The South-Western City Schools Board of Education will see some new faces next year.
Board President Jim Lester and Vice President Gary Leasure will not run for re-election.
In November, local residents will choose among Melinda Garverick, Susan Greenway and Randy Reisling to fill the two seats.
Garverick is on the SWCS Library Board, which is appointed by the board of education. She is a graduate of Grove City High School and said the reason she is running for a seat on the board is to give back to the district.
"I have been blessed to be a part of this district," Garverick noted. "I just want a chance to give something back."
The candidate said she would be a good pick because of her experience with the district and her daytime job, working for the state in the mental retardation development and disabilities (MRDD) department.
"My job is about educating and advocating. I plan to use those skills if elected to the board," she remarked.
Garverick said if elected, she plans to tackle communication issues.
"When we go to the public and ask for money, I don’t want it to be a shock," she said. "I want to keep the public informed of what we are doing."
She also noted that she wants to improve communication with parents, especially with English as Second Language (ESL) students.
"We have a large and diverse district. Many of the students are learning to speak English but their parents are not. That is a communication barrier we need to break," said Garverick.
If elected, she wants to make sure board members are approachable for the public, parents and staff.
"I want the board to offer an open-door policy so the district can continue to be top notch," she noted.
She also plans to get a "handle" on the funding situation.
Garverick has two children in the district; a sixth grader at Park Street Intermediate School and an eighth grader at Brookpark Middle School.
Greenway has lived in the district for 30 years. Both of her daughters have graduated from Grove City High School and one is a teacher at Central Crossing High School. She used to be a member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for the district and a substitute teacher.
"I have seen the district struggle with finances over the years and I feel like I can offer some knowledge," said Greenway of why she decided to run for a board seat.
Greenway has a background in accounting and said she would bring that experience if elected.
"Throughout the state, districts are having financial issues and I feel that I have something to offer since I have experience with financing," she said.
Greenway added, "I care about these kids and have grandchildren who will go through the school system. I want to make sure the kids get a good education."
Greenway plans to focus on academics. She also wants to make sure the board can work together.
"It is important that the board members work together and make decisions together. Many times it is just one or two people who seem to make all the decisions," she remarked.
The candidate is hoping her background in accounting will allow her to help in implementing new financial strategies.
"I really feel like I can make a difference," she said. "Right now I have time in my life to devote to this and I want to make sure the community gets the best bang for its buck."
Reisling is the vice president of the Hayes Intermediate School PTA. He is involved in the SWCS Tech Committee and has volunteered in efforts to change the state’s school funding system.
"It is a passion of mine to serve this district," said Reisling. "I have two daughters in the district so I guess you could say I have a vested interest in the district."
He has a fifth grader at Hayes Intermediate and a seventh grader at Jackson Middle School.
He said he has no agenda.
"My number one priority is to be an advocate for the students and just be there for them."
Reisling said he would like to see improvement in academic achievement in all the schools. On the latest state report card the district earned a grade of "Continuous Improvement." According to Reisling, it could be "Effective."
"We need to provide an environment for creative learning," he stated. "We have a diverse district and need to retain and find high quality teachers, staff and administrators that can create that creative learning environment."
If elected, the candidate said he wants to have a curriculum committee look into how to improve the academic performance of ESL students.
"There are approximately 2,200 ESL students in the district and that number is growing. There are 40 different languages spoken," he noted.
Reisling builds computer software at the Defense Supply Center in Columbus (DSCC).
He said, "I will work to improve opportunities for education. Residents and parents can trust that I will be fair."
The election is Nov. 6. Look for additional information about these and other candidates in the Columbus Messenger throughout election season.