Voter’s Guide: Jonathan Alder school board

(Posted Nov. 4, 2019)

Four candidates are running for three seats on the Jonathan Alder Local School board of education in the Nov. 5 general election.

Each candidate was given an opportunity to provide information for the Madison Messenger’s Voter’s Guide. The following is the information they provided.

For more information about the election, contact the Madison County Board of Elections at (740) 852-9424 or visit Madison County Board of Elections.

Candidates for Jonathan Alder Board of Education

(Three seats up for election)

  • Thomas (Tom) Bichsel

5180 Plain City-Georgesville Rd., Plain City

Occupation: Teacher (retired)

Previous service in public office: Have been a member of the Jonathan Alder school board for past 16 years. Currently serving as vice president.

Education/military experience: Master’s degree in education (Capital University/Ashland University). Member Ohio Army National Guard (six years).

Community activities/honors: Founder, current board member of Jonathan Alder Soccer Association.

Goals if elected: Over the past 16 years (my time on the board), the district has seen many changes. Four new buildings, a new superintendent, and many changes in curriculum have occurred. The future of the district is going to need people on the board that understand what those changes are going to be. Population growth is going to be the biggest. Our current board is well aware of the needs of our community and knowledgeable of how to handle situations like these. We all want the best for our students while maintaining a fiscal responsibility to our neighbors. I want to maintain that stability and look forward to serving the people and students of Jonathan Alder for another four years.

  • Christine Blacka

8870 Surrey Lane, Plain City

Occupation: Scheduling coordinator, Smiles to Love Orthodontics

Previous service in public office: Jonathan Alder board of education, three terms

Education and/or military experience: BA from Capital University

Community activities/honors: Previously active in Jonathan Alder PTOs and Athletic Boosters, member of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church

Goals if elected: I would like to continue with the positive direction that our school district is going.  We have an administration and staff that are dedicated to providing an excellent education for our students. They do this while continually watching the growth and change in our area. It is an exciting time to help guide the district through this process.

  • William McCartney

6649 Amity Pike, Plain City

Occupation: Landlord and director of sales and marketing/business owner and Yoder Ag Services

Previous service in public office: None

Education/military experience: 2004 Jonathan Alder graduate.

Community activities/honors: Coach and board member of Jonathan Alder Soccer Association. My family and I attend Shiloh Mennonite Church.

Goals if elected: There are a lot of changes coming to Plain City in the next few years, and with four young children, I will have firsthand knowledge across many grades and buildings for where we’re excelling and where we have opportunities for growth inside our schools.

  • Steve Votaw

4720 Plain City Georgesville Rd.

Occupation: Executive director, Furniture Bank of Central Ohio

Previous service in public office: Sixteen years as a member of the Jonathan Alder School Board

Education and/or military experience: BA: Kent State. MS: Youngstown State

Community activities/honors: Jonathan Alder finance committee, Jonathan Alder strategic planning committee, Journey Community Church, Social Ventures Board, Human Service Chamber Board

Goals if elected: Our district and community are about to experience major growth, and we need make sure we are prepared to continue the excellent educational services and reputation of our district. It is critical that the board of education be very strategic, proactive and collaborative with the many stakeholders of our community. If elected, I will continue to hold student interest in the highest regard as we move forward. It is very important that we listen to students, parents, community partners and the business community as we balance the many interests of our broader community during this period of growth. It has been a privilege and honor to serve our community for the past 16 years and I hope no matter who you vote for, you will continue to support our students and Jonathan Alder schools with the utmost passion.

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