Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

January is School Board Recognition Month



January is School Board Recognition Month, a time to recognize our elected community members who selflessly give their time and energy in helping students thrive and fulfill their potential.
 
School boards are charged with making decisions that can sometimes be quite difficult, or require sifting through a great deal of information. They also bear responsibility for developing a vision that will guide the District for years to come. 

Thank you, Reynoldsburg City Schools Board members, for serving our students!
 
President Angela Abram
A 23-year resident of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Angela Abram is a married mother of four adult children. She was appointed to the Board December 2019 and elected November 2021. She is a pediatric developmental specialist serving children with neural diversity as well as those with differing cognitive, intellectual, emotional, physical and learning abilities.
 
Why she serves:
“I serve on the board because I am committed to serve my community, and my neighbors, to develop the potential and capacity of our youth community. Collectively, as a community, we all play a role in the development and growth of the next generation. Whether we are parents, neighbors, educators, public servants, or senior citizens, I believe we all share this responsibility. To that end, I view my service on the school board as my moral obligation and contribution to my community, to assist and support that next generation of students to be successful contributing members of society, through the lens of public service, and through public education policy and programming.”
 
Goals for 2023:
1. Draft goals and objectives to align and guide the direction of the Board
2.  Develop a Board handbook
3.  Increase community engagement regarding knowledge of district resources, state funding and grants
4. Support our District with policies and initiatives that provide the best educational outcomes for our students and staff, given our limited resources.
5. Welcome our incoming superintendent, Dr. Reed, by providing best board practices and governance to support her success.
 
Vice President Debbie Dunlap
Debbie Dunlap is the Board vice president and is in her second term as a Board member. She and her family have lived in Reynoldsburg for 26 years. She and her husband have three children: two who graduated from Reynoldsburg High School and a current high school senior. She is the editor of The Reynoldsburg Magazine, chair of the Reynoldsburg Education Foundation, and is a substitute teacher in the Licking Heights Local School District. 

Why she serves:
 “I serve on the Board of Education because I strongly support public education and I want to help ensure that ALL our children in Reynoldsburg have access to equitable and excellent opportunities to succeed.  

“We all know that education is the building block and foundation for all that we strive to achieve in life, and by providing for that well-rounded education that not only addresses the three R's, but soft skills and access to the arts as well, we are lifting up our youth in a way that no other public body can. It has always been my goal to help facilitate those opportunities in a respectful and inspirational environment that values all students and staff, and help build a bridge to the success of our community as a whole.
 
“I have always been an advocate for my children's education. Becoming a Board member allowed me to take that advocacy to a higher level for the entire community.”  
 
Goal for 2023:
“My goal this year is to help foster a positive climate and culture in our school community, and to support our new superintendent, Dr. Tracy Reed, and our new BOE President Angela Abram, in a very honest and constructive way.  
 
“This will be a year of healing and reconstruction after some tumultuous times recently. We ARE REYNsilient, and I plan to support our staff as we move forward, providing opportunities for kids and celebrating their successes, embracing this diverse community that I love. Sometimes that means making tough decisions that are not always popular. But at the heart of it all are the kids; they are the baseline for every decision I make.”  
 
 
Julie Towns
Julie Towns has served on the Reynoldsburg City Schools Board of Education since January 2022. Her two daughters are students in the District, and she has been an elementary teacher for 22 years.
 
Why she serves:
“I serve on the school board to act as an ambassador between our district and our community. I advocate for public education, and work to ensure our students have quality education and equal opportunities.”
 
Goals for 2023:
“My goals for 2023 are to create a shared vision making student achievement a priority, create a safe learning environment, and implement a school culture where every person feels valued and has the resources needed to feel empowered to bring about necessary change in the system.”
 
 
Neal Whitman
Neal Whitman is serving his second term on the Board. He and his wife have two children who graduated from Reynoldsburg High School. He works at the Intercultural English Language Programs in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, where he teaches academic writing, as well as spoken English for international teaching assistants; and develops learning materials.
 
Why he serves:
“Serving on the school board is one way that I can do ‘what I can, with what I have, where I am’ to make the world a better place. What I have is a respect for public education, and a desire for every child to become their best self, live their best life, and help others do the same.” 

Goals for 2023:
“The top priority is to determine the future of the Hannah J. Ashton Middle School. It’s a piece of history in the heart of old Reynoldsburg, and we need to decide before the end of this school year if we want it to go on as primarily a school building or to be put to some other purpose. The answers to those questions will shape future decisions in many other areas: the distribution of grade levels, student enrollment, transportation, and construction, to name just a few. 
 
“Another goal is to finally get all-day kindergarten in all our elementary schools. Believe it or not, the district has been doing all-day kindergarten here and there, in fits and starts, since at least 1994. But we still don’t have it in every building; we’ve only managed to get it in specific buildings where we’ve been able to fund it via grants. However, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that children who have all-day kindergarten have a huge advantage over those who don’t. Not having all-day kindergarten for every student in this day and age means we’re falling short on at least two of the pillars in our strategic plan: We’re not ‘enabling students to achieve their full potential’ (Student Learning), and we’re not ‘equitably distributing resources’ (Finance). 

“One other goal comes to my mind as a member of the Board negotiation team: It’s about time to renegotiate the bargaining agreement with our teachers. Their current one officially ends this summer, and I would like to have a new one in place, approved by the Board and the Reynoldsburg Education Association, before the current one is done. Of course, it’s more important to get it right than to get it done by a certain date, because we can always make the effective date retroactive. Still, everyone rests a little easier when they know the renewal is ready to go. So I’m ready to lean on a strength I didn’t know I had when I first came on to the Board: I’m good at listening to people’s concerns, without getting angry, and asking questions until I understand the issue fully.” 
 
Mandy Young
Mandy Young has been a Board member since January 2022. She is married and has two children; her oldest daughter is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and her youngest is a student at STEM Middle at Baldwin Road. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in English from Ohio State, and is currently an insurance analyst.

Why she serves:
“My dad was a huge influence on my decision to be a Board member. Over time, other individuals joined his cause and encouraged me to run. After much thought, I ran to serve on the Board and strive to be someone that can be trusted to make objective decisions in regard to our most cherished stakeholders — our students.”
 
Goals for 2023:
“Serving our District and stakeholders is a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. Always being willing to listen and learn is my biggest goal. I hope to refocus on the promises I made during my campaign to focus on staff retention and be fiscally responsible. I also plan to participate in professional development whenever I can.”  

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