The community will gather to honor three outstanding, inspirational women as they are inducted Tuesday into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame.
The recognition banquet is set for 6 p.m. in the atrium at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro.
Dr. Lisa Barnhouse, Cathy Griffith, and Sue Frizzell Zint will join the nearly 100 other women in Highland County who have been inducted since 1981.
Following are the profiles of these women who are being recognized for their positive impact in the community.
Dr. Lisa Barnhouse
Dr. Lisa Barnhouse, Hillsboro, is the director of the Hopewell Center State Support Team for region 14, located in New Market.
While Barnhouse is a Wellston native, she has lived in Highland County for more than four decades. She’s a graduate of Ohio University and received her doctorate in school psychology from the University of Cincinnati.
In a letter of support in Barnhouse’s nomination packet, her achievements are outlined as: leadership in developing policies and procedures ensuring that kids with disabilities were included with regular education students, pioneering programs for preschool children with disabilities that served as a model for the state of Ohio, significant contributions to the development of the Regional Family and Children First Initiative for a five-county area, and tireless advocacy for meeting the needs of children with disabilities and ensuring their parents have a meaningful role in the development of an educational plan allowing their child to reach their full potential.
Former colleague Sandra Nartker wrote that when she met Barnhouse 36 years ago, she relied on her guidance in learning the rules and expectations of the Ohio Special Education Department. Nartker said that throughout her own career she “continued to rely on Lisa’s knowledge and expertise.”
“I know I am just one of the countless educators and students that have benefitted from Lisa’s knowledge, love, and compassion for special needs children,” Nartker wrote.
Melissa Smith, another former co-worker, described Barnhouse as a “tireless worker and advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities” who is “known for her compassion and ability to see all sides of a situation.”
“Dr. Barnhouse has championed all students, particularly special needs students, her entire career,” said co-worker Pamela Nickell, who added that Barnhouse “has never, and I do mean never, put herself forward for recognition. Rather she is masterful at getting other folks recognized.”
“She is a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities and has helped change the lives of many children and adults in the community,” wrote Warren County Career Center Superintendent Margaret Hess, who also worked with Barnhouse.
According to Hess, Barnhouse is “one of those rare people who do not want recognition and is always asking herself what she can do better. Lisa cares deeply for making a difference and asks so little in return.
“She has dedicated her life to making our schools and our community a better place with more opportunities for those who face challenges on a daily basis,” Hess stated. “She worked on behalf of those with cognitive, physical and/or emotional disabilities long before it was common.”
In a letter included in the nomination packet, which appears to be from an April Exceptional Achievement Awards Ceremony, it’s stated that in 2011, Barnhouse retired, but for the purposes of being rehired at a lower rate of pay, at her own request, to reduce costs at the Hopewell Center.
Barnhouse’s daughter, Samantha, also included a letter in her mother’s nomination for the hall of fame.
Her letter talks of a mother that gives 100 percent to everything and everyone but herself, and that Barnhouse’s idea of “me time” is spending time with those she loves.
She says her mother is “such a content person. Her sunny outlook is contagious, and she is the most peaceful soul I know.”
“Mom may be retiring,” Barnhouse’s daughter writes, “but she is somebody who can never be replaced. Nobody works this hard, or is as kind, or lives as gratefully as Lisa Barnhouse.”
Barnhouse and her husband, Sam, who is retired from the Hillsboro City Schools, have two children: Samantha and Will.
Cathy Griffith, Lynchburg, is the director of the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center (SOPC).
Nominator Karen Faust said Griffith “might be small in stature, but her contributions in the area of caring for the unborn and their parents are immeasurable.”
After high school, Griffith spent a number of years in Kentucky, where she received her education at Kentucky Christian University in Bible and Christian education.
Griffith stayed in Kentucky for many years, worked as a church secretary, wrote and directed several musical dramas, led young adult Bible study, became involved in Women for Life and the Bluegrass Christian Adoption Agency, and was a teacher at Lexington Christian High School for nearly a decade.
Also while in Kentucky, Griffith began writing teen curriculum for Standard Publishing, and in 1990 became a Vacation Bible School consultant for Standard, which allowed her to travel extensively throughout Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois conducting VBS workshops.
Faust writes that, “(Griffith) always challenged church leaders and VBS directors to ‘do VBS right’ with enthusiasm and with Jesus at the center.”
Griffith moved back to Lynchburg in 1992 and began a 15-year stint as an editor at Standard Publishing in Cincinnati.
