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Thursday, April 2, 1987


PIX #1 - J.M. Reed - Superintendent. He received his B.S. in Education in 1923; his B.A. degree in 1925; his M.A. in 1931; his D.Ped in 1944...all at Ohio Northern University. For his dissertation, Reed prepared a paper on the Fostoria Public Schools.

PIX #2 - Ralph D. McCambridge - Superintendent. He was a graduate of Ohio University, where he obtained his Bachelor Degree. His Master's Degree was earned at Ohio State. He was a teacher and coach at Lancaster; principal at London; superintendent at Willard, before coming to Fostoria, where he was superintendent from 1962-79. During his tenure, the new high school came into existence.

PIX #3 - Miss McDermott - Principal. She served as teacher and principal at Fostoria High School for 33 years, an all-time record. Revered and loved by students, adults and all who knew her, she continued to live in Fostoria after retirement, residing across from the High School on High Street.

PIX #4 - Paul H. Cramer, Jr. - Superintendent of Fostoria City Schools from January 1, 1980 - July 31, 1984. Was assistant superintendent from August 1977, to Dec. 31, 1980. Previously served as superintendent of Bluffton Exempted Village Schools, Bluffton; high school principal of Ada Exempted Village Schools, Ada; and executive headd of Huntsville Local School District in Huntsville. Received his B.S. Degree from Ohio Northern University; Master's Degree in Education from Bowling Green State University, with a major in School Administration. Did post graduate work at University of Dayton and Bowling Green State University.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third and last in the series about Fostoria schools...that is if all of today's material can be contained, otherwise it will be continued as part of next week's feature. I am sure there will be more to be said on the subject in the weeks ahead.


It is my hunch that a recent Potluck article about the Fostoria Public School system, most specifically Emerson Junior High, was responsible for a telephone call from Larry Smith, principal of that somewhat "famous" building revered by many Fostoria residents who received much of their education there.

Smith invited me to visit with him to see what goes on there, I accepted and was favorably impressed with Smith as an administrator, and what I saw and heard.

I saw some of Emerson's 480 students as they moved from one class to another in orderly fashion, making far less commotion than expected.


I met some of the 28 full-time teachers (with some assistants) who are charged with the responsibilities of exposing and drilling those young people in English, Math (pre-algebra and algebra), science, health, industrial arts, home economics, reading, art, Ohio history, American history, geography, band and choir.

I saw a whole battery of computers which hopefully the students will someday master. I find nothing wrong with that if the students know how to multiply, divide, add, and the multiplication tables which my generation grew up with and use without cost.

Some parts of the Emerson building looked familiar while other parts seemed strange. The large room that was "our" senior study hall stands vacant, awaiting the report which will disclose if the building is worth repairing and safe for continued use.

I believe Smith realizes that the majority of Fostoria residents will not support (verbally or financially) the demolition of Emerson first because they believe it is safe, or can be made safe and, secondly, the populace will not support the tremendous cost for a new building at this time because of economic conditions.

Larry Smith has been principal of Emerson for four years and prior to that two years as assistant principal. Bill Hanna is currently assistant principal. R. "Cobby" Coburn is guidance counselor for junior high and elementary grades.

I really appreciated Smith's invitation to tour Emerson and for the opportunity to talk with him about various aspects of our school system.


A letter from J.M. Reed, former principal of Fostoria High School in 1929-30, followed by a term as superintendent 1930-37, proved interesting, in addition to data about his university preparation for his chosen profession:

"Always glad to receive letters from where I have served as superintendent of schools".

"Oh, the days gone by. So many things have happened to you and I. So, it doesn't behoove any of us to talk too much about the rest of us; Those were golden days, when we were young and gay; eager to find the right way; to solve our problems and say - Thank God in the Heaven above for His goodness, mercy, and love".

"I shall always remember the many happy days I enjoyed as Superintendent of Schools in Fostoria".

"I have written 15 publications while at Fostoria, Lima, and Danville, Ill., and am sending you my three recent publications".


One of those publications was In the Beginning, a story of the first ten years of The Ohio State University at Lima and Lima Technical College, in which Dr. J. McLean Reed played a great part.

Another of the books was You Can Get There From Here, composed of memories of Reed, the city school and college administrator for fifty-five years.

A "gem" remark I read in Reed's book You Can Get There From Here was a "pay as you go" policy, a practice he adopted in Lima and followed in his many years as a superintendent. That policy, according to Reed, eliminated unnecessary spending.

The other book he sent was titled The Lighter Side of Human Behavior, a compilation of 225 choice one-liners from 13 categories, humorous anecdotes, and poetic pearls.

All three of the books will be turned over to Fostoria Kaubisch Library, making it possible for old friends and others to have the opportunity to read them, too.


Reed's postscript in his letter to the author of Potluck was a "gem". While in Fostoria, Mary Chamberlain, my secretary, was 30 years older than me at 30 years of age, with a fiery temper and a quick tongue to criticize. Mary proposed a toast, "Both of us have quick tempers, The first who becomes angry, the other remains silent until calm prevails". That solved our problems.

In Reed's postscript he only mentioned "Mary" but I knew who Mary was, and knew that many readers would appreciate my insert.

Reed can be reached at The Ohio State University at Lima, 4240 Campus Drive, Lima, OH 45804.


In preparing this series, it came to my attention three superintendents, at retirement from the school system, chose to sell insurance and other types of financial investments.

The first one attracted to that avocation was F.H. Warren, making a successful career of it for many years. Warren was a good mixer, with a sense of humor and wit, which made him poplar. He was also an excellent adult Sunday School teacher.

The others to follow in Warren's footsteps were Ralph D. McCambridge and Paul H. Cramer Jr., no longer a resident of Fostoria.

McCambridge told me he enjoys that field, especially in reaching those who have retired since it provides an opportunity to be of service to those who need advice and direction in safe-guarding their savings in their later life.

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