Museum Staff

Museum Administrator
Steve Gordon

Rita Bodwell

About Rita

Rita Bodwell retired from Indiana public schools after almost 33 years of service. During her tenure she served in several capacities, including 28 years as the Executive Secretary to the principal. Her interests include Miami ILR, McGuffey Museum history, gardening, reading and traveling around the world with her husband. An Indiana resident, Rita's family includes two daughters, two son-in-laws and four grandchildren.

Docent Chair
John Clover

About John

John Clover is a retired local educator who brings his love of nature and community involvement to the McGuffey House and Museum. John taught elementary grades 4 & 5 at Lincoln Heights Elementary School, and later became a guidance counselor at Talawanda High School, where he retired as Head of the Guidance Office. He also served as the YMCA Camp Director at Camp Campbell Gard, where he developed their Environmental Education Program and ran the summer camp program. For more than 40 years, he has been part of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity.

Mary Jane Roberts

John Clover outside house

John Clover, chair of McGuffey House and Museum docents, holds three degrees from Miami (Classes of 1970, 1974, 1990). Recently, he and Steve Gordon enjoyed a full day visiting historic house museums, churches and cemeteries in Lancaster, Ohio, John's hometown. Here is John standing in front of his boyhood home on E. Fifth St. in Lancaster.

John Clover, in his own words

John Clover and his dog Tarzan

John Clover and Tarzan

I grew up in Lancaster, Ohio and attended public schools in Lancaster.

I was named for my uncle, John Fenwick Ewing. Uncle Jack was the great grandson of Thomas Ewing. Thomas Ewing was one of the first two graduates of Ohio University. After studying law in Lancaster, he had a long and quite illustrious career. He was in the Ohio Senate, the United States Senate, served as a Secretary of the Treasury, and became the first Secretary of the Interior in the Tyler administration. When in Washington the family lived in the Blair House.

During the Civil War he was an advisor for Lincoln. His three sons all became Civil War Generals. Possibly his greatest contribution to the Civil War, however, was through his foster son and later his son-in-law, William Tecumseh Sherman.

In 1966 I enrolled as a freshman at Miami University, graduating in 1970 with a BS in Elementary Education. I subsequently completed a MEd in counseling in 1974 and a PhD in school administration in 1990. All three degrees were from Miami. While at MU my primary outside activities were with the Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity, now coed; and The Miami Men’s Glee Club, where I held several offices including president my senior year.

After graduation, I taught fourth and fifth grades at the Lincoln Heights Elementary school in the Princeton District. In 1973 I left Lincoln Heights to become the resident Camp Director and later Camp Director of Camp Campbell Gard. While at Camp Gard I created their Environmental Education program. My next move was back to Oxford while I worked on my PhD. During that time, I became a guidance counselor at Talawanda High School, eventually directing that program.

In 1978 Dr. Ken McDiffett asked me if I would become an advisor with the A Phi O chapter. That continues to this day. The duties of the advisors are to allow them to succeed and allow them to fail (greater learning comes from the latter), and stay out of their way. The chapter belongs to the active members, not the advisors.

I have also remained active with the Men’s Glee Club by being a founding member of the Club’s Advisory Board.

My greatest joy comes from working with students, through the A Phi O chapter, Men’s Glee Club and our church’s host family program. Student work helps me to maintain a younger outlook on life and on those around me.

October 2020

Student Aides

Alex Gregory

About Alex

Alex Gregory is a double major in English Literature and History with a double minor in Archaeology and Museum Studies. She grew up in Liberty Twp., Ohio and plans on furthering her education by attending grad school and studying history. This past summer she studied abroad in London with an internship at the Ragged School Museum.

Katie Staffiera

About Katie

Katie Staffiera is a sophomore Middle Childhood Education and Spanish double major from Cincinnati, Ohio. When she isn’t in class or studying, Katie can be found reading, spending time with her friends around campus, or dancing in Phillips Hall with the Dance Theatre program. She is also a member of Miami’s Urban Cohort program, which collaborates with high-need schools and community-based organizations to prepare teachers who are grounded in the life of the community. Katie is so excited to be working in the McGuffey Museum and to get the chance to share her love of history and education with everyone!