Olmsted Falls Board of Education appoints Phil Eckenrode to vacant seat

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — The Olmsted Falls Board of Education last week appointed Phil Eckenrode to fill the vacant seat previously held by Joe Bertrand, who resigned his position effective Oct. 1.

“Phil brings many strengths we look for in a board member, including critical-thinking skills, problem-solving ability, questioning and collaboration,” said Olmsted Falls City Schools Board of Education President Holly Neumann in a press release.

“During his interview, Phil spoke about his passion for learning and his desire to embrace new learning opportunities. Our district mission statement centers on empowering our students to be lifelong learners. Phil exemplified that himself during our interview, making him a good fit for this appointment.”

One of seven applicants interviewed, Eckenrode, who will serve the rest of the term through the end of 2021, moved to Olmsted Township in 2016. This marks his first time serving the public in an elected position.

“It’s something I’ve been interested in since we moved to the district four years ago,” Eckenrode said. “One of the reasons why we chose to move there was because of the schools. I wanted to get involved and do my part. Then the appointment opportunity came up.

“The ability to get involved with the board right away without having to go through an election cycle was attractive, so I jumped on it. It was a no-brainer for me.”

Eckenrode’s family includes wife, Melissa, who is president of the Falls-Lenox & Early Childhood Center PTA (FLECCPTA), as well as children Joey (fifth grader) and Ben (second grader).

With a political science degree from Kent State University and a juris doctorate degree from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, Eckenrode currently serves as the general counsel of the Prince & Izant Company.

“As a lawyer I think I bring a lot to the table,” said Eckenrode, who plans on running for the board of education seat next year.

“Not so much on the side of ‘knowing the law,’ that’s a specific niche thing, but more kind of the natural curiosity of wanting to look at tough questions and problems from all sides and trying to come up with the best resolution. There’s a skill set that will translate nicely.”

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