By Linda Dillman
A new face is joining the Canal Winchester Board of Education.
Monika Talley was recently sworn in to fill the vacancy on the school board left by Brian Niceswanger, who resigned last year because of a family move outside the district.
Talley is a liaison supervisor with the Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court and previously served as a paternity coordinator with the county’s Child Support Enforcement Agency. She is a double major graduate of the Ohio State University with focuses on psychology and women’s studies, holds a masters degree in public administration, is a graduate of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and is pursuing a doctorate in public administration, law and public policy from Walden University.
“My husband and I became aware of the vacancy at the same time because, as parents of two children attending Indian Trail Elementary School, we both receive digital weekly district updates,” said Talley, whose husband suggest she apply for the board position. “I immediately knew it was something I definitely wanted to pursue. As a parent, resident of Canal Winchester and public servant, I truly believe that my unique experiences and background in public administration, public policy, child support policy and family law would be of value to the district in helping move its mission of empowerment forward.”
Talley has over 15 years of public sector experience working in state and county government and currently works alongside elected officials and judges. In 2007, she served on the advisory board for the Graduation, Reality, and Dual-role Skills program authorized by the Ohio Department of Education until the program was discontinued in 2016.
“I took on a leadership role while serving on the board for this program because I cared about empowering youth to persevere through personal challenges to reach their potential and graduate,” said Talley. “I wanted them to believe in themselves and I often spoke with them as a group and individually during their seminar days. In addition to their family, faculty and classmates, I became a resource for them and I knew I wanted to continue being an advocate for them.”
Growing up economically disadvantaged in Akron, Talley said her parents instilled in her the values of education and hard work. As a result, she was inducted into the Young Scholars Program in the sixth grade, which entitled her to earn a full four-years all tuition paid scholarship to the Ohio State University.
“Through growth and development, it became evident that my purpose is linked to education and public service,” said Talley. “I believe that every student has the potential to reach their God given purpose. I believe in creating opportunities for growth and development, identifying and removing barriers so that each student can reach theirs.”
Talley feels a primary issue Canal Winchester is experiencing, not unlike other districts, is the breakdown of the family unit and the impact it has on children.
“School districts have the responsibility to undergird youth and, to some extent, their families because they have influence in the community and can distribute certain resources afforded to them,” Talley said.
She said there is a revolving partnership with the family that must exist, empowering students and in return building communities and making them stronger. Another challenge she notes concerns enhancing the safety and security of the schools so teachers can spend less of their instructional time facilitating safety drills.
“I applaud the district’s commitment towards educating the whole student,” Talley said. “Its mission of empowering all students includes cultivating a culture of learning that enables students to achieve their personal potential and this extends beyond academic achievements. I also commend the district for fostering partnerships with all stakeholders, especially with the parents. I value and appreciate that the district is transparent and has a strong communication network.”