Voter Guide: Springboro Community City School District Board of Education

Voter Guide
Caption
Voter Guide

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

The Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and Journal-News invited local candidates to fill out the following questionnaire to inform readers.

VOTE FOR 3:

Shauna Acquavita

Shauna Acquavita
Caption
Shauna Acquavita

Credit: CARRIE BREITWIESER

Credit: CARRIE BREITWIESER

Education: Bachelor’s of science in rehabilitation services education at Pennsylvania State University; Master’s of social work at University of Pittsburgh; PhD in social work at University of Maryland, Baltimore; post-doctorate research fellowship in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University

Current employment: Professor at University of Cincinnati

Community involvement: I served on the Research Advisory Board for CareSource, a nonprofit, mission-based insurance company headquartered in Dayton.

Why are you seeking elected office? I am running for a seat on the school board because of my concern regarding issues related to its prior leadership. In addition to issues with corruption in our school district, the biggest challenge I see facing students today is mental health. There is a need to address this issue in the schools. Furthermore, I am invested in this position because I have two school-aged children attending Springboro schools. Thus, I am committed to ensuring quality education not just for them, but for every student attending Springboro schools.

Why should voters elect you? I am familiar with the mental health issues facing our students today as I am a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with people with mental health and substance use disorders. I have listened to people, identified their concerns and problems, and worked with them to devise solutions. I can synthesize the needs and priorities of the Springboro community and collaborate with the school board’s members to address educational issues. Also, as a social worker, I follow a code of ethics outlined by my profession and the state of Ohio, ensuring ethical practices. As a professor in higher education, I have experience and knowledge in what prepares students to be competitive candidates for their careers and/or secondary education plans. And as the director of a Master’s degree program, I have a great deal of familiarity examining educational curricula and implementing them. As a researcher, I design and implement studies to examine outcomes. I use different data to determine next steps and desired effects. These skills would enable me to examine the information provided to me as a school board member to make informed decisions that align with the goals of Springboro schools.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. Provide transparency to the community on how decisions are made. 2. Stress the importance of addressing the mental health issues of children enrolled within Springboro schools. 3. Support the academic excellence of all students within Springboro schools.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Request for notes/information from school board meetings and in service teacher learning days to be shared to the community. Request to implement monthly parent leacher leadership meetings with administration. Provide clarity on identifying what are the issues facing our school district, utilize supporting data, who will be involved in the decision making, the decision-making timeline, how the decision is implemented, evaluated and modified when necessary. Post information about regular financial and performance audits, contracts and bids, teacher contracts. Provide training on how to access information to school committees, teachers, parents. Advocate to utilize best practices regarding communication. Advocate to implement mental health preventative and treatment services for all children. Advocate to increase hiring more mental health providers, such as social workers and counselors in the schools. Advocate for the special education services provided at Springboro schools to be evaluated to see if it is engaged in best practices for requesting and receiving services. Advocate to examine areas of high staff turnover so that we can remedy these areas to ensure we have the best staff available to provide services to our children.

Anything else you would like voters to know? We have a strong need for transparency among representatives of the school board regarding their relationships with each other as well as corporations associated with providing school services. The school board needs to ensure they are good stewards of the funding they receive. Our taxpayers should be confident that the decisions made by the board are unbiased and fiscally responsible.

Jeff Paschke-Johannes

ajc.com

City: Clearcreek Township

Education: Master’s of arts, English (creative writing), Iowa State University; Master’s of arts, English (rhetoric & composition), Ball State University

Current Employment: Ivy Tech Community College

Community Involvement: Organizing member of PEACOC (Parents Empowering All Children of Color); member of Epiphany Lutheran Church

Why are you seeking elected office? My concern that all students in Springboro feel safe and welcome in school hallways and classrooms, and the poor judgement and lack of transparency demonstrated by some of the incumbent school board members. I’ve been active in the community along with the organization PEACOC -- Parents Empowering All Children of Color -- formed by families of color in Springboro to address bullying and threats made against children in our schools who are easily marginalized due to race, disability, economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation or faith. I want to press the school district to make changes in policy and to make efforts to teach students about the values of mutual respect and appreciation of differences, and help maintain and guide the district’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which was also formed to address these issues. The recent indictment of former superintendent Dan Schroer alleges two of our incumbent school board members running in this year’s election lent money to the superintendent, someone they play a role in both hiring and evaluating. Money should never exchange hands between our elected school board members and the hired staff in our schools. This, I think, shows the seriously poor judgment of some of our current board members. I knew then that voters in the Springboro school district would need a new kind of choice in the election -- someone who would support our students’ sense of safety and wellbeing, and would lead with transparency and responsibility on the school board.

