Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide for the Nov. 5, 2019 elections are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot. Guide does not include uncontested races.

Northwestern School Board {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Elect 2

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  • Candidate picture

    Jill Acuff

  • Candidate picture

    Karen Elder

  • Brian Hart

  • Candidate picture

    Dan Kegley

  • Candidate picture

    Joseph Tedeschi

  • Candidate picture

    Ryan T Wallace

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Biographical Information

What is your top priority if elected?

What do you believe is the biggest problem the district faces?

Northwestern recently received an overall grade of “B,” on their state report card, making it the highest rated district in the county. How you plan to make sure Northwestern stays highly ranked?

What is one thing you believe the district is doing well?

What is one thing you believe the district could be doing better?

How do you plan to work with parents, staff and the superintendent?

Experience Currently serving my 12th and last year on the Clark County Developmental Disabilities Board. President for the last 4 years. I have 12 years of education regarding financials, budgets, board policies and procedures. Extremely involved in strategic planning, annual action plans, vision statements, policy and procedure making, levy business, bargaining and non-bargaining contracts.The financials, mandates, rules and regulations are very similar across the DD Board and NW Board.
Education I have a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University in Biological Science and an associate degree in Business Management and an associate degree in Marketing both from Sinclair Community College. Been on the Ethics Council, personnel committee, finance committee and have have been part of the decision-making process for thousands of Clark County clients and their families.
Open communication between Board members, Superintendent, staff, students and the public. Being fiscally responsible with school resources. Keeping our kids safe is very important to me as I have 2 children in the NWLS district. Securing the SRO for NW needs to be addressed along with other security needs (be it personnel, equipment, technology, grants etc.) to keep our kids and staff safe.
Addressing mental health and having adequate resources to do so is a major issue in most school districts. Fiscal spending within our district to cover existing costs of running the school needs to be fine tuned at the same time. Affordable benefits and a market grade salary for the staff is also an important aspect of fiscal responsibility. You can’t very well spend money you don’t have, and fiscal responsibility is very important to our district due to the high number of fixed income residents and the already voted on property tax for those that own property in the district. I also believe that the public perception of the Board isn’t a very positive one. Communication across all lines needs to be addressed. Having attended the last 2 years of Board meetings for NWLS, I have come to believe that the elected board members of NW have the community’s best interest at the forefront. However, this hasn’t been communicated effectively though the methods that are currently being used.
While an overall grading of B is to be commended, there were 3 areas that were given a D. I believe that these areas need continued work and attention. One of the major areas to score a D is the area Prepared for Success. If we aren’t preparing our students for future opportunities, what are we doing? Are the opportunities that we are preparing them for going to be there in the future? According to the current report card, NWLS graduates don’t seem to be well prepared for all future opportunities. This could be an occasion for the Board to explore what opportunities may be coming to the area, delve into what may be changing in opportunity that’s already here. I believe that more emphasis needs to be placed on the areas of common living skills. Balancing finances, calculating taxes, cooking meals, being able to do simple upkeep of various household, daily used items.
Part of the Board meetings are filled with teachers, coaches and staff telling about the behavior changes they are seeing in kids that they didn’t think possible due to the PBIS system (Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports) implemented throughout the school. The emphasis is on prevention of undesired behavior and not punishment for it. I believe this can also play an important role in the mental health aspect of keeping kids and staff safe while at school and hopefully will translate into their homes as well. The SEL program (social and emotional learning) seems to go hand in hand with the PBIS. It establishes positive relationships and emphasizes empathy and the importance of making responsible decisions. Both of these go along with the R factor training outlined in the Strategic Plan the Board developed for the school year. One of the aspects of the R factor training is that it gives you skills to slow down and think before speaking so as to make a wise decision.
I believe the perceived image of how the board uses taxpayer money isn’t a very good one. The fiscal responsibility of the board needs to be communicated in a better manner. I’m not sure what that looks like for NWLS, but avenues need to be researched and tried.
Being on the DD Board for 12 years has afforded me the ability to advocate not only for my daughter that has Down Syndrome, but for hundreds of people like her. I have had to stand up in ways I never thought I could. I have learned so much by going through the IEP process and continue to grow and learn along with my daughter as her education career at NWLS develops. I am extremely knowledgeable with the IEP process and most of its legal aspects. I am also knowledgeable of the Student Handbook having used many of the steps in it to handle what my daughter needs. I believe this will help me transition to be a confident board member and give our community a voice they might not have without me. I have been given the opportunity to attend some of the same events that Mr. Steiner and current NWLS Board members attend. I have been to NWLS Board meetings for the the last 2 years and believe that the current Board members and Mr. Steiner are familiar with me and what I stand for.
