State District of Character


Ohio Partners in Character Education and the Ohio Better Business Bureau have seleced Orrville City Schools as a 2013 Ohio District of Character for its commitment to implementing a quality character education initiative and helping develop good character in Ohio’s youth.

The state designation is awarded for three years, and the district’s application is now forwarded to the Character Education Partnership (CEP) in Washington, D.C. for consideration in the National Schools of Character program.

“We have such a unique situation in Orrville when it comes to character education,” said Beverly Waseman, Orrville Elementary School principal and chairperson of the Heartland Character Education Committee. “The Heartland Education Community, Inc. and the schools work together to make character a high priority in the schools and in the community. We’ve been doing this for such a long time; our biggest concern was how to condense all of our information into the application.”

Maribeth Badertscher, chair of the Heartland Education Community, Inc., said that receiving the state designation is a meaningful accomplishment. “The Ohio District of Character designation is a great honor, and we are proud that Orrville school administrators worked together to put forth the application as a district versus individual schools. It reinforces the collaboration that is a hallmark of the Heartland mission.”

A six-person subcommittee spent many hours completing the application and gathering supporting evidence that Orrville schools address the 11 Principles of Character Education as defined by CEP. The subcommittee members were Marlene Baldwin, Jenny Smucker, Linda Tibbitts, Sandy Troyer, Cindy Summers and Waseman.  

Orrville Superintendent Jon Ritchie feels that the Ohio District of Character designation confirms what he has always known about the Orrville district. “We have great kids here who truly exemplify the character words of the month. We also are fortunate to have educators who care about the character of our students and who are committed to incorporating character into the curriculum.”

The Heartland Education Community, Inc. was founded in 1991 as a coalition of volunteer community members dedicated to exploring ways to leverage the talent and resources of the community for the betterment of education. The goal of Heartland is to shift the focus from school to education and shift the responsibility from school to community.

To learn more about the Character Education Partnership and the State School (District) of Character designation, visit