Kent State Geauga Welcomes New Members to Advisory Board

By Estelle R. Brown


Three new members have been appointed to the Kent State Geauga Advisory Board. Working as community liaisons from local public education, healthcare and business sectors,  Cardinal Local Schools Superintendent Bill Kermavner, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Julie Szitas, and Preston Superstore’s Marketing and Customer Relations Specialist Jackie Preston Franck bring valuable new insight and input to Geauga County’s only public institution of higher education.


They join a 17-member board of engaged community leaders, each with rotating three-year terms of service. Advisory board members are advocates, advisors and connectors who work closely with Angela Spalsbury, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer, as a resource for Kent State Geauga to generate stronger connections with the community.


Bill Kermavner is excited to now be in a position to build upon an existing relationship Cardinal Local Schools already enjoys with Kent State Geauga. A mentorship program has been developed between Cardinal and Kent State Geauga students, as well as student-teaching field experiences for education majors at Cardinal. 


“With Middlefield being just five miles down the road from Kent State Geauga, I wanted to make sure we had a good partnership with Kent State,” he says. 


“Considering our close proximity, we want to encourage even greater engagement and more educational opportunities for our kids, building upon the natural connection we already enjoy. My major goal is academic achievement, giving back to Cardinal and public education, encouraging lifelong learning within our community,” the superintendent emphasizes.


Kermavner spent his childhood in Willowick, attended Willoughby-Eastlake schools, and has lived in Euclid for 26 years with his family. During his teen years, he worked the Great Geauga County Fair and also baled hay in local fields. Later, he served as band director in Newbury, so he has enjoyed an enduring connection to Geauga County. He says his 45-minute commute to Eastlake is “easy.”


As a new advisory board member, he says, “I’m just excited to be part of the team, building up relationships and looking forward to the future.”


Julie Szitas says that this is her first experience serving on a board “but I am very excited to join Kent State Geauga’s Advisory Board and contribute to the organization’s mission and vision.”

The healthcare professional says, “My goal is to be an ambassador for Kent State Geauga within the community and to be a meaningful contributory component. As a registered nurse, healthcare executive and Kent State Ashtabula graduate, I am hoping that my background and experience can provide additional guidance and impact for the organization that will ultimately enhance the quality of care our community receives.” 


Szitas grew up in Austinburg but currently resides in Jefferson, where she has lived for the last 18 years.  


Jackie Preston Franck says that she was honored to be appointed to the Kent State Geauga Advisory Board in August. She also currently serves on the Notre Dame Schools Board.


“My objective in this role is to use my gifts and talents to help Kent State Geauga in any way possible. I have years of experience in marketing and advertising and look forward to sharing my knowledge in those areas to help Kent State Geauga reach new audiences and grow this wonderful university right here in our community.”  


Preston Franck and her family moved to this area 28 years ago when her father opened the family-owned car dealership in Burton. Now, she and her husband, Andy, live in Novelty with their three children. She and Andy both work for Preston Superstore.


“I have learned through my work at our dealership that making connections with people and finding new ways of telling our story to people who may not know us is how you grow a business,” she says. 


“I think taking those same ideas and using them to grow Kent State Geauga can make an impact in bringing more students and resources to the university. Our family and our business have always made giving back to our community a priority. I see Kent State Geauga’s heart for service in our community and know I can help in that way, as well. “ 


Thanks to its dynamic community membership, the Kent State Geauga Advisory Board promotes and connects the campus to Geauga County and the surrounding communities. It helps Kent State Geauga to fulfill its mission of transforming lives and communities through the power of discovery, learning, and creative expression in an inclusive environment.


The full list of Geauga Campus Advisory Board Members:

    • Rich Frenchie, Chairman, President, The Frenchie Group
    • Brian Bontempo, Ph.D., Superintendent, Auburn Career Center & Ohio Technical College
    • Jim Dvorak, Geauga County Commissioner; Realtor, Century 21 Home Star
    • Dean Fuller, Purchasing Advisor, NOF Metal Coatings
  • Matt Galemmo, Retired*
    • Nick Giardina, President, Advanced Accounting
    • Jay Giles, Kent State Geauga Adjunct Faculty, Economics; Retired, Middlefield Banking Company
    • Tracy Jemison, Past President, Geauga Growth Partnership
    • Bill Kermavner, Superintendent, Cardinal Local Schools
    • Richard Markwardt, Superintendent, West Geauga Schools
    • Jim McCaskey, President, McCaskey Landscape & Design
    • Jackie Preston Franck, Marketing and Customer Relations, Preston Superstore
  • Mary Samide, Retired*
  • John Stoddard, Superintendent, Berkshire Local Schools
  • Julie Szitas, Chief Nursing Officer, University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center
  • Sean Thompson, President, T Manfrass & Assoc. Architects
  • Ryan Wooley, Chief Technology Officer, Hawken Schools


Geauga News
Author: Geauga News