OLIVESBURG – Eight candidates are vying to fill four seats up for grabs on the Crestview Board of Education this November.
Three available seats on the Crestview Board of Education are full-time seats currently held by Debbie Reidy, Jamie McGraw and Linda Roney. The six candidates hoping to fill those seats are Ducia Hamm, David Kissel, Jamie McGraw, Nathaniel Patton, Debbie Reidy, and Jessica Tucker.
The remaining seat is a part-time seat that will finish an unfinished term due to a board member resigning in December 2018. Bill Bolin was appointed to the seat for one year, from January to December 2019. The two candidates competing to complete the term are Dara Bolin and Ed Sandvik.
According to Crestview Local Schools treasurer Beth Lykins, each board member earns $80 per meeting attended.
Each candidate was contacted by Richland Source and asked to answer the following questions:
- Please tell me a bit about yourself, including your name, occupation, education, family, and any prior experience as an elected official.
- Why are you interested in being part of Crestview's Board of Education?
- How do you feel your education and experience prepare you for the job?
- What are some of Crestview Local Schools' greatest assets? Greatest challenges?
- What is your action plan to better Crestview Local Schools?
The seven candidates included in this story responded to these questions via email. Candidates were not given any restrictions on word counts for their answers. One candidate, Jamie McGraw, declined to participate in this story.
The following answers are listed in alphabetical order, organized according to the available seat, and have been lightly edited for clarity and length. To read each candidate's response in full, click the link below:
Ducia Hamm - Full-time Seat
Hamm, 60, is an independent consultant for Heartbeat International and has previously worked as a long- and short-term substitute in all Crestview school buildings. She holds a bachelor's degree in community mental health, and previously served on the Crestview Board of Education from 2007 to 2015. Hamm has been married for 37 years and her three adult children all graduated from Crestview.
"As a former Crestview Board Member, it allows me to be intricately involved in helping make decision that fosters excellence in education for all our students, keep Crestview fiscally sound and maintain excellent relationships with administration, faculty and staff," Hamm said.
Hamm believes Crestview's greatest assets are its students, as well as the financial stability and fiscal conservatism of the district. She believes the district's greatest challenge is its declining number of students.
Hamm's action plan to better Crestview Local Schools is to maintain focus on excellence in education, make decisions to keep the district fiscally sound, foster open communication between administration, faculty and staff, address situations "with wisdom in an ethical and timely manner," and explore ways to increase the student population.
David Kissel - Full-time Seat
Kissel, 40, currently works for the state of Ohio at Mansfield Correctional Institution as a maintenance repair worker, as well as operates his own small business. He was elected as an executive board member for the union at Mansfield Correctional and held that position for six years. He also previously served six years on the Crestview Board of Education. He and his wife Katie have three boys, two of which attend Crestivew currently and one who graduated last year.
"I am interested in being a part of the Crestview board because I feel that with 40 years of being involved in the Crestview district I can help make the needed decisions to help get the district headed back in the right direction," Kissel said. "I feel that when this has been a part of your life for 40 years it tends to mean more to you."
Kissel believes Crestview's greatest assets are its generations of families, community involvement, traditions and values. He believes the district's greatest challenges are finances, teacher turnover, and making sure Crestview has the right people in place to move the district in the right direction.
Kissel does not have an action plan or agenda but plans to represent the community how they would like to be represented.
"If the district is going to have to ask for a levy down the road I think that you have to show what you are doing to help alleviate the problem before you can ask them to support a levy," he said. "I only want what is best for our community and kids."
Nathaniel Patton - Full-time Seat
Patton, 19, currently works for the United States Census Bureau. He graduated from Crestview High School in May 2019.
"I am interested in being a part of Crestview's Board of Education purely for my love of government and community," he said. "I love local government and understand the significant importance it plays in American society. I would love to serve not just the children that are receiving an education but also those who have their children at Crestview and the eligible voters in the district. The Crestview community is very generous and I wish to serve in order to give back to the community."
Patton believes Crestview's greatest asset is the citizens who live within the district. He praised the citizens for doing so much for the school so that each student can thrive and receive the best possible education.
Patton said he has no action plan or agenda, but plans to make sure "the students, teachers, parents and community members are all represented."
Debbie Reidy - Full-time Seat
Reidy is a retired educator who lives in Ashland with her husband Kevin and their golden retriever, Murphy. She has previously served four years on the Crestview Board of Education. She received a bachelor's degree from Marietta College in elementary education and sociology, a master's degree from the University of Akron in educational administration, and has taken post-graduate courses at Ashland University.
