Editor’s Note: Some responses received by email have been abbreviated for length and clarity.
ZANESVILLE – Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Tri-Valley school board, while Maysville has a contested race. Zanesville has no contested races, however two members are not seeking re-election and a third has recently resigned.
Jason Schaumleffel, who previously served on the Tri-Valley Local Schools School Board, is running again. He did not seek re-election at the end of his last term in 2019.
Luke Davis and local pediatrician Dr Andrea Collet are also in the running for the two open seats. Neither could be reached to answer the TR’s questions.
Schaumleffel’s first term was mixed with criticism. The board in 2018 found out he was texting a student and denied him access to the school.
A year earlier, a letter had surfaced detailing his expulsion from Muskingum University for sexual misconduct, Tri-Valley Superintendent Mark Neal said.
Lawsuits were brought by Schaumleffel against Neal, the university and two women who accused him. The charges were dismissed.
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Schaumleffel declined a telephone interview to answer questions about his candidacy, but responded by email.
The Tri-Valley graduate said he came to the school board because while he was a student he had teachers and staff who played a vital role in his education and said he wanted ensure that the next generation receives the same quality education.
“At the time, I felt my public service would get lost in the wickedness of the politics that were going on,” he said of why he chose not to stand for re-election in 2019 . âSince then, two new board members have joined the board. By January 2022, only one board member will remain who was in office during my last term. approached by many people, prayed and thought about it, I think it is the right thing to do. “
He said previous board members he worked with didn’t like the fact that he questioned certain actions, was curious and wanted to make an informed decision before voting.
“For this, the previous board of directors used political attacks and a local newspaper to attack me,” said Schaumleffel, who works as business and commercial director at Y-City News, a media publication. in line. âI originally came to the school board because I wanted to make a positive difference in the community.
School board president Eddie Brock said the board absolutely did not support Schaumleffel’s candidacy.
âHe has already proven himself to be untrustworthy, dishonest to the board of directors and district members, community members and parents,â said Brock.
Schaumleffel is banned from school grounds.
This ban is still in effect, although Superintendent Neal has said that if Schaumleffel is elected, the board of trustees with its new members would likely make a new resolution to keep him off school premises.
The last time he was only allowed to come to campus for meetings, Neal and Brock cited precedent in a Toledo district where meetings were held off campus after a council member administration was banned from school property as a possible alternative.
Schaumleffel was banned and expelled from Muskingum University after a school hearing determined he was responsible for sexual harassment and non-consensual sex, Neal said. The Tri-Valley School Board said it was informed of the eviction in an anonymous letter after Schaumleffel had already started his tenure and opened an investigation.
Every April 2017 until the expiration of his term on December 31, 2019, the Board of Directors held a vote asking Schaumleffel to resign. He never did.
The charges were dismissed. Muskingum University said in a statement that “the matter has been resolved to our mutual satisfaction” and could not comment further. They also did not provide any information on what the settlement entailed.
Brock will not be running for re-election. Nor Martha Prince, member of the board of directors.
Four candidates are competing for two places on the local Maysville school board.
Incumbent Kerry Hartman will be challenged by three newcomers – Matthew Wilhite, a detective in the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, Dylan Daniels, a school teacher in the town of Reynoldsburg, and Cynthia Rucker, a retiree from Maysville.
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Hartman served on the board for almost 14 years. One of his priorities during the next term will be to hire a replacement for Treasurer Lew Sidwell, who will retire in two years. Hartman said the treasurer and superintendent are the two most important positions in the district, and his board experience gives him a perspective few have.
He cited a recent incident where a voter approached him about the congested traffic outside the Maysville campus at the end of the school day, and he worked with the district and got to work on a solution. Involved since the construction of the new campus, he also capitalizes on the maintenance of grounds and facilities.
âBeing a lifetime resident, I feel like I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of the community,â he said. “I am proud of our schools, of what we have built, but we also have to recognize that there is room for improvement.”
Matthew Wilhite is a 20-year-old employee of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office and a former student of Maysville High School. He said the district had taken the wrong direction over the past five years, citing comments from the Maysville community and a tendency for teachers and coaches to leave the district. The reasons for their departures, he said, “were the result of the leadership in place.”
Academics are and should be the top priority at school, noted Wilhite, and he wants to draw more attention to athletics and extracurricular activities. He also wants to make managers accountable and promote transparency.
âI have no doubts that there are excellent teachers, principals and staff in Maysville and I will always support them,â he said. “We cannot stand for leadership that does not care about all aspects of the Maysville family. Future leaders in Maysville depend on our current leaders.”
Dylan Daniels is a career technological performing arts teacher at Reynoldsburg City Schools. He is also a permanent resident of the Maysville district and a high school graduate.
As an educator, he said he understood the resources and knowledge essential to the well-being of students.
âI am a teacher who supports teachers,â he said, adding that he advocates for the needs of the students and supports the whole child approach. âI strive to ensure district accountability to ensure that every effort, every initiative and every dollar spent improves student achievement. “
The fourth nominee is Cynthia Rucker, a graduate and retiree from Maysville. She is the sister-in-law of board member Sandra Rucker, whose term expires this year.
Rucker taught English at Maysville High School for 25 years before retiring in 2019. She was one of the district’s first advanced practicum teachers in the early 2000s.
âFrom my perspective as a teacher, I understand what other teachers go through every day,â she said, citing various certifications that teachers have to get and sometimes pay out of pocket to do it themselves- same. âTeachers are asked to be a mentor, teacher, listener and inspiration to every student – it can be a rewarding endeavor, but exhausting. “
She said she also wanted to provide routes to put more emphasis on arts programs, literacy and speaking programs, and mental health resources for students.
Zanesville City Schools
Longtime board members Vicky French and Scott Bunting are not running for re-election. Two others have filed a case to replace them.
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Lori Lee is the deputy director of INFOhio, the state’s PreK-12 public digital library. Prior to that, she was an English teacher, district librarian and technology coach for 27 years at Zanesville High School.
It aims to work on the culture of the board and improve its relationships with teachers, staff, building administrators and students. She wants to be a strong district ambassador to the community and work to build public support and understanding of public education.
âThis will help the council to make decisions in line with local values ââand needs,â she said. “I am committed to educational equity, to the idea that students need the same opportunities, not the same treatment.”
Janet Johnson-Long is the other candidate. She is a Client Services Navigator for Forever Dads and Director of the Mid-East Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, an anti-trafficking organization.
She wants to reassess the academic goals of the program and make Zanesville a more academically competitive district.
âI strive to invest in children and families, in my work and what I do for the coalition, and I think the same should be with school districts,â she said. “We should invest in our young people, our teachers, invest in parents, in the community.”
Early voting begins Tuesday in Ohio. Election day is November 2.