Robin Comfort, who served on Upper Arlington school board for nearly 12 years before her death in July, posthumously received the state school board association's highest honor.

Comfort was recognized Nov. 10 as a 2019 All-Ohio School Board member by the Ohio School Boards Association.

As the representative of Ohio's Central Region, Comfort was one of five public school board members in the state to receive the honor.

The award recognizes "outstanding service to public education and represents the dedication shown by thousands of board members across the state," according to the OSBA.

"Comfort was involved in the (Upper Arlington school) district's facilities master plan to renovate and rebuild six buildings and served on several committees," an OSBA press release stated.

"Under her leadership, the board approved a long-term, financially sensible master plan for our aging schools," her colleagues wrote in nominating her.

"This plan also enables our community to ensure future generations of students will benefit from modern learning environments and educational experiences designed to prepare them for their futures."

Comfort was serving her third consecutive term on the school board when she died July 8, two days before her 64th birthday, after a recurrence of breast cancer.

Upper Arlington Schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff called Comfort a "consummate school board member" who was passionate about education and "provided incredible vision for our district."

In addition to her work on the board, Imhoff noted, Comfort volunteered for the Upper Arlington Education Foundation and in district schools.

"She understood the magic that happens in our schools and always did everything she could to support our students and staff," Imhoff said.

During her time on the board, Imhoff said, Comfort was key to the facilities master planning process that identified $230 million in upgrades needs at the high school and the district's five elementary buildings.

He said she and her colleagues on the board believed the plan should be a community-driven process, and through their leadership the district was able to include "thousands" of voices in the process.

Imhoff also called Comfort "a driving force behind our district's belief that 'All Means All.' " The philosophy has been developed into an initiative to make sure students from all backgrounds, ethnicities and learning levels are treated equally and given all available tools and strategies to learn and succeed.

"She challenged us to face difficult topics and work to ensure that all of our students and staff would feel welcomed, valued and loved within our schools," Imhoff said. "It's really the most basic and most important role of education in a child's life, and Robin always kept that top of mind for us.

"A timely example is the 'America to Me' screening and discussion series we are hosting this year. It's a 10-part documentary series that delves into the effects of race, equity, culture and privilege on educational opportunities. Once Robin learned about the series and how it had prompted important discussions in other communities across the country, she was intent on bringing it to Upper Arlington."

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