"I’m interested in continuing to be a part of the Crestview Board of Education due to my 40-plus years as an educator - both as a teacher and an administrator," Reidy said. "I would like to continue to serve the Crestview community in the implementation of the Board’s goals and to follow through on the district audits that will guide the district in developing a strategic plan."
Reidy believes Crestview's greatest assets are its opportunities for community involvement, as the school serves as the center of the Crestview community, as well as providing continual professional development and training for its staff. She believes the district's greatest challenge is ever-changing state standards and funding, as well as declining enrollment.
Reidy's action plan if elected includes monitoring the auditing recommendations made in the areas of maintenance, technology, transportation, food service, and eventually instruction.
"These audits and action plans will be used to develop a new strategic plan for the district. This plan will help provide for long-range planning for the district," Reidy said.
Jessica Tucker - Full-time Seat
Tucker, 31, currently works as an independent contractor doing data entry from home, and has prior experience working at JPMorgan Chase Bank. A 2006 graduate of Plymouth-Shiloh High School, Tucker has served in several leadership roles throughout her employment history, and is very involved locally as a coach for her kids' sports as well as a member of various community boards and committees. She and her husband Stephen have a daughter Makenzi, two sons Carter and Trevor, and another little boy due in February 2020.
"I want to serve our community and be a part of what makes our district one of the best around," Tucker said. "We plan to continue deepening our roots as we raise our family here."
Tucker believes Crestview's greatest asset is its community. She believes the district's greatest challenge is losing enrollment numbers while classroom sizes continue to rise.
Tucker's action plan to better Crestview Local Schools is to create a more open dialogue between the school board, teachers, administrators and community.
"We must all work together as one to effectively run our great district," she said. "I would like to strengthen the bond between our community and school board."
Dara Bolin - Part-time Seat
Bolin is currently the owner of her own barbershop, Dara's Place. She is a graduate of Crestview and has been involved with the Crestview Athletic Boosters for the past 10 years, serving as secretary for the last six. She and her husband of 24 years, Bill, have two sons who are currently students in Crestview Local Schools.
"I believe the role of a board member is to help provide the very best education, atmosphere, facilities, teachers, administration and surrounding for the young people of our great community," Bolin said. "We have had a great reputation here at Crestview and I'd like to work at keeping that atmosphere here to attract the very best educators, workers, coaches and volunteers to want to come and stay at Crestview."
Bolin believes Crestview's greatest assets are its tight community, updated facilities, and financial stability thanks to the current board. She believes the district's greatest challenges are declining enrollment and the constant changes at the state level regarding public schools.
"I am sure I will have to learn a great deal about being a school board member," Bolin said. "I hope to be able to be open and work will with my fellow board members, administration and community."
Ed Sandvik - Part-time Seat
Sandvik, 38, currently works as a business process analyst at one of the largest banking institutions in the country. He holds an associate's degree in software applications and programming and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in IT business management. He and his wife of 15 years, Molly, have two children in 7th and 3rd grade attending Crestview Local Schools.
"Being a quiet, shy, reserved person, I have spent the last year-plus (attending board meetings), observing my surroundings, listening to all sides, studying the interactions," Sandvik said. "My interest, or goal, if I am elected is to foster a more collaborative relationship between the board, staff, and community members. I hope that attendance at the monthly board meetings goes up and everyone leaves feeling respected and truly listened to."
Sandvik believes Crestview's greatest asset is the investment in its students put forth by the community, teachers, and administrative staff. He believes the district's greatest challenge would be to not rest on its laurels after 57 years as a district, but instead remain proactive to meet the highest expectations of future generations.
Sandvik's action plan to better Crestview Local Schools is to ensure forward-thinking leadership from the board to the superintendent to each of the school buildings. He also plans to address the increase in class sizes, specifically in kindergarten.
"We have a diverse community with deep roots and far reaching branches, a wide breadth of new ideas along with tried and true wisdom. The school board is the liaison between the district and the community," he said. "I plan to strengthen this partnership through open and honest dialogue with all the stakeholders; not just going through the motions, but truly listening to and appreciating all feedback and insights, taking action when we can.
"This means, while not overstepping the board's boundaries, we go into the schools, listen to the teachers, listen to the students, listen to the community, keep everyone abreast and engaged. It takes a village, right?"