Experience I have been an educator for 28 years. I have experience as a teacher, literacy specialist, instructional coach, curriculum coordinator and project based learning specialist. I co-authored a RttT grant securing $2,365,000. I was responsible during the life of that grant to prepare and review contracts for Board approval, submit a budget to ODE for approval and prepare the PD plan. I co-authored a $11,200,000 Straight A grant and provided PD to teachers in the consortium for PBL lesson planning.
Education BS Wright State University, Education, MS University of Dayton, Implementing an Independent Reading Program. University of Dayton and BASA. I possess an elementary license 1-8, Principal License 4-12 and Superintendent License.
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My top priority is to ensure that Northwestern continues to be financially responsible while meeting the priorities of the District’s strategic plan.
School funding allocated to the District. When unforeseen circumstances change the budget, adjustments must be made to cover the unexpected costs. These adjustments have a negative effect on all areas of a District budget. We have an upcoming levy renewal, and it is imperative that the Superintendent and School Board work together to explain to the community why passage of this levy is important.
To stay highly ranked Northwestern teachers and administrators need to continue to use data to monitor and evaluate progress. The District must allocate resources where they can make the most difference and to continue to strive to improve instruction and learning for every child.
Standardized test scores can be a good indication of a district’s quality, however, indication of success is much deeper than the test scores. I believe our staff continues to motivate our students and have raised their level of expectations in their classrooms. I believe they stay positive with our students and promote growth mindset. They provide remediation when necessary. Our staff develops positive relationships with their students and their families. As a community we are proud of our staff and their commitment to the education of our students.
Communicating to the community on how they can support our schools. Our events are well attended by the families that have children attending Northwestern, however, I think that when our children graduate, there is not effective communication to make feel welcome to participate and continue to be involved in events.
By building on current partnerships, creating new partnerships and providing open communication with parents, staff, superintendent and the community. Oftentimes parents do not know how to communicate with school officials. We need to recognize that some members of the community may not communicate due to language or cultural differences or of their own past negative experiences with their own education. I will create opportunities for all stakeholders to have a voice and will value their opinions. I will assist in finding resources to support our students, teachers and parents. .
Experience I have twenty-two years’ experience as an auto mechanic with Ford Motor Company with four additional years as a member of management in both the parts and service departments. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work with many different people at various levels of the company and have also been involved with many forward-facing Ford sponsored programs. I hold 57 certifications that range from how to answer the telephone professionally to identifying signs of money laundering.
Education I graduated high school in 1993 and then attended Bowling Green University. I transferred to Defiance College in northwestern Ohio after completing my freshman year at Bowling Green so that I could be closer to my part time job. After one year there I started working full time at a Ford dealership and going to ITT Technical Institute in the evenings where I graduated from with an Associate’s Degree in automotive service technology.
My top priority would be moving more towards a real-world, skills-based curriculum and away from standardized testing. I would also prioritize advocating for additional programs at Northwestern that would be geared towards problem solving rather than memorization.
Right now I believe school security is a priority. We need to keep our kids safe while they learn the ways of this word. Mental health of the students is just important as most studies. One of the biggest impacts on my kids at the school hasn't been from any particular subject but rather from the teachers who teach. When I went to school there were not nearly as many kids in the class and teachers had the opportunity, and freedom, to work more one on one. By either reducing class size or by adding staff we can provide more individualized support. I'm not talking about counseling but rather just being there when students need it. If you have to suspend a student for behavior then you have already failed as the time to work on the behavior that is causing problems is before it becomes a problem.
I believe we can do better by using our community resources to expand student’s knowledge. While it would be naive to say we do not need to follow state regulations, I do believe we can become a stronger district by implementing a little more common sense and spending resources wisely. Just remember that a resource doesn’t mean just money. We have an entire district full of people who went to school, work, and apply things they learned every day. Why not use that?
One thing I feel we do an exceptional job at is hiring quality people. The school is just a building, but what makes it come alive are the people who work there.
Like I touched on before I think we can do a better job in using our resources. We need to set up programs to get the community involved more. Career days, job fairs and mentoring programs are just a few examples. While I realize there are rules and regulations, we need to have more flexibility in how our kids are taught. They say it takes a village to raise a child but imagine what we could do with an entire district that comes together.
I have learned over the many years working that in order to do a good job leading that it requires listening. Just because you do not agree with someone does not mean their opinion is worthless. We need to come together as one. If it takes setting up more community events or meetings, then that is what we need to do. Working together when you have differences of opinion is hard but needs to be done. My wife and I accomplish this each day regardless of being on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Nobody is going to make everyone happy but giving a voice to everyone creates atmosphere where things get done and everyone is involved.
