A Shock to the System

Hannah Winegar, Feature Editor

December 7, 2013 had started like any other day, students waited for the bus, teachers filed into school, and people around Portage went about their normal business. Little did anyone know there would be a shock to Portage Public Schools. Tom Eddy, the secretary of Portage Public Schools Board of Education, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 66. According to MLive, School board president Bo Snyder could not confirm any details about Eddy’s passing, only that he had been out of town with his family.

Eddy had been a substitute teacher for the school district, but went beyond the call of duty and cared very much about what happened in Portage Public Schools. In an interview with MLive, Portage schools superintendent, Mark Bielang said, “We are all stunned at the news of Tom’s passing. He loved Portage schools, he loved this community. He was a voice of reason and provided perspective that was extremely valuable. His presence at the table will be missed. He was truly a man of service.” Other members of the board have expressed their gratitude towards Eddy as well. He had been a resident of Portage for over 30 years, serving not only on the school board, but also as a mentor and tutor to students at PortageCommunityHigh School.

Following the passing of Eddy, school officials elected Theresa “Terri” Novaria to fill his spot until November when voters of Portage will choose who fills the rest of Eddy’s term, which was set to expire in 2016. Novaria has been involved with Portage schools for a long time, formerly serving as president on the Portage Northern High School PTO, which is just a fraction of her service towards the school. She has served in some way or another since 1990. Her philosophy of collaboration with residents of Portage resonated with the school board during her interview. Her goal is to have all students have the best education, regardless of where they go after graduation.  She also praised the International Baccalaureate program and the theatre and fine arts programs of Portage schools; however, she says there are still changes to be made.  In an interview with MLive, Novaria said, “We need to continue the level of education to prepare students for live behind Portage.  We need to make sure all students are represented.”

The Northern Light staff offers congratulations to Terri Novaria on her election to the position, as well as extending condolences to the family of Tom Eddy.