Former Creekside Early Childhood Center school Principal Brad Lovell is a rarity among area school officials for now holding a seat on the governing school board of the district he used to work for. Lovell says his experience as a school building leader has helped him in his first publicly elected office. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)

5 questions: Former Lakota principal, current school board member compares roles

As head of Lakota’s Creekside Early Childhood Center Lovell was on the front lines of challenges that come with educating the next generation.

And now in the second year of his first publicly elected office, Lovell said he finds some of his experiences as a school administrator helpful but adds some of the challenges of working on the governing board of Ohio’s 8th largest school system is different.

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Lovell, who is a graduate of the Butler County district and now works as an education consultant, recently sat down with the Journal-News to answer five questions:

1. What experiences from your principal leadership days at Creekside school have you found helpful as you perform your school board duties?

“A building principal is a culture builder. My role as the principal at Creekside was to ensure that our team created an environment that each child felt loved, accepted and safe while at school. While on the school board my lens is the same. How can I support our superintendent and leadership to create a positive culture in Lakota so that every child has access to a high quality education?”

2. What’s been the biggest surprise in making your jump from school administrator to a board member?

“They are two very different roles. However, throughout the work on the board I am constantly reminded how very different our schools and community can be from one building to the other. As a principal, I had the lens of what is best for my school and the community I was supporting. As a board member, it takes the ability to step out of a singular view and understand that we are the voice of a large diverse community.”

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3. What’s been the most challenging obstacle in holding your first elected office?

“Without a doubt, relationships. We are five very different people with different life experiences that we bring to the governing table. While this diversity in thought is critical in our roles, it often takes a great deal of listening, understanding and compromise to do what is best for all of our students, staff and community. When we put politics and personal agendas aside we operate in the most high-functioning way.”

4. What advice would you now give to any school principal who is thinking about leaving the profession to seek a school board seat in the same district where they once worked?

“Decisions are bigger than relationships. While building and maintaining positive relationships is critical to being on a governing board, as a former employee it can often cloud my decisions. I always need to be careful to get outside my echo chamber and recognize that I represent a way larger diverse population.”

5. What’s been the most satisfying aspect to date of being a Lakota school board member?

“If given the opportunity I … wanted to use my gifts to help make Lakota a destination district for those seeking to live in the area and educators working in the district. This board has worked hard to do just that and we are making progress. Through our work with our superintendent and treasurer we have restored and critically evaluated programming for our students such as daily K-6 specials (gym, art and music classes), all-day kindergarten and new opportunities like our Cyber Academy. While I am proud to have been part of these decisions, the job isn’t done. We must invest every dollar for the biggest impact for our future.”

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