PSF History

History of the Pettisville School Foundation

Receipt of the $111,000 Meister gift to the board of education in 1982 planted the seed of thought that others might like to donate to the Pettisville Local School and that an organization to encourage such contributions might be worthwhile. 

After researching the concept, Stephen Switzer, Pettisville School Superintendent, assembled a group of interested individuals to consider forming an educational foundation. Individuals included Gary Frazier, Steve Graffice, Myrl Sauder, Rod Nofziger, Valetta Werder, Jan Stamm, Golda Boyer, and Mr. Switzer.

In November, 1986, a press conference was held in the high school library announcing the formation of the “Pettisville School Foundation” and receipt of a $1,000 gift from Henry Keller, the first gift to the PSF, and a $10,000 gift from Valetta Werder, fifth grade teacher at Pettisville, to endow the “Richard Werder Memorial Scholarship” in memory of her husband. 


The foundation organization included a board of trustees, with two trustees appointed by the board of education and seven elected by the membership.  Founding trustees include Chris Rychener, President;  Luana Esterline, Vice President,  Valetta Werder, Secretary-Treasurer; Golda Boyer, Gary Frazier, Steve Graffice, Rod Nofziger, Myrl Sauder, and Ruth Wyse.  Superintendent Switzer was appointed executive director.  PHS grads attorney Jan Stamm and accountant Dave Rupp agreed to assist in legal and accounting areas. At the time of its founding, the PSF was one of the first local school foundations in the state. Since that time, the PSF has provided assistance in the creation of numerous area school foundations.

Charter Memberships

The foundation board determined that the best way to involve the community in the PSF was to operate on a membership basis.  It was decided to create two-year memberships, at a rate of $10 per individual and $25 per business.  The charter membership drive netted 566 individual members and 66 corporate members, for a total charter membership of 629.  The total raised by the first drive was $10,100. (Membership fees increased to $25 per individual and $50 per business)


The PSF has supported the school and community in various ways including a Scholarship Program and an Initiative Grant Program. As of 2021, PSF now offers eight different scholarships and has disbursed over $100,000 to over 120 PHS graduates.

Articles of Incorporation approved by Ohio 11/4/1986      -     IRS determination Tax Deductible: 501 (c ) (3)  - 10/20/1988

Capital Drive I   1993-95 

The PSF conducted a school-community partnership probably unmatched in Ohio educational history.

The building addition included:

Toledo Blade article

With spoons instead of shovels, and with private fund instead of public money, one of the smallest school districts in the state has launched a big construction project.  Students in the Pettisville Local School District lined up to take turns turning spoonfuls of dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for a 1.8 million dollar addition to the school.

...No school officials, local dignitaries, or other adults spoke during the ceremony.  Only students.  And only the 491 students broke ground with their white plastic spoons...

The ceremony format was selected because the project is for the students and they will be the chief beneficiaries.   

Toledo Blade, September 30, 1993 by Janet Romaker. 

Capital Drive II   2009-12 

The second capital drive constructed a $1,000,000+ Atrium joining the new 2011 Pettisville School with the 1994 PSF addition to the original school. 

Atrium highlights include:

Atrium is 2,055 Square Feet     -     West Vestibule  is 83 Square Feet     -     Second Floor Walkway is 704 Square Feet


Heritage Park :

Next 30 Campaign

In 2016 and 2017, the “Next 30” campaign celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the foundation.  The focus was to increase the $130,000 endowment of the foundation.  

1) The Foundation commissioned two ceramic murals for display in the Atrium created by Mark and Joyce Nafziger. The first mural includes various school scenes from across the years. The second mural, to be unveiled in 2018, will feature school buildings that have housed students in the Pettisville and Tedrow areas through the years.

2) The second component is a membership and fund raising drive.  The goal was to double the $130,000 endowment fund and re-create the 1986 charter member plaque, in which 671 individuals and companies originally joined the PSF.

Anniversary Ceremony

As part of the anniversary celebration on November 14, 2017, all individuals who had served as trustees to the PSF were recognized and presented a token of appreciation. 26 of the 32 living trustees were able to attend.  

Mrs. Golda Boyer, Mrs. Valetta Werder, and Miss Ruth Wyse, all founding trustees, have passed away.  

Twenty-year awards went to Carma Rupp of Penrod and George (20 years) for serving as accountant and Dan Sauder (20), Neil Rupp (26), and Dave Grieser (28) as trustees. 

Thirty-year awards went to Dave Rupp (31), accountant; Jan Stamm (31), legal counsel, and Steve Switzer (31), executive director.

1987 Lariat page on left. The 1988 Lariat items on right are of an attendance incentive program, initiated by Mrs. Mona Sauder and Mrs. Shirley Short, funded by Teacher Grants from PSF.

Download PDFs of Pettisville School Foundation's documents: