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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Orange Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 4 yearsSalary: Jeffrey Leikin (current vice president) is the only incumbent on the ballot. The terms of board members Melanie Weltman (president) and Beth Wilson-Fish expire in 2019. Current members Jennifer Cohen and Dagmar Fellowes are not running for re-election. Other board candidates are S. Carlton Betts Jr, Rebecca A. Boyle, Deborah L. Kamat, and Sandra L. Wilson. The Orange Schools Board of Education has begun its national search for the District's next superintendent of schools as the successor to current Superintendent Dr. Edwin Holland, who will be resigning effective December 31, 2017.
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    S. Carlton Betts Jr. Nurse Manager

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    Rebecca A. Boyle Professor

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    Deborah L. Kamat Education Attorney and Compliance Director

  • Jeffrey Leikin

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    Sandra L. Wilson Registered Nurse

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Biographical Information

Explain why you want to serve (or continue to serve) on the Board of Education. What talents do you think you add to the board?

What are the most significant issues facing your school district and what is the most effective way to deal with them?

Rankings by the state affect how your district is perceived by residents and prospective residents. How should the board react to the state's performance index rankings for the district?

Age 54
Education MBA, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
Current occupation Nurse Manager System Dialysis University Hospitals
Qualifications for office I have over 12 years experience working and advocating for children, served for seven years as CEO of Children's Community Access Program (CCAP), a non-profit children's services agency.
Campaign Phone (216) 780-3549
Email address
My soul reason for running for the Orange School Board is to have an opportunity to serve the children and families of this district and use my experience and leadership to maintain excellence as well as implement improvements where needed. My wife and I originally moved to this community 13 years ago to take advantage of the excellent school system. Our oldest daughter graduated from OHS in 2013, our son is a graduating senior and we have a daughter currently in the 3rd grade, so I am personally vested in the success of the school system as well.
Orange has an excellent school system however we continue to earn a B grade in the "Indicators Met" category while spending the most per student in the state, this issue needs to be addressed so that all stakeholders know that this is money well spent. The school district is becoming more and more socioeconomically diverse, we must make sure that Orange Schools has an inclusive milieu, were all of our children are able to take advantage of the educational and extra curricular programs that the district has to offer.
Transparency and engagement is always best. This means not making excuses, educating all stakeholders on each category and what the grades mean, as well as getting all stakeholders input when developing plans to address poor performance.
Age 51
Education Ph.D. in Counseling, University of Akron: M.Ed. in School Counseling, John Carroll University; B.S. in Special Education, Miami University
Current occupation Adjunct Professor, Cleveland State University, Northcentral University, Walden University
Qualifications for office Almost 30 years experience in all sectors of public education. Experience with union negotiations
Campaign Phone (216) 225-9468
Email address
When my husband Jim and I were looking for a larger home, we researched the local communities and schools in making our decision. We specifically chose Orange Village because of the excellent schools. We now have two children attending Orange Schools--Janie, a Junior at OHS, and Johnny, an 8th grader at Brady. We chose this district over the surrounding districts because we felt Orange schools had the most to offer our family. And as 12-year homeowners, we know from experience that quality schools are one of the greatest assets in any community, even if a homeowner does not have children in the district. Strong schools lead to increasing property values. I bring almost 30 years’ experience and commitment to public education. I have worked in public K-12 districts, as well as in higher education. In addition to teaching/counseling duties, I have served on my teacher’s association executive board, was elected to a statewide board for therapists, and ran a busy mental health clinic. This background and career experiences will be an asset to me as a board member.
The incoming Board will choose a new superintendent. This is a daunting task, and one for which my background is specifically suited. My goal is to find a school leader with a strong academic background who understands our unique district and is prepared to immediately address the wide range of student abilities and cultural backgrounds of our schools. · Ensuring top program offerings that reflect the newest research-based approaches for meeting the academic needs of all students. · Encouraging transparency between the board, teachers and parents. Communication begins at the top with the incoming board and the next superintendent. · Careful and ongoing evaluation of current and future finance needs. We spend more per pupil than surrounding districts, with excellent results. But Orange district communities are entitled to know their property tax burden is meeting the needs of our district. Furthermore, the schools should be present and forceful when local development projects that may affect the tax base come before our communities.
Like any other performance ranking, the ability to interpret the data and findings is essential. There is helpful information in the state rankings. Comparisons with prior years is very encouraging. However, the state rankings also point to challenges ahead. One example is “Gap Closing.” The Board, administrators, teachers and parents together can focus on ways to leave no students behind while promoting diversity as a core value of the Orange schools. Other districts have had success with innovative training and programming for faculty and staff, including diversity in hiring and retention decisions. Orange should be implementing research based initiatives to help provide quality programming for all students which should equate to higher test scores.
Age 64
Education Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, J.D. Case Western Reserve University, M.A.
Current occupation Director of Compliance/Title IX and Disabilities Coordinator/Attorney at Ursuline College
Qualifications for office U.S. Dept. of Education attorney and mediator for 8 years; former public school teacher; private school board member; Mediation Association of Northeast Ohio board member; labor and employment attorney; former Jones Day litigation group attorney
Campaign Phone (216) 509-2927
Email address
Twitter @KamatforKids
I am running to serve on the Orange School Board because I believe that education is the most important gift we can give our children and our community. I have devoted much of my professional life to education – as public school teacher, school board member, and U.S. Dept. of Education attorney and mediator. Currently, I am the Director of Compliance/Title IX and Disabilities Coordinator, and an attorney at Ursuline College. So, I have had a broad exposure to education in different contexts.