Why should voters elect you? I bring a dedication to making our schools and our community better. I also offer the following skills and experience: 1. Active listening - Professionally, I am known as someone who can listen to coworkers and stakeholders; understand not only what they are saying but the concerns, priorities and values that are motivating their words; and identify ideas and solutions the whole group can form a consensus around. 2. Communication - As a writing communication scholar, I come into this role with an understanding of how to effectively and transparently communicate, not only to other board members, teachers, administrators but to the public at large. 3. Experience as a college educator - My experience teaching in higher education provides me a first-hand understanding of what knowledge and skills our students will need to excel at 21st century higher education and beyond. Meanwhile, teaching at a community college makes me aware of the broad paths students can take to succeed in life personally, publicly and professionally.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. Springboro schools has a history of questionable leadership and school boards prioritizing partisan agendas over the real challenges our schools actually face. Most recently, this includes two incumbent school board members being accused in an indictment of the previous superintendent because they lent him money. Money should never exchange hands between our elected school officials and the staff they hire and review. Rather than being known for questionable judgement and dishonest superintendents, I want our schools to be known for having transparent and responsible leadership focused on doing the right thing for kids and getting ahead of problems before they become crises. As a school board member, I will be that kind of leader. 2. I will help make our schools safe and welcoming for all students: Families in Springboro formed PEACOC after discovering that the same problem touched all our lives: the racist threats made against our children of color in school. Since then, many other parents have told me their stories: of their girls enduring sexist bullying, of their children with special needs facing abusive behavior. As a parent, I’d like our schools to be known as a learning environment where all students feel safe and welcomed. 3. I will seek to improve delivery of educational success to every student. Though Springboro schools do a great job delivering gifted and advanced learning programs, I hear too often from parents that our schools do not provide the additional educational support their kids need when they are struggling academically.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Transparent leadership: Deliver news and information as it becomes available rather than after it gets splashed across the news and social media; respond to people’s questions openly, honestly, and directly, not with boilerplate; take time at each school board meeting to briefly explain and clarify our procedures, the scope of each meeting, and our responsibilities as school board members. Safe and welcoming schools: Support the Diversity and Inclusion committee the district created. The research and solutions this committee develops will help us find ways to support all students, keep them safe, and show them they are welcomed; teacher training so teachers know the signs of such threatening and bullying behavior; curriculum, tied to Ohio state learning standards, that helps students recognize and appreciate their own value and self-worth as well as recognize and appreciate the value and self-worth of one another, encourages healthy and positive respect for cultural differences and appreciation for the experiences and hardships of people when experiencing marginalization. Deliver student success: Provide need-based interventions, based on formative assessments measures, before students hit critically low levels; take seriously teachers’ recommendations for needed interventions since they know our kids’ educational strengths and weaknesses; welcome requests from parents for additional testing, as well as IEPs, 504s, and other intervention measures; provide therapeutic/occupational study and academic skills training for students of all neurodiverse backgrounds.

Anything else? Springboro schools has a history of school boards prioritizing partisan agendas over the real challenges our schools actually face. We need leadership focused on doing the right thing for kids and getting ahead of problems before they become crises. I will be that kind of leader.

Olga K. Verbitsky

No response

Charles W. Anderson

ajc.com

City: Springboro

Education: B.A.

Current Employment: Funeral director

Community Involvement: Springboro and Warren County school boards; Abilities First; Atrium Medical Center Foundation Board; Franklin Optimist and Rotary.

Why are you seeking elected office? I want to continue my participation on the Springboro school board.

Why should voters elect you? I have 12 years experience on the Springboro School Board and 38 years living in Springboro.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? To enhance the experience of every student in Springboro, continue to improve on our test scores, and make sure we are always improving our resources needed to prepare our students for college or to enter the work force.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? To support our administrators and teachers in their everyday activities and make sure we are encouraging creative thinking by all of our employees.

Anything else? Thank everyone for their support of Springboro Schools!

Frank Catrine

Frank Catrine
Caption
Frank Catrine

City: Springboro

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Capital University

Current Employment: Unemployed

Community Involvement: None

Why are you seeking elected office? I do not like the direction our schools are going. Our grade from the state report card has dropped. Personal and political agendas are driving decisions of the board. I want to see a return to putting the students and education as the only agenda.

