"As a life-long Scout, Eagle Scout, current Eagle Scout Coordinator for Troop 947, and former Cubmaster for Pack 940 (West Chester's oldest Cub Scout Pack), I base much of my approach to my life and my community on Scouting's foundational principles... "Help other people at all times"... "Do your Best"... "Do my best to do my duty to God and my Country". For every issue, I always start with others first, give my best effort, and work to live up to the responsibilities I have to my community"
IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR LAKOTA
As a parent, I remember walking into Liberty Early Childhood School for the first time for my daughter's first open house in Kindergarten. I remember the tightness in my chest at the prospect of entrusting my daughter to the unknown. That's when Carrie Montgomery, then Principal of LECS, wrapped my family and all the other families in her proverbial hug. While I was reassured that my daughter would learn, thrive, and grow; most of all I knew inherently that there was nothing Carrie and her staff would not do to keep our little ones safe.
Our district has no bigger responsibility than keeping our students safe and secure. As opposed to other candidates who blame teachers for the school violence we see taking place nationwide, I choose to partner with our district's staff to make sure we have the most robust security in place for our buildings including secure entrances, Raptor Visitor Management technology, age appropriate ALICE training, and Security Resource Officers in each building.
When my children started in Lakota nearly a decade ago, it was a very different district. Financial shortfalls wrecked havoc with the services the District could provide which translated to less offerings to students, fewer classes, less security, no bussing within 2 miles of a school, high student fees, and the sense that coming to Lakota meant an uncertain future. In fact, of my daughter's pre-school class, she was one of the very few who enrolled in Lakota for Kindergarten.
Since then, Lakota's administration has transformed its finances to insure no shortfalls year-over-year. I was proud to help in advocating for and securing the passing of the 2013 Levy which added back a 7th period in High School, bussing to 2,200 students, built secure entrances for the 14 buildings lacking them, and upgraded technology to enable the future of learning. The Levy was designed to last 5 years, and 8 years later the District is projecting no need for a future levy.
However, now is no time to rest on these laurels. The taxpayers of this District are clear with their expectations of financial conservatism, something I whole-heartedly embrace. As opposed to other candidates who claim they will carry the flag of fiscal conservatism, I have a proven track record at P&G of delivering financial profitability each and every year for over a decade at a size and scale even larger than our $200 million district. I will seek the best value for each and every investment the district makes and empower the District Administration to deliver more efficiency.
Teachers and Staff represent both Lakota's biggest expense and its greatest determinant of student achievement and success. Investing in them, developing their skills, and advancing their talent are the key to increasing the educational success of our students.
With the stresses of COVID, retaining top talent will be a priority for our District. As opposed to other candidates who care only for witch hunts against our teachers and accusations of ghost curriculums, I promise to focus on expanding our Teachers and Staff's training and resources to deliver the future of education. Change is accelerating faster than ever, and it is the district's responsibility, just like any organization, to equip its employees to embrace it, harness it, and use it to succeed more than ever.
Over the past decade, Lakota has done much to restore services to students. Expansions of opportunities like our Community Internships and the new collaboration with Butler Tech on Cybersecurity have been lauded and deservedly so. However, students, parents and community members constantly tell me they want more.
Recent technology investments by our District coupled with our learnings from delivering services alternatively throughout COVID should propel us to drastically increase what's possible for students to study. As opposed to other candidates who talk about cutting student services and limiting the curriculum, I will work for Lakota to continue to lead Ohio in innovating flexible learning to allow students access to more languages, more areas of studies, and the expansion of the Arts and Specials for our youngest students in ECS and Elementary Schools. Our students deserve more... more delivery of Gifted Services by Certified instructors across subject areas, more innovations like our Culinary Centers, more robust support for students needing specialized delivery of instruction or services, more access to college-level coursework and credit while in High School, and more opportunities to stay in sport beyond the Junior High level.