Dear Gahanna-Jefferson Friends and Neighbors,
To keep our school district moving forward, I ask for your vote this November for re-election on the Gahanna-Jefferson School Board. Gahanna is a great place to live, raise a family, and grow a business! In fact, Realtor.com just named Gahanna the #1 housing market in the nation!
I have been honored the past eight years to meet many of you and listen to your concerns for our schools. It has only increased my passion for a quality education for our children and deepened my understanding of our community.
The last four years, we have accomplished a lot to further my key priorities:
During my tenure on the school board, we have presented many challenges for the district. Navigating these challenges has given me the knowledge to continue supporting the district in the coming years. In the last four years, the Board and I have:
Navigated a safe school experience during COVID pandemic.
Instituted fiscal procedures that drive decision-making and added a finance committee to have open, public dialogue about district finances.
Passed a bond levy to address overcrowding during a pandemic thanks to the trust of our voters. This timing was fortuitous, as the announcement of Intel coming to central Ohio lead us to expect growing enrollment in the future.
Navigated the brief teacher strike in 2020, coming to a resolution and improving communication and collaboration with teachers afterwards.
Focus on Student Needs
All decisions I make are based upon the impact to our students and in response to identified student needs. In the last eight years, the Board and I have:
Expanded mental health services to accommodate larger numbers of students being identified as in need of counseling or referral.
Prioritized more workforce development and efforts to provide trade skills to students who want to learn them.
Determined ways to attract the best teachers and administrators who can have a huge impact on the learning experience for our students.
Opposed nationally-driven efforts to take control of public schools and advance private ideologies. Our district has excellent teachers who know how to teach sensitive material well and to communicate with parents to ensure the best experience for their students. If you want to learn more about these dangerous efforts, I suggest looking up the article, “Merchants of Deception: Parent, Props, and Their Founders” by Maurice T. Cunningham, Ph.D., J.D.
Improving School Facilities
The last four years have seen major improvements to our district's facilities, including:
Master Facilities Phase I work, completed in 2021, saw all but schools but GLHS receive major improvements, including lighting, furniture, flooring, bathrooms, and some schools receive new ceilings.
Master Facilities Phase II is currently in process to increase classroom counts at every level of schooling and rebuild our high school. The additions to Highpoint Elementary and Blacklick Elementary are completed, providing space for an additional 225 students at each building. At Middle School East, the process is half completed and will add space for an additional 175 students with expanded cafeteria and arts classroom expansions. The new high school, built on the old stadium location, is in process to complement the new stadium. It adds many safety upgrades, provides wider hallways, combines all classes into one building so that Clark Hall can be repurposed, and gives space for an additional 600+ students.
I have served on the Master Facilities Committee since 2017, and have chaired the Finance Committee for 7 of my 8 years on the board of education. Those roles have created a large obligation to the district that I would like to see through to the end.
Our timing for obtaining the debt to provide the dollars used for building projects was at the low point for interest rates given the pandemic-effect on the greater economy, saving the district substantial money.
With inflation fading and the pandemic over, the economy heated up, so our invested dollars waiting to be spent on building costs are earning greater than we forecast in 2020. This is a win for the district and our tax-payers.
We've accomplished a lot, but there is still much to do!
From a curriculum perspective, workforce development is a priority. The district needs to better prepare our graduates for their next step, be it college, a trade, or the military.
I want to do more and would be honored to serve another four years, but I need your partnership. I respectfully ask for your vote on November 7th. If re-elected, I pledge to keep your trust and continue to prioritize steady leadership, a focus on student needs, and improvements to school facilities as we continue to move our schools forward to educate the next generation.
Inspired and Ready to Serve,