Experience Home building supervisor 1993-2000, Business Owner 2000-Present, Board Member Building Industry Association of Clark County 2010-Present, President Building Industry Association of Clark County 2015-Present, Zoning Commission Board German Township 2017-Present, Zoning Appeals Board German Township 2016-2017
Education High School
I would like to see more STEM opportunities offered within our schools. We must also continue to prioritize the physical and emotional safety of our students.
A challenge for our district is keeping the budget balanced and using the tax payer’s money wisely. This is always going to be the largest problem that a district will face.
We must continue to do everything we can to support our teachers and staff and provide relevant professional development to continually improve with educating our students. We also need to continue to provide emotional support to our students and staff, assist teachers so that they can focus on the students and provide an environment where the students and staff feel safe.
Based on our state test scores, the staff is doing an excellent job teaching our students. The district has implemented a couple of new programs PBIS (Positive behavioral interventions and support) and SEL (Social emotional learning). These programs are intended to reinforce positive behavior choices. In turn, this has created a better learning environment among our students.
As a district, we can improve with our communication with the public. I believe that the more information provided to our community about our students, staff and how our tax dollars are being spent, will result in more public support in the future. For example, some tax dollars must be spent on specific projects, and to unknowing community members, if left unexplained, this could cause a lack of support in the future.
I will always be open to listen to community, parent and staff concerns, and will communicate these concerns to the board and superintendent for discussion. I will encourage the community, parents and staff to attend our board meetings and to be a part of the discussion and solution to any issues or concerns that they may have.
Experience Current Board Member- Northwestern Local School Board of Education, Appointed- June, 2019.
Education Catholic Central High School, Steubenville, Ohio. Associates Degree in Criminal Justice- Eastern Gateway Community College, Steubenville, Ohio. Attended- Urbana University, Urbana, Ohio.
Upon my appointment to the Northwestern Board of Education I have been afforded the opportunity to be involved in a variety of business already. One thing that has become clear to me is a board member must work with the other members, staff and administration to achieve positive results for our children. My top priority will continue to be working effectively for all students of Northwestern Schools.
Since becoming a member of the Northwestern Board, I have become more aware of issues regarding finances. The amount of money need to effectively operate the schools is costly. Northwestern is not unique in this matter, as all school districts are faced with increased operating cost and revenue issues. Northwestern schools will be faced with an upcoming levy renewal. Levies for any school district are essential. The renewal of levies cannot be taken for granted as homeowners and workers in the district want to make sure their money is being used efficiently. As a member of the school board it is important that I do my part to make sure our communities money is being used wisely. If the community feels the money is not being used as needed, they have the ability to say no to future levies. This would undoubtedly be the biggest problem for our district.
This achievement is exciting and something to be proud of for sure. I plan on continuing to work with the other school board members to make sure that we continue to fulfill our responsibilities. We must continuously evaluate the courses of study, support the need for enhanced programs and curriculum, while efficiently purchasing new equipment and technology. These responsibilities are undoubtedly important and necessary for our children to have the best opportunities to be competitive and succeed. Developing and implementing best practices for success will ensure we stay highly ranked.
I believe that the district is doing many things well. The fact that we did achieve the highest overall grade on the state report card of any Clark County schools is proof. Credit for this achievement has to be shared by the entire team of staff and administration and our Northwestern families commitment to our children's education. The district has built a very strong foundation that is supported by the Northwestern Community. The school is truly the cornerstone of our community.
Many times, issues that arise within the school district are really due to miscommunication. I believe that the district recognizes this component could be better. The need for better communication with parents, staff and students is essential. Enhancing the ways we communicate while getting the Northwestern community more engaged is already being developed. I look forward to being part of this process as these initiatives continue to grow.
My experiences over the past 28 years has afforded me the opportunity to work with a very diverse community. I understand the need to listen and effectively communicate. I understand that if a member of our community has questions, we are obligated to provide them clear answers. I believe that my career in not only public service, but community service, has provided me with unique experiences and better skills. I spent many years working in community education, outreach and training programs at all levels. Treating all members of the Northwestern Community respectfully, regardless of opinions or differing points of view is essential. I understand the value of communication and working as a team to get things accomplished. I will do my best to bridge the gap that exist for members of the community that may feel their voice is not heard. I will continue to build relationships with parents, staff and the superintendent. These relationships will be essential to our future successes.
Experience Church Volunteer (Medway Church); Attorney; Arbitrator; Ohio High School Basketball Official; Board of Directors for Friends of the New Carlisle Public Library; Former Board of Directors for the Springfield Arts Council; Former NCAA D2 Assistant Football Coach; and High School Alumnus of American Legion Buckeye Boys’ State
Education Juris Doctor, St. Louis University School of Law; and B.S. Business Administration, The Ohio State University
I have a Five Point Plan. Details for each priority can be found at

