Four seek seats on Tipp City Board of Education


TIPP CITY — Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the Tipp City Board of Education, none of whom are incumbents. Current board members Corine Doll and Joellen Heatherly, whose terms are expiring in December, are not seeking re-election to the board.

Five candidates will also appear on the ballot, but BJ Bethel withdrew his candidacy for the board. Those seeking seats on the board include Amber Drum, Richard F. Mains, Don Petsch, and Lydia E. Pleiman.

The following are responses submitted by each of the candidates:

• Amber Drum

Family information: Husband, Christopher Drum. Daughters, Jaina, 13, and Adalynn, 10.

Occupation: Travel Planner-Amber Drum with Dream Travel Consulting.

Previous political experience: None.

Qualifications: Former educator with degree in Early Childhood Education.

Reason for seeking office: The reason I am running in the school board election is that I want to help change the narrative in our community. Our current school board environment is very toxic, and I’m concerned about a trickle down effect in our school system.

The narrative right now in the Tipp City community is that the current Board of Education has lost sight of putting our children first, not listening to community concerns, and spending taxpayer money frivolously. As a former educator, I understand the basics of how a school board runs. I understand how a board is suppose to function, and I know that if I want things to change, I have to be willing to be the change. As a concerned parent and community member, it’s time to help make that change, because when it comes to our children, change can never come fast enough. It’s time to change the narrative in Tipp!

• Richard F. Mains

Family information: Hazel Mains, my wife, and three grown children, Rick Jr., Cheryl