During my eight years, at the U.S. Department of Education, I visited many different types of public schools, all over Ohio and Michigan. I met with teachers, students, parents, administrators, and community leaders, to discuss how their schools could be improved. I have had the same conversations, as a parent and candidate in our own community. From that experience and my other education experience, I know what quality education looks like.

The Orange Schools and community have always been a source of pride – a beautiful campus, a public school with a private school feel, small classes, lots of parent involvement, dedicated teachers who know the students and parents, and a wonderfully diverse student body with parents from all over the world, and of every race, religion, and ethnicity. We are what America looks like. And, education is our best opportunity to raise citizens who can live in a civil society, with dignity and respect.
If given the opportunity to serve the children of my community, these will be my goals:

1. To keep our schools academically strong: I will support strong gifted programs, honors and AP courses, and an enriched college prep curriculum. Gifted education raises the bar and enriches the curriculum for all students. All students should be taught critical thinking and analytical skills.

2. To help students develop into well-rounded, confident young adults, by supporting a broad range of extracurricular activities, including competitive sports, debate, theater, STEM programs, robotics competitions, model U.N., Destination Imagination, and Diversity Center programs, "to help students explore self-awareness, collaboration, and social responsibility through the lens of diversity".

3. To help select a new superintendent with superior academic credentials and a proven records of success who will promote strong academic values through staff selection, training, and role modeling. I will insist on transparency between the Board and the superintendent and with parents.

5. To provide support services for struggling students, during the day and after school, with extended after-school transportation home, if necessary. We need to effectively serve all of our students.