She was director of Christian Education for 10 years in her home church, Pricetown Church of Christ, and served as director of VBS there. In 1993, she introduced the Wee Worship program at the church, which involves about 40 little ones between the ages of 2 and 7 each Sunday.
Griffith joined the SOPC Board of Directors in 1993, and in 2007 became executive director of the organization.
In 1999, while Griffith was board president, SOPC purchased a permanent site and the building has since become “a home and safe haven for young women and men experiencing unexpected pregnancies,” Faust wrote.
In Griffith’s more than 20 years of involvement with the center, she has raised awareness in the community of the ministry of SOPC, and has continued to challenge staff and board members “to strive for excellence as they served and to teach young mothers and fathers to care for and love their newborn babies,” Faust said.
Griffith has been instrumental in continuing programs within SOPC, sometimes even without the funding. One example is an abstinence program begun in 2007. When funds were cut four years later, Griffith encouraged the board to “step out in faith” and continue the program without the grant funding. Today, an abstinence coordinator teaches a 33-week curriculum to students in all five Highland County school districts and the Highland County Christian School, Faust said. An average of 2,000 students each year are served through the program, completely funded by SOPC.
SOPC is referred clients by Job and Family Services for parenting programs. Griffith has also formed a partnership with the juvenile court system and Highland County Children Services, with both agencies referring clients to services provided by SOPC.
Griffith helps lead several programs within the SOPC agency, which not only provides clients with parenting guidance, but also spiritual guidance.
It is under Griffith’s leadership that SOPC’s two major fundraisers, the Walk for Life and the annual fundraising banquet, have been revamped and now bring in double the funds for the organization to continue its efforts in the community.
“As a teacher, administrator, editor, and consultant, Cathy has influenced tens of thousands of teachers, students, young mothers and fathers, board members, and church staff,” Faust wrote.
Described as “a tireless leader,” Faust wrote that in Griffith’s position, she has “positively affected thousands of young men and women in Highland County” and the surrounding area.
Faust states that Griffith’s most important job is being a mom and grandma. She raised a niece and helped her parents raise a niece and nephew. She has two grandchildren, Alex and Melody.
Faust added that Griffith, in her spare time, “is an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan and is also one of the last living people on earth who still drinks Tab.”
Sue Frizzell Zint
Sue Frizzell Zint, of Greenfield, was the first female principal at Greenfield Elementary and the first female superintendent of the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.
“Sue is a powerful role model for modern women and a trailblazer who has demonstrated excellence,” wrote longtime friend Ann Pence in Zint’s nomination.
A 1964 McClain graduate, Zint went on to college in New York, then to Bowling Green State University where she received her degree in elementary education.
She began teaching in Columbus and in 1973 returned to Greenfield, where she started teaching three years later. In 1985, she received her master’s degree in educational administration from The Ohio State University. In 1987, Zint became principal of Greenfield Elementary. She was superintendent of Greenfield schools for three year, retiring in 2005.
Zint’s efforts to preserve history in the Greenfield area include the restoration of both the DT&I Railroad Depot and the Smith Tannery, as well as the placement of the Travelers Rest and the Smith Tannery on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was in her role as teacher and educational administrator that Zint saw beyond the educational needs of the students and found ways to help provide food, shoes, clothing, and toys to needy students.
In 1988, Zint began a Secret Santa program, with the help of former husband Jim Vanzant, as a way to help those students. It all started with one family that first year, Pence said, but since then, “Sue’s Secret Santa program has continued to expand.”
Zint played an integral part in bringing the Imagination Kingdom playground on Fifth Street to life, which remains for the enjoyment of children more than 20 years later.
Zint and her husband, Mike, are both now retired and spend part of the year in Florida. They enjoy traveling, playing golf, and entertaining. Zint has two children, two stepchildren, and six grandchildren.
With all of Zint’s accomplishments and efforts that have touched the lives of students and others in the community, it is her role as mother that she refers to “as the most important and heartwarming task in her life,” Pence wrote.
“Highland County is a better place today,” Pence said, “because of Sue Frizzell Zint and her lifelong passion for education, students, and her community.”
Pence wrote that Zint calls her years in education “extremely rewarding,” adding that she would not trade those 35 years for anything.
Plaques bearing the name of all inductees over the last 34 years hang in the first-floor hallway of the Highland County Courthouse in Hillsboro.
Tickets for Tuesday’s banquet are $16 and are available at The Times-Gazette, Southern Hills Community Bank in Leesburg, Home Savings and Loan in Lynchburg, Community Savings Bank in Greenfield, and from committee members.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.