Every year, area fourth-graders converge on Hedges-Boyer Park for Ohio School Days, which is part of Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival. It is to continue this year, but under new leadership.
Eileen Werkman, a three-year resident of Tiffin, is the event's new chairwoman. She said she is excited about getting involved.
"I'm enthusiastic about this," she said.
This year's Heritage Festival is scheduled Sept. 17-19, according to the festival's Web site.
Werkman said she is gathering information and learning what tasks she is going to be responsible for and plans to attend a meeting about village activities this month. She said she is looking forward to working with people who have been involved in the past.
Werkman said she is a facilitator and doesn't expect to come in and drastically change things. She said after a year of getting her feet wet, she might have some ideas.
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"I'm learning right now," she said.
Werkman said her goals for the program are not to mess up what has been started, to facilitate the changeover so perhaps people don't realize the leadership has changed and to be there to help in any way she can to ensure continued success.
"Everything's been positive. I have not heard anything negative about it," she said about her preliminary thoughts.
Werkman, 60, is from the Cleveland area and moved to northwest Ohio with six years of teaching experience. She started teaching fourth grade, which is the grade level of students who participate in the School Day programs.
Werkman taught for 31 years, including 25 years at Washington Local Schools in Toledo. After she retired in 2002, she took a year off. She now is a part-time receptionist for a financial planning office.
Werkman said so far in retirement, she has been as busy, and probably busier, as she was during her years of teaching because she has been involved in projects that have come up, such as the school days.
She initially rejected the idea of serving as the chairwoman of the event, but after people involved with the event talked about the idea, she agreed to take on the task.
"They assured me that I would have lots of help," she said.
Werkman said she doesn't decline challenges.
"Hopefully, I'm up to the task," she said.
Werkman said she is at the bottom of the learning curve but she said she thinks she comes in with the skills for which Heritage Festival officials are looking. She said she loves working with students and teachers and is a facilitator, a good listener and an excellent problem solver.
Werkman follows a philosophy that invites the best out of others and oneself and avoids toxicity, negativity and revenge. She said she will use the philosophy in her position as the chairwoman of Ohio School Days.
"I try to live my day-to-day life that way," she said.