Why should voters elect you? I am the only candidate that has publicly come out against mask mandates and all the principles and teachings of critical race theory. I also will not support special superintendent committees to get around sunshine laws. I have a plan to combat bullying in any form. Wasteful agenda spending needs to stop. Transparency and community involvement is much needed.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? Education and the students are No. 1 -- and tied to this priority is spending. No political or personal agendas -- including critical race theory and mask mandates. Transparency and community involvement.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Audit the budget -- make sure all spending aligns directly with education. Redirect spending and budget where necessary. Not support in any way anything that does not benefit all students. This will include improved anti-bullying initiative. Any meeting, discussion, etc. of the board -- including budget and contract negotiations -- fully open within the law

Anything else? Critical race theory and its principles are being pursued in our schools. Things are hidden from the public intentionally. A vote for me puts the students first - and will help start bringing our community back together.

Daniel Gudz

ajc.com

City: Springboro

Education: M.B.A., Wright State University

Current Employment: Molina Healthcare

Community Involvement: Springboro school board

Why are you seeking elected office? I am running for reelection because I believe that it’s important for adults to contribute and give back to a community through service. Being a board member on Springboro’s Board of Education allows me to do that. My wife and I have lived in Springboro for over 15 years, and one of the reasons we decided to move to this community was the excellent school district. I believe that my service on the BOE will help sustain and improve upon the excellent performance and reputation of our school district. My professional background and training is in finance, so I tend to focus much of my time and energy working with our treasurer, Terrah Stacey, to ensure our district continues to be able to provide excellent educational services in a safe and modern learning environment.

Why should voters elect you? I’ve served on the board for 4.5 years and in that time we’ve made significant progress in stabilizing our financial situation, successfully ran five-day a week, in-person and virtual education in 2020-2021 during COVID. We have also continued to improve educational offerings to our students, especially at the higher grade levels. We are now focused on ensuring all students are able to get back on pace due to the disruptions due to COVID.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. Ensuring that all of our students get back on pace in terms of their educations following the significant disruptions we’ve faced due to COVID. All districts are currently behind in terms of where students should be relative to educational benchmarks. It’s up to our district to accelerate student development and learning so that all students can get back on track as soon as possible. We have a plan in place and the right staff to accomplish that goal 2. Our facilities across our district are in need of evaluation, and a long-term replacement strategy needs to be finalized. Springboro is once again experiencing significant grown in new housing, which means more students is in our future. We also need to modernize certain facilities either through renovation or replacement. Clearcreek (PK-1) and Springboro Intermediate (sixth grade) are the two buildings that need to be addressed first. 3. Continuing to partner with our treasurer and finance committee to ensure that our financial forecast remains within our expected revenues while also ensuring we start to accelerate work on all the deferred maintenance that has occurred within the district prior to the passage of our permanent improvement levy earlier this year.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Develop a master plan to determine what facilities issues need addressed and when. Additionally what, if any, additional funding would be required. We are also continuing to add resources within buildings to focus on literacy at the younger grades. We also continue to work with and support administrators and faculty as they determine the best opportunities to close educational gaps that were created or made worse due to COVID disruption.

Anything else? I appreciate that I was given the opportunity to serve Springboro Schools four years ago, and I think during my tenure our district has accomplished a great deal. There are still and always will be challenges, and I intend to use my experience and energy to continue to solve them with our incredible faculty, staff and administrators. Springboro schools is a major reason why my family lives in this community, and I want to continue to make our schools even better.

Brian Retterer

ajc.com

Credit: Heather Powell

City: Springboro

Education: Bachelor’s of fine arts in international theatre technology, Ohio Northern University

Current Employment: Software engineer

Community Involvement: I’m currently volunteering with the AfterProm committee. I built and donated the costs of a website (BoroAfterProm.com) to be able to take the fundraisers to the next level. AfterProm can now sell fundraiser items and collect donations electronically. My wife, Heather, and I are currently running the Flock-a-Friend fundraiser! As a parent, I have volunteered in many ways through the schools and community. Since the high school doesn’t have a PTO, we have donated things for the yearly collection, such as hand sanitizer, tissues, snacks, etc., to the teachers through the years. In spring of 2020, when the pandemic hit, I put out a call to my friends in the tech world for Chromebooks. I was able to collect or purchase 15 new or refurbished Chromebooks. I made these available, for free, for any family or student that reached out to me from my social media posts to ease the technology strain COVID-19 put on students and parents. In fall of 2020, when two teachers were having sound recording issues I bought and sent in two lapel microphones they could wear while recording their lessons to help the Model B students. At a community level, I was recently appointed as a community member for the Springboro Board of Zoning Appeals. I’ve served on two different HOAs for eight years and was a member of the Theta Chi Zeta Kappa Alumni Board of Directors for five years.

