Friday, January 9, 2004

Michele Hummel was school leader

Madeira rated 'excellent'

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Michele Hummel
MADEIRA - Michele Hummel was twice honored as Ohio's top school superintendent at the same time she was battling breast cancer.

Mrs. Hummel was superintendent of Madeira Schools for eight years before retiring in July. She died Wednesday morning at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash. She was 49.

Mrs. Hummel, who was named Ohio PTA Superintendent of the Year in 2001 and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year in 2002, is credited with helping the 1,500-student district earn the state's top academic rating of "excellent" for six straight years.

But her positive impact on students and teachers in Madeira and Mariemont, where she was a principal for two elementary schools, was more important to her than any award, family members said.

Ohio Superintendent Susan Tave Zellman praised Hummel as "a wonderful human being and a great educator who cared very much about public education and was an inspiration to other female superintendents."

Mrs. Hummel had a family-first philosophy, said her husband, Michael.

Despite exhausting chemotherapy sessions that began with her diagnosis in 1999, she was determined to not only watch her daughter, Kristin, graduate from Madeira High School last spring, but hand the now Boston University freshman her diploma.

"Any time she got down she would talk about that. She would say 'I've got to be there,' " her husband said. "She had boundless energy."

"During her first year as Madeira superintendent she wanted to get to know each of the graduating seniors personally so she held a series of pizza lunches with groups of eight to 10 of them at a time all because she didn't want them to receive a diploma from a superintendent who did not know them," he said

Mrs. Hummel's death is the second of a top Madeira school official in less than three months. In October, Roger Slagle, 34, principal of Sellman Middle School, died of a heart attack.

"Obviously it's been a very emotional year for the Madeira school family," said Superintendent Stephen Kramer.

In addition to her husband and daughter, survivors include her parents, Patricia Wallace of Houston and Charles Wallace of Philadelphia; two brothers, Kevin Wallace and John Cunningham, both of Philadelphia, and a sister, Patricia Hodge of Houston.

A memorial service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8815 E. Kemper Road, Montgomery.

Memorials can be made to Madeira School Foundation at Madeira Schools, Attn: Barb Brewer, 7465 Loannes Drive, Madeira, Ohio 45243.


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