The Press Newspaper
The Oregon School Board voted 3-1 to appoint Dan Saevig, with Jeff Ziviski casting the opposing vote, to fill the seat vacated by P.J. Kapfhammer, who resigned last month.
Saevig was one of nine applicants and one of three finalists who were interviewed prior to the board’s announcement. Saevig will be sworn in at the July 15 board meeting.
Saevig, executive director for the University of Toledo Alumni Association, said he became interested while serving as co-chair of the curriculum subcommittee while Oregon Schools was piecing together its strategic plan in 2009-10.
He also served with the Oregon Schools Foundation in 2006-07 to assist in establishing spending and investment policies.
“I really enjoyed that process,” Saevig said. “I’ve dealt with volunteers, people who have served on boards, and one of the things is I’ve reached a point in my career where I have the opportunity to take some of the things that I’ve learned over that time period and hopefully apply them to Oregon Schools.”
Saevig said he waited until the final day to apply because he wanted to make sure serving as a board member at a public school district was not an issue with the state or the university.
His professional career includes more than 25 years managerial experience in the not-for-profit world, mostly for the UT alumni association. Prior to that, he was a sports reporter and anchor for two local television stations for six years and part-time sports writer for 15 years.
He says he learned communication skills from his experience as a journalist. His interest in sports continues as he currently is commissioner of a 50-and-over hockey league at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania.
“In sports and business there are an awful lot of parallels you can draw,” Saevig said. “You need to figure out what your goals are going to be, you have to have the resources in place to attain those goals, you have to have a game plan for filling those goals, and then you get to work and do it.”
He told the school board that he learned of the vacancy through newspaper stories. As a school board member, he wants to make sure the district has the resources and finances it needs to implement programs.
“I think that’s absolutely critical to the process,” Saevig said. “The bottom line is this — there’s the end result to improve the educational experience for the children of the city of Oregon and to help elevate the community in the process,” Saevig said.
In his application, he wrote that serving as a school board member will be a learning process.
“The best thing that a new board member can do is listen, ask questions and learn,” Saevig wrote. “A board is made up of a variety of personalities who have strengths and weaknesses. The key is to learn from others who know more than you while sharing your areas of expertise with others.”
Saevig said the three most pressing issues facing the district are finances, because of dwindling revenue streams, improving student performance and academic achievement, and “public perception of and enthusiasm for the district.”
Saevig told The Press that he promises to remain open-minded when it comes to new ideas.
“We need to listen to everybody and everybody in our community is a shareholder, or stakeholder. We have to listen to them,” Saevig said. “Sometimes, it’s OK to have ideas that are viewed as unusual or different, but sometimes you can have one of the most unusual ideas and you can apply them and make them work.”
Saevig, who resides in the same Eastmoreland neighborhood home he was raised in, graduated from Clay High School in 1979. He has a bachelor of arts in communication (1984) from UT and master of business administration degree (1989) from UT, majoring in industrial relations.
He is a past president of the Downtown Coaches Association and served on the board of trustees for the Toledo Speech and Hearing Center and the Oregonian Club.
Saevig lives with his wife, Dianne, and they have a daughter, Danielle. Dan and Dianne have endowed two scholarships at UT — the Louise Bohm Memorial Scholarship in honor of Dan’s grandmother and the Gene and Donna Saevig Medical Mission Scholarship in honor of his parents. The Saevig Medical Mission Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2012 to a student in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences in recognition of commitment to medical missionary work.
Dianne Saevig has taught at UT, Owens Community College, and Toledo Public Schools, with a career totaling 34 years.
“Education is a frequent topic at the dinner table,” Dan wrote in his application. “Locally, my greatest in-depth exposure came during the strategic planning process for Oregon Schools when the committee was charged with creating a plan to configure academics and operations. I have closely monitored Oregon’s short and long-term challenges through media reports and discussion with fellow residents.”
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