6. To increase minority representation on the faculty, so that minority students can see themselves reflected in high-achieving, positive adult role models.
Standardized test scores are just one measure of a school’s strengths. Children who love to learn, are immersed in a variety of challenging and creative learning experiences, and who are taught critical thinking skills will become lifelong learners and achieve good grades and test scores. Performance index rankings should be considered by all school districts as an opportunity to assess strengths and weaknesses and set future goals. We should continue to build on our strengths, while identifying and addressing our challenges. We also need to continue to tout our strengths. When people are seeking a new home in Northeast Ohio, they have many quality private and public schools options. Prospective residents should feel that the Orange Schools are a great fit for their children. Because of our small size, students receive a lot of individual attention and have the opportunity to participate in many different academic and extracurricular programs, to learn where their strengths and interests lie. Additionally, students in our District have the opportunity to develop friendships with students from many different backgrounds and learn to live in the real world. We have the additional advantage of parents who are committed to K-12 education and a community of outstanding educators who are committed to our children. Quality schools are a very important component of quality communities.
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Age 67
Education Akron General Hospital School of Nursing (diploma) Ohio University, BSH major School Nursing Kent State University, M.Ed, School Health Harvard University, Dr. Mel Levin program on Brain Function, certificate University of Pennsylvania, Post Gra
Current occupation Retired School Nurse from Beachwood City Schools (21 years) and Orange Schools (8 years)
Qualifications for office Elected School Board Member for Canton Montessori School and Lake Local Schools (Stark Co) National School Board Association Legislative Liaison (Stark Co) Advocated for enactment of Ohio Laws: CPR requirement for high school graduation One of five nurses to get the 1988 Nurse Practice Act enacted which permits Nurse Practitioners to work in the State of Ohio Ohio Board of Nursing First Ever Task Force to define the Delegation Rules for all nurses in the State of Ohio and after 18 months of debate authored the Rules of Delegation for all nurses As Child Advocate discovered Federal Reimbursement monies for qualified school children. Ohio PTA member Orange Boosters Board Member 2017 Orange Alumni Association, Life Member Northeast Ohio School Nurse Association, Life Member DAR, Life Member Phi Kappa Phi Education Honor Society, Member Sigma Theta Tau Int. Nursing Honor Society, Member Past Ohio School Nurse Association Director of Membership Past Northeast Ohio School Nurse Association Newsletter Chairperson Past Shaker Hockey Youth Hockey Board Member
Campaign Phone (216) 450-1290
Email address
I am known to many of the residents as Nurse Wilson or Nurse Sandy. I am the retired School Nurse from Beachwood Schools (21 years) and Orange Schools (8 years). My passion for nursing led me to be one of five nurses to get the Nurse Practice Act of 1988 enacted. This law provided for the establishment of Nurse Practitioners in the State of Ohio. After the law was enacted, the governor appointed me to the Ohio Board of Nursing First Ever Task Force to define the rules of Nursing and after 18 months of debate, I authored the Rules of Delegation for all nurses. My passion for education led to the enactment of the CPR high school requirement plus I won a National School Nurse award and have been on the staff of four schools when they received the US Dept of Education Blue Ribbon Awards (Beachwood and Canton). Having been a school board member in the past and having served as Legislative Liaison for the National School Board Association I have learned that HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS exist where all decisions are made based on what is best for children. So why would I come out of retirement to run for the Orange Board of Education? Many Orange families that know of my passion for HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS asked me to run. We own the Orange Schools. We pay the taxes that support the education programs. Everyone wants HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS for the children. As a passionate nurse and educator I am totally committed to making every decision based on what is best for the children.
We are all stake holders in the Orange Schools. We only get one chance to educate a child; therefore we must provide the best instruction each school year for the child to master the necessary knowledge to become successful in life. The residents elect the Board of Education members to represent us in all matters regarding our schools. The School Board members are to set policy and to hire and fire the Superintendent and Treasurer. Only these two positions report directly to the Board of Education. The School Board members must hold the Superintendent and Treasurer accountable. In the coming months our Board of Education will embark on one of the most important decisions, HIRING the next superintendent. On behalf of the community and children I am committed to hiring an experienced superintendent with a proven track record in leadership and improving student achievement. We are looking for a quality superintendent to lead our "HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS". So what does "HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS" mean? These are schools that focus on each child's learning needs so that each child can learn at his/her optimal level of learning. Since January I have been attending the Orange School Board meetings and committee meetings to get acquainted with our procedures. I am prepared and ready to serve the children. Please join me in voting for our "HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS". As my first decision based entirely on what is best for children, I will donate my board salary to the Orange Foundation.
The Orange City Schools Report Card from ODE needs to be improved. The ODE report card is just one measurement that is used to evaluate student performance in each school district in Ohio. Our performance index did go up this past year. Our ranking in Ohio is 44. The ODE report card revealed that Orange needs to improve student learning in the area of Mathematics. We need to maintain and strengthen all areas of instruction with the goal of giving each student the best educational experience to be able to function at their optimal level of learning. We want all student to have the knowledge to become successful in life. The Orange Board of Education members need to work together to establish a policy (goals) on the best practices in instruction. The Board of Education can achieve the community's desire for "HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS" by hiring an experienced superintendent with proven tract record in leadership and improving student achievement. The Board of Education's role is to hold the superintendent accountable for student achievement. Increasing communications to the whole community through a variety of tools will engage all stake holders in the Orange schools. The Board of Education needs to recognize students and staff for their accomplishments at the Board of Education meetings. The Board of Education needs to recognize all the community members that donate their time and efforts to improve the Orange School experience for all students. logo


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