Barb Giller, education advocate, honored

Barbara Giller grew up in Shelby, Ohio, but she says she is most definitively “a Bexley person” —and her volunteer record bears this out. Mrs. Giller served on the Bexley Board of Education from 1990 to 2001. In 2002 she joined the BEF Board of Governors and served until 2011. (Her husband, Gary chaired the BEF Board from 1997-1999).  Following her retirement from the BEF Board, she joined the BEF Advisory Council and last year stepped up to chair the council. She also currently serves on the Bexley Tree Commission.

It was in recognition of her long record of service to the Bexley Schools that Mrs. Giller was honored last month as the third recipient of the Linda S. Kass Excellence in Education Award. The award honors a current or past Bexley community member who has demonstrated exemplary support and service to the Bexley Education Foundation. The first honoree, in 2013, was Kass herself; the second recipient was former BEF Board Chair Bob Darwin, who was honored posthumously.

Mrs. Giller said it was “more than flattering” to be the recipient of an award named for BEF’s founding board member and former chair. Giller served on the Bexley Board of Education with Kass in the 1990s. “To have an award named for Linda Kass is really meaningful to me,” she said. “She’s an exemplary person.”

Current BEF Board Chair Megan Walker said Mrs. Giller is equally exemplary. In presenting the award at the School District’s annual Education Appreciation Banquet, Walker described the many ways Barb Giller and her husband Gary have supported the BEF and the Bexley schools over the past three decades, volunteering, leading and donating to numerous projects and initiatives.

Mrs. Giller was the one who first encouraged Mrs. Walker to get involved with the BEF, by asking her to participate in the Educator of the Year Committee. That was nearly two decades ago. “I continue to learn from her and value her experience, wisdom and insights,” said Walker.

All three of the Giller children graduated from Bexley and five of her eight grandchildren currently attend the Bexley City Schools–so it is natural, said Mrs. Giller that she would want to contribute. “I just think that education opens all kinds of doors for everybody of all abilities,” she said. “It’s the greatest gift you can give your kids.”