are waiting to hear him speak.

Just one more stop in a busy day.

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