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Charles Klass named Mayfield City School District 'Citizen of the Year.'
Charles Klass named Mayfield City School District 'Citizen of the Year.'

Part of what makes the Mayfield Schools so successful is the involvement, commitment and volunteer effort by so many of our district residents. If you live in the Mayfield district it makes good sense to support the schools – it’s our collective investment.

But if you don’t live here and you still volunteer your time, energy and talent for well over a decade to support the students, staff and programs of Mayfield City Schools – well that makes you the very first Citizen of the Year since the honor began in 1977 who does not live within the Mayfield City School District. He lives in Solon and yet Charles Klass has volunteered countless hours over the last 15+ plus years to support us….our Mayfield Family.

We’ve all been to the Mayfield Art Show at Hillcrest Hospital, the Fall Festival at the Horticulture Center, The Science Showcase at Mayfield High School and formerly at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, Excel TECC Mock Interviews, the Groundhog Day Breakfast, the Green Tie Gala, the 18 Fore Education Golf Outing which has raised more than $100,000 to support Mayfield programs. None of these events and programs are required. There are no state mandates for community partnerships. But these are some of the programs and events that bind Mayfield together, that create that sense of Mayfield Family and were made possible through the Mayfield Alliance of which Mr. Charles Klass has served as President for the last 15 years.

If you ask Charles why he has volunteered so much of his free time for our Mayfield Schools, he will humbly smile and in his South African accent will say, “Aww, well, because it’s important.”

And Charles Klass you have become important to us.

Greg Costabile, who served as a trustee with Charles on the Mayfield Alliance and a past Mayor of Mayfield Heights said, “Charles’ surname is fitting as he is the epitome of class. There are only a handful of people that you could poll a number of individuals about and all will have the same conclusion. This is the case with Charles. I have yet to meet a person who after meeting and/or working with Charles does not come away with a favorable opinion of him and a story as to how he has reached out to assist when called upon to help others. The entire Mayfield and Hillcrest area is a better place to live, work, and play because of the efforts of Charles Klass. I am sure he will try and encourage the committee that there are others more deserving than he of this prestigious award, because that’s Charles. Stay strong Committee, as Charles Klass is the absolute right person to be named Citizen of the Year.

Born in South Africa, Charles moved to the United States in 1988. Eventually he and his family settled in northeast Ohio where he began his long and successful career at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights where he serves as the Executive Vice President. How lucky we are that Charles dug the roots of his career in Mayfield Heights. How fortunate we are that he is the kind of executive leader who understands the importance of public education, innovation and community partnerships no matter where you live.

Over the last year, the Mayfield Alliance, under the leadership of Charles and the Mayfield Wildcat Foundation merged to form one organization – the Wildcat Community Foundation. Just last week, our Solon neighbor agreed to volunteer and serve as a member of the new organization to continue to advance the vision, innovation and growth for our Mayfield students.

Says Marybeth Mack of Hillcrest Hospital who served with Charles on The Alliance, “I have known Charles for many years and consider him not only to be a true gentleman but an outstanding civic leader. Under his leadership, The Alliance aligned with the mission of the Mayfield Schools and worked very successfully to support their STEM2M Program. Charles inspires people to work together, to think creatively and to set high goals. He is respectful of others opinions yet has the ability as a strategic planner to guide people towards a goal. Great leaders’ exhibit boundless energy and passion for what they do and Charles always demonstrated his strong commitment and dedication to the organization and Mayfield Schools.”

Besides the impact Charles has made in the Mayfield City Schools, he is a successful business leader for our Cleveland region. Charles has been active in the entire Northeast Ohio community for over two decades. He has served as a member of ILEA (International Live Event Association), Destination Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and many local community associations and boards. He has also spoken internationally at the Catersource convention, which is the largest international association in the catering and event business.

Says School Board member George Hughes who served on The Alliance, “We owe a lot to him for his hard work to make the merger of the organizations happen. I thank him for his many years with the Mayfield Alliance working in many capacities to benefit our students and schools.”

In the movie “It’s A wonderful life, George Bailey questions if his life makes a difference for those around him. That is a question Charles Klass could never ask because his reach extends to all of us and to our kids for the last 15 years. Charles Klass… you really are our George Bailey.

So, on behalf of the Mayfield City Schools we name you, Charles Klass, our 2017 Citizens of the Year. We are grateful for you - grateful for your dedication to education, our Mayfield community and our Mayfield Wildcats.

Congratulations Charles and thank you for all you have given to your “Mayfield Family.”