By Rick Palsgrove
Seven applicants are seeking to fill the vacant seat on the Groveport Madison Board of Education.
The selected applicant will take over the seat vacated by Groveport Madison Board of Education member Bryan Shoemaker, who announced his immediate resignation from the board on June 10 citing his recent move outside of the school district. Shoemaker was serving in his third term on the board, having been first elected in November 2010. His term expires on Dec. 31, 2021.
“Bryan joined the board at a crucial time in the district’s history,” said Board President Libby Gray. “The district had significant financial challenges which required strong leadership and guidance from the board. Bryan’s understanding of the community and his insights helped forge community trust and confidence and guide the district back to financial stability. Bryan was instrumental throughout the design and construction of the high school, where his construction experience was invaluable.”
The applicants (in alphabetical order and with information included in their letters of application) are:
•Seth Bower – Bower has 17 years experience in the non-profit industry where he has been responsible for budgets more than $800,000. He co-chaired the district’s 2019 bond issue/levy campaign. “Unfortunately, Issue 7 did not pass,” wrote Bower. “This led me to further support the district by advocating for the levy that passed in November 2019 while also running for election to the school board.” Bower serves on the board of the Center for Groveport Madison Human Needs. Bower said he would “make sure the district is operating well, continue to rebuild community trust, and provide our children with the education they deserve.”
•Wayne Bryan – Bryan serves on the Madison Township Citizens Advisory Committee. He is a graduate of Groveport Madison High School and has worked in construction and maintenance over the years. (His application did not include a cover letter.)
•Lisa Butts – Butts raised four children in Groveport Madison Schools and she wrote, “As an engaged parent and active community member I have enjoyed partnering with educators to help support a high quality education for students.” Her goals include: keeping students as the focus; encouraging an innovative learning environment; maintaining a system of accountability ensuring the district drives toward goals; and promoting relationships with families and children that establish leaders as education advocates. “I share the vision of our district to prepare students for the future that they deserve,” wrote Butts.
•LaToya Dowdell-Burger – Dowdell-Burger’s letter stated, “I am highly skilled in a variety of computer software programs and have plethora of experience and knowledge dealing with complex issues, project management, evaluations/investigations, presentations, interpreting regulations, research, customer service, and creating, developing successful processes, policies, budgeting, training, performance management, and procedures.” She said her professional demeanor, commitment to education, diversity, and military bearing are qualities of importance when working with parents, teachers, the administration, and students.
•Aaron England – England is a 2010 graduate of Groveport Madison High School and he wrote, “I believe my commitment and heart are with the students of the district, their educators, and our taxpayers.” He stated he would work to ensure today’s students receive the same great experience with the district that he received. “I’ve worked with the district and school board for many years through student advocacy, event promotions, and volunteer work, and my personal business Appeal 5 Content Creation has worked with the high school as well.”
•Lori Rea – Rea was as a project manager for an engineering/environmental company and taught business and computer classes at Robert S. Rodgers High School in Toledo. She became a technology and data peer coach and then transitioned into administration. “I led an effort to improve the four lowest performing schools in Toledo where we had great successes,” she wrote. She served as director of curriculum at Otsego Local. She works as a program coordinator of a two year program for teachers and principals for the University of Cincinnati. “I bring a unique perspective and skill set that combines my business and education experiences,” wrote Rea.
•John Showman – Showman is Scoutmaster for Groveport Boy Scout Troop 71 as well as serving as the parent advisor for the Jobs Daughters Bethel and DeMolay chapter in Groveport. He volunteered for the Groveport Madison Technology Committee last winter that recommended possible upgrades and solutions. He said Groveport Madison led the way during the coronavirus pandemic with its E-learning programs. “I feel we have the best resources and teachers for our students,” wrote Showman. “I want to make sure we have accountability and provide the best education for our students.”
The board conducted candidate interviews on June 24.
State law requires school boards to fill vacancies at their next regular or special board meeting, but not earlier than 10 days after the vacancy occurs. The board must fill the vacancy within 30 days after the vacancy occurs. The new board member will serve the shorter of the completion of the unexpired term, or until the first day of January immediately following the next regular board of education election taking place more than 90 days after someone is selected to fill the vacancy.