Why are you seeking elected office? ind

Why should voters elect you? My only agenda is to do what is best for the students, teachers and staff. Being an elected board member is not a status for me. I know that every child is different. That every student comes from a different background, has their own struggles and needs their own individualized support to succeed. I want to make sure that our school system is doing what they can do to make sure no child falls through the cracks. As an elected school board member, I will make sure that every child has the support they need to speak up and let their voices be heard. As a software engineer, I understand the importance of technology and will do what is best for our district to be current technologically. In order to do this, we will need to become more fiscally responsible as a district and I will make sure to follow the numbers and prioritize spending in the correct places while cutting costs in others to maintain the best educational environment possible. I am not afraid to question things that don’t make sense, which means I will not just be a rubber stamp on the board.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? If elected, I will focus on inclusivity, technology and growth. Some of the main goals of our school board are to provide a safe, positive, productive and nurturing educational environment. There are still many reports of bullying and discrimination in our schools. Thus, we are falling short at that main goal. I will focus on ensuring our students, teachers and staff have the individualized support they need to succeed. Technology is more and more of a necessity in education and life. The unfortunate part is that not everyone has the same access to the technology required for school work. A lot of homework and classroom assignments require technology and reliable internet. The lack of technology should not be a limiting factor for a student doing their homework. We need to work as a district to make sure that every child’s needs are met. In order to do this, we need to look at where we are at now while still preparing to be ready for the growth of the community and our school buildings. Springboro has seen massive growth in the last 20 years, and new subdivisions are still being built. We need to be looking at our current buildings and preparing for the future to accommodate our ever growing community. This means being fiscally responsible in the now and preparing for the cost of future growth. The important part of this is that our students, staff, and teachers have everything they need to be successful.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? We need to be listening to our students in every way possible to help with getting an insight into what is happening at the school. One of the best ways we can do this is through the implementation of student representatives to the board of education. By providing a place for student representatives, they would be able to voice their concerns and issues around inclusivity, technology and other daily issues. We have seen this kind of program work well in other districts, and it is time we implement a student driven system in Springboro. In order for us to be prepared for growth, we need to make sure we are fiscally responsible now while planning for the costs of the future. I plan to accomplish this by making sure we prioritize spending in the correct places while cutting costs in others to maintain the best educational environment possible. I would like to see Chromebooks available to each student as needed so the family isn’t shouldering the cost of the “bring your own technology” system. Many of my girls’ classes assign homework that requires a computer or Chromebook. If our teachers are assigning work like this, then the school needs to ensure each and every student has the technology equipment that they need.

Anything else? I am very passionate about providing the best education possible for the students of Springboro. As a therapeutic foster dad, my approach to parenting is different and I would like my presence on the board to be different, too. I am not afraid to ask the tough questions, have tough conversations, and speak up for our students, teachers or staff. While I may not have an answer to every problem, I am willing to go out and find solutions. I am not afraid to learn new things. The best thing about education is it is never ending. I truly believe that the moment you stop learning is the moment you begin to fail. The more open you are to the advice of people around you, the better the decisions you make will be. My whole life, I watched my father, Dave Retterer, teach at the collegiate level for nearly 40 years. My father is also the mayor of my hometown and has been for 18 years. Before that his father, Jake Retterer, was a high school teacher and principal at a public school for over 25 years, as well as the Claridon Township clerk for 19 years. My maternal grandmother, Anna Joseph, taught elementary school for 12 years. Even my wife’s mom, Janet Powell, taught at public middle school and high school for over 30 years. I’ve learned from watching them that teaching is not easy and public service is important.

Dave Bruce Stuckey

ajc.com

City: Springboro

Education: Master’s in education

Current Employment: Retired teacher

Community Involvement: Board of education for eight years.

Why are you seeking elected office? To make sure that our students and staff continue to have what is needed to be successful. That is why we ran in 2013, because the previous board then was not doing that at all. In fact they were tearing our school system apart

Why should voters elect you? After living here over 40 years and teaching here for 35, they know what I stand for and my other two board members that are running with me. They know we have no agendas, and will let the superintendent and his staff run the school the way it should be.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? One, financial stability. Two, resources for our teachers and students. Three, ensure that we hire the best staff members that we can.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? The above answers will be taken care of by our superintendent, treasurer and staff. Our job as a board is to make sure they have what they need to do those things.

Anything else? The present board has faced many obstacles and challenges. We have taken them head on, along with our administrative staff, to make Springboro a stronger school system.