Voters Guide: Jefferson Local Board of Education

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Five candidates are running for three seats on the Jefferson Local Board of Education.

Robert Barton Jr.

1080 West Jefferson-Kiousville Road, West Jefferson

Occupation: Director of facilities, Tim Horton’s Int.

Previous experience in public office: Board member, Jefferson Local School District 8 years.

Education/military experience: Graduate West Jefferson High School, Jefferson Local School District.

Community activities/honors: Past member, West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association. Treasurer, Madison Community Housing Board, MR/DD. Board member, Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center 3 years.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? It is the responsibility of the board to provide educational services that ensure all students receive programming unique to their individual needs. These needs may vary greatly and be complex. Funding for all programs continues to be a challenge. My goal is to continue to work on school financing to ensure we are able to maintain quality classroom settings while keeping our taxes at the lowest possible rate.

David W. Harper

3998 Plain City Georgesville Road, West Jefferson

Occupation: Sr. VP Protection Serv., National City Bank

Previous experience in public office: Jefferson Local School Board, 1996-99, president. Jefferson Local School Board, 1986-89, vice president. West Jefferson Community Development Committee, 1987-89, president 3 yrs. City of Hilliard Safety Director, 1975-77. Hilliard City Council, 1973-74, president 2 yrs. Served on Central Ohio Home Homeland Security Advisory Board 2006.

Education/military experience: Graduated Hilliard High School 1960. Attended Ohio State University. Graduate National Police Academy. BCI Criminal Investigations. FBI Narcotics/Drug Investigation. BAI Management Skills. BAI Law and Banking. OSU Police Management. ALIB Developing/Managing Budgets. OSBA Responsibilities of School Board. ASIS Business Administration. Numerous courses at private security and banking institutions.

Community activities/honors: Recognized for outstanding community service from OSBA. First honorary diploma from WJHS, instrumental in building academic/athletic programs;  Athletic Hall of Fame 2007; Athletic Boosters 26 years, president 10; Booster of Year 1986; Fan of Year 1999. Franklin County Police Officer of Year 1968. American Police Hall of Fame Award 1986. Recognized by Public Eyes, FBI, Hilliard American Legion. Crime Stoppers and Franklin County Sheriff honored Dave for contribution to Highway Serial Shooter Investigation 2004.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? I want to give our students the best education possible to prepare them for the future. I will strive to develop incentives to maintain quality staff. I want to establish short-term and long-term goals and monitor the results. I would bring a voice to and for our community and bring independent thinking. With my experience, education and commitment to the citizens of this community, I could serve our school system in a professional, enthusiastic manner.

Meg Hiss

640 Lakeview Drive, West Jefferson

Occupation: Real estate agent, Real Living Anders & Associates

Previous experience in public office: I have been a member of the Jefferson Local School Board since 2001.

Education/military experience: I received a master’s degree in school counseling in 2006 and am currently  working on my Ph.D. in school psychology at The Ohio State University.

Community activities and honors: I participate in the volunteer program at Norwood Elementary, and I am a member of the Sts. Simon and Jude Women’s Group. I am a representative on the Madison County Chamber of Commerce educational committee, and I am the Jefferson Local School Board representative for the Tolles Career and Technical School Board.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? My primary goal is to ensure that every child in our district receives a quality education and all the necessary resources to achieve full potential. I want to continue the district’s progress on the State Report Card so that the district, as well as each building, receives a report card rating of Excellent. In addition, I am committed to maintaining the financial stability the district achieved during my years of service on the school board.

Kevin McDowell

609 Hillsdale Drive, West Jefferson

Occupation: Firefighter/paramedic, Orange Township Fire Department

Previous experience in public office: None.

Education/military experience: 1995 graduate of West Jefferson High School. Graduated from the Ohio Fire Academy with my professional Firefighter certification, emergency medical technician certification, certified fire safety inspector, and certified fire safety instructor. A 1998 graduate from Grant Hospital’s EMS paramedic education program. I am currently enrolled at Clark State Community College working towards both my EMS degree and my Registered Nursing degree.

Community activities and honors: I have been a member of the Jefferson Township Fire Department, in West Jefferson, since 1993.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? Put kids first! Bring customer service back into the school system. People who pay taxes want results; results only come through holding people accountable. That is what I will accomplish, with an emphasis on academic success. I believe people have become numb to the needs of kids today. As a parent, husband, instructor and student, I know what the community expects for their children and their hard earned tax dollars. Fiscal responsibility, accountability and action!

Ed Shepherd

73 Fellows Ave., West Jefferson

Occupation: Accountant supervisor, Nationwide

Previous experience in public office: I am a current school board member and have been for the last four years.

Education/military experience: I have a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting from Franklin University.

Community activities/honors: In 2003, I was part of the School Bond Steering Committee which helped pass the first bond issue in over 40 years which was used to construct and renovate all buildings K-12. I have been serving as the school board vice-president for three of the last four years. I volunteer my time as a football and basketball coach for the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association which is a great time and opportunity to help mentor kids.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? Continue focusing on academics and improving our state test scores. A strong focus began on these four years ago and is starting to pay dividends. For the first time ever, our district received an Effective rating in 2005 and 2006. We are looking at new ideas and software to aid not only in improving our test scores but to help identify each child’s specific needs. I want us to move from Effective to Excellent.

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