Michael D. Clark reports:
It’s a single seat on Lakota Schools’ governing board, but while holding that elected chair no one had more and longer impact on the giant school district than Joan Powell.
Half of those 16 years Powell were spent as school board president, where she guided four other members in overseeing Lakota’s explosive growth transforming the once rural Butler County district into the eighth largest in Ohio.
In Lakota’s 56-year history, only one other board member held a seat longer.
Outside of the five Lakota superintendents during her career who controlled the daily operations of the district, no board member has steered the school system more often than Powell.
And area leaders said she moved the district in the right direction, serving both school families and the business communities in the 63-square-mile district that encompasses West Chester and Liberty townships.
“When navigating tough decisions, I have observed her compass to be her commitment to educating future generations’ citizens, leaders, and workforce,” said veteran West Chester Township Administrator Judith Boyko.
“Joan’s leadership on the Lakota School Board has spanned a decade and a half of expansive, market driven residential growth in West Chester and Liberty Townships. She has always grasped the greater picture and understood the correlation between economic development and a sustainable tax base for the community and the schools,” Boyko said.
Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance, said “Joan has played a key role in many projects that have led to Lakota being the excellent performing school district it is today. “
“From transitioning from one high school to two, to increasing the number of school buildings – now totaling 22, from working with five superintendents, to Lakota being honored as a school district of excellence for 11 straight years, Joan has worked tirelessly for our students and our communities of West Chester and Liberty Townships,” Hinson said.
Powell’s longevity on the board has been one of the few constants in an ever-changing Lakota.