A former Springboro High School Teacher made an unprecedented donation that will have a lasting impact on the students of Springboro for many years. Patricia (“Patty”) McCandless, an English Teacher at Clearcreek High School (what is now known as Springboro High School) from 1961-1968, left her entire estate to Springboro High School after her passing in 2018.
The estate for Ms. McCandless, which totals $471,644.01 and was just received by the district, will be used over the course of many years towards scholarships, and other potential student needs, for students in grades 9-12 at Springboro High School, as per Ms. McCandless’ wish. A committee will be assembled this summer, comprised of administration, staff, community members, and friends of Ms. McCandless, in order to best determine how these funds will be distributed over the course of the next several decades. This committee will look to best capture the interests and wishes of Ms. McCandless, while also honoring the extreme generosity from the former English Teacher.
Patricia McCandless was hired by Clearcreek Local Schools’ (what is now Springboro Schools) Superintendent Ray Perez in 1961, after having received her BS in Education from Miami University (Oxford, OH). Mr. Perez was Patty’s 6th grade teacher at Anthony Wayne Elementary (Franklin City Schools), as well as her Senior homeroom teacher at Franklin High School, where Ms. McCandless graduated from in 1957. Ms. McCandless resigned from Clearcreek High School in 1968, in order to attend Indiana University, where she earned her Master’s in Library Science (’70). As stated in Ms. McCandless’ resignation letter to the Clearcreek Board of Education, “…upon completion of my degree, I plan to work in a college library rather than return to public schools.” According to records, and conversations with friends, Ms. McCandless never returned to Springboro.
“We’ve been asking ourselves, ‘Why? Why Springboro High School?’” said Scott Marshall, District Communications Coordinator for Springboro Schools. “Through various conversations with some close friends of Patty’s, who were grade school and high school classmates, the consensus seems to be former Superintendent Ray Perez as the reason Patty donated her estate to SHS. Mr. Perez was a teacher and advisor of Patty’s in Franklin who made an impact on Ms. McCandless, and then ultimately gave Patty her start in the field of education by hiring her right out of college at Clearcreek High School.” At Franklin High School, Patty was a member of the “Future Teachers of America (FTA)” club during her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years, which Ray Perez served as the advisor. Scott Marshall continued, “While never stated by Ms. McCandless, that we could find, it’s the opinion of friends close to Patty that Ray Perez giving Ms. McCandless her start at Clearcreek High School was the reason for Patty’s gracious donation to SHS all these years later. You couldn’t ask for a better example of paying it forward.”
In 1970, Patty, who was voted Franklin High School’s Class of 1957’s “Most Likely to Succeed,” set forth her goal of working at a college library when she started a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Documents Bibliographer. Ms. McCandless spent the next twenty (20) years there serving as the Automated Circulation System Coordinator, Assistant to the Director of Public Services, and the Applied Life Sciences Librarian. In 1990, Patty left to take a position at the Ohio State University Libraries, serving as the Assistant Director of OSU Libraries until her retirement in 2005.
“(Patty) was perhaps the kindest and most patient person I have ever known,” said Daniel Burgard University Librarian and Vice Provost for Scholarly Information Management at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. While Mr. Burgard was an undergrad student at the University of Illinois, he worked with Ms. McCandless. Patty also served as a mentor for Daniel throughout the 1990s, while Mr. Burgard began his career as a librarian. “She really opened my eyes that being a librarian was a great career option,” the President of the Texas Library Association continued. “…we had great discussions about professionalism and the role of libraries in an academic (setting). Those discussions really were the icing on the cake of my formal education, and I know they helped me get to where I am at today.”
Scott Marshall said, “A lot of research has been done, in order to learn more about Ms. McCandless. In speaking with several close friends of Patty’s, and her colleagues from the University of Illinois and Ohio State, one word has been brought up by every single person to describe Ms. McCandless, ‘Kind.’ Throughout Patty’s life, she impacted many individuals with her hard work, intelligence, and her patience. It’s beyond impressive that Ms. McCandless will continue to impact the students of Springboro for decades to come, by giving back to a district that helped pave the way for a wonderful human being. In a word, Ms. McCandless is inspiring.”
Springboro Schools would like to acknowledge and thank Skye Arseneau (University of Illinois), Daniel Burgard, Raimund Goerler (Ohio State University), Jim Mears (FHS Class of ’57, Former Mayor of Franklin, OH), and Sharon Smith (FHS Class of ’57) for sharing their memories of Patty McCandless.