1. Recruit and Keep our Talented Educators; 2. Improve Communication and Transparency for Parents; 3. Increase Emphasis on the Trades; 4. Leverage College Credit Plus; and 5. Create New Community Value
All districts are facing pressures for more STEM programming. STEM is here to stay, but there is no need to make it the sole focus. Northwestern is uniquely set in a rural community and we should not feel pressured to sway from our roots despite the outside pressure. Instead, I think Northwestern should continue to embrace the trades, like farming and agriculture. We have to be sure not to allow our students to feel like the only option is college. Let’s continue to grow our relationship with 4-H and FFA, and work on ways to expand learning opportunities in the trades.
As a former college assistant football coach, I know that institutional consistency is key to ensuring success. Turnover causes turmoil. Consistency wins games. We need to continue to trust the leaders in our district and ensure they have the tools to do their job effectively. As my dad would say, "If it’s not broke son, don’t fix it."
The district does a lot of things well, and that is why this election to fill vacancies is so important. We need qualified, motivated leaders who care about Northwestern’s community. Leaders that are directly invested in Northwestern’s success. As a bonus-dad to a seventh-grader at Northwestern Junior High School, I think the thing that stands out the most to my wife and I, is that the Northwestern community feels like family. That’s something you can’t teach. It’s the “It” factor. And Northwestern has “It.”
I think every district faces questions about how it can increase funding. However, in the near future, I think a challenge will turn toward how districts recruit and retain talented teachers. It's a catch-22. But ultimately, you have to create an environment where teachers can thrive. With the increase in STEM and other specialized schools, competition for teachers will increase, and so I would like to see Northwestern be ahead of the curve, and make that our top priority. We can always increase funding, but it will not matter if we cannot recruit and retain our talent. Teachers want more than just money. They want to feel valued. Like their ideas matter. That should be where this conversation begins.
Increase communication and transparency. You can never have too much of it. From lockdown alerts to homework assignments, we have to ensure parents, staff, and students are well-informed. We have to listen to the suggestions and concerns of our community. We are a family, and trust is paramount to successful relationships. Let’s also continue to make communication faster and easier. I think our new app and phone alert system are great examples. We can keep building in this area.