This month’s parent in profile Adam Fineske, Sylvania Schools superintendent, shares his love for education.
Adam Fineske, superintendent of Sylvania Schools and father to three school-aged children in the district, confesses that he’s living his dream. “I feel lucky to have this opportunity; this is truly my dream job,” explains Fineske. “I plan to be [in Sylvania] a long time. We just built our dream home here and we don’t want to go anywhere. I couldn’t imagine wanting anything more.” He adds jokingly, “At 41, I have a lot of time left!”
Living and working in the same district may have its challenges, but Fineske focuses on the positives. “You’re so on the radar—everyone is watching—but I wholeheartedly believe being embedded in the community where I work and live is important. It’s a huge strength to be engulfed in the Sylvania culture that makes this such a great place to live.”
Both of Fineske’s parents were elementary school teachers, and he discloses, “All I knew was education. Education was #1 in our home. No matter what you did, you did well in school. My parents, especially my mom, was an unbelievable educator with Toledo Public Schools…and she was so actively involved with her kids, in and outside of the classroom.”
His parents dedication to education inspired the same in Fineske as a child. “When I was in third grade, I started a school in our basement,” Fineske reminisces. “I called it the Red/Green School, and I used a stoplight as the logo. Every kid in the neighborhood, probably about 15 kids…came to my school that summer.”
“For 5 summers, until I was in 8th grade, I helped kids struggling in certain subjects. Later those parents and kids said how much of a difference I made,” he recalls. “I did well in school and just wanted to help kids. That’s why I’m an educator: helping kids and the community.”
Fineske’s three kids all attend Sylvania schools: Elizabeth (15) is a sophomore at Northview, Andrew (12) is a seventh grader at McCord, and Nicholas (8) is a third grader at Highland Elementary. His advice to parents is simple: “Get involved as much as possible and make education a top priority at home and with everything you do with your kids. That’s what my parents did.”
“Our schools are open environments,” Fineske asserts. “Teachers crave parental involvement, so don’t ever feel like you’re doing too much. The more you’re active with your child’s education, the more your child will see that and [realize that] school is important. In today’s day and age, parent/teacher communication is number one, and our teachers are available and responsive to parents.”
Fineske has been in education for 19 years, and much of that time was spent working alongside and with teachers. He perceives education from all angles: as a parent, a teacher, and an administrator.
Fineske began his educational career as a third grade teacher, and then as an intervention specialist, before moving to administration. He worked as Assistant Principal in Sylvania at Arbor Hills and Principal at Hillview before moving to the Central Office as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Fineske’s hard work and dedication eventually led him to become Assistant Superintendent and finally Superintendent.
What’s your favorite activity to do with your family?
To go on vacation—two every year: spring break with family in Florida and something fun in the summer. This summer we’re going to D.C..
Best holiday memory from when you were a kid?
I got a Cleveland Browns starter jacket one year. I’m a huge Browns fan.
What’s your go-to activity when you have a few minutes to yourself?
Exercise. A good run or a bike ride truly energizes me.
Describe your life in five words or less.
Non-stop, busy, fortunate, thankful. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is your favorite Sylvania hangout?
Mayberry Square. We go there for breakfast, pizza, ice cream, Mexican.
Describe Sylvania in a sentence.
Sylvania is a thriving community based on strong family values, amazing business support, and a strong belief in education.