Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
While continuing to serve as a school treasurer, that’s about where the job similarities end for Tracy Hiller, new treasurer for Kenton City Schools.
“I’ll still be a Wildcat,” she said, noting Kenton and her former district, Vanlue, share the same nickname.
Two weeks into her new job in Kenton, Hiller knows “this will be quite different” from working at Vanlue, one of the smallest districts in the state.
“I got to be around students in my last district,” she said, including serving as a class advisor and quiz bowl advisor, not to mention occasionally running the cash register in the cafeteria. At other times she used her office to conduct trombone rehearsals for students preparing for the solo and ensemble contest.
“Students would walk by my office every day,” she said.
Hiller’s unlikely to see students in the KCS administration building at the former Oaklief school.
“That will be a strange change,” she admits, vowing to see students involved in various activities during the school year.
But Hiller said she was ready for a change.
“I needed a challenge,” she said, leaving a single building district for Kenton. Hiller cites the “vastness” of the Kenton district with its four elementary/kindergarten buildings, middle school and high school. Taking a tour of the district’s buildings is on her agenda as she settles into her new role.
Hiller, who lives just inside northern Hardin County with her husband, Dan, earned her bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Tiffin University. Over the course of 15 years she worked in various accounting and financial services jobs, before landing the treasurer’s post in Value in 2001.
She was encouraged to consider being a school treasurer by a fellow trombone player, the late Bill Butler, who was superintendent at Liberty-Benton Schools. Even though he had passed away before she interviewed at Vanlue, she still used his recommendation in her application process.
One plus of starting at a small district, Hiller said, was that she got to handle payroll and all other facets of the treasurer’s job.
“Maybe that’s one of the advantages I had” over other candidates seeking the Kenton job, she said. “I know how to do everything.”
Hiller nearly missed applying for the Kenton treasurer’s post. Her in-laws told her of the article in the Times that former treasurer Steve Ashba was retiring, but she didn’t see posting of the job on the usual school sites. Instead, she happened to see the job advertised in the classifieds section of the Findlay newspaper.
At Kenton she will have two assistants – Lisa Cochensparger and Misty Walters. Hiller said it is important to develop a good working relationship with others in the building. “This whole office needs to work as a team.”
One of her goals is to use less paper printing documents. While there always will be a need for a paper trail for auditing purposes, Hiller said they now make just one copy of a purchase order instead of the previous four. The rest of the process will be handled through computers.
She also will be working with the board and administration to understand what type of financial information they need and to pull it together for them.
Hiller said, “I feel it will take me a year to get things running comfortably.”
She also will be involved in paying the bills for the $30 million PreK-6 elementary building, but is confident her part will go smoothly. She said the state and construction manager will pretty much tell her when she needs to sign off on spending for the project.
The move to Kenton is a part of what Hiller describes as an “amazing journey” over the past four years. It began with her marriage to Dan Hiller and continued with her losing 130 pounds.
The weight loss, she said, has led to more self-confidence. Plus, Hiller said, she has interviewed for treasurer’s jobs several times over the past few years and when you weigh less, “people look at you differently.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is her love of music. She is an accomplished trombone player and performs with several Hancock County organizations. These include the Findlay Civic Band, a University of Findlay community band, Church Brass and Night Jazz, as well as the New Washington Town Band in Crawford County. She also rings hand bells and sings and the couple enjoy Western square dancing.
“Music is my stress reliever,” she said.
By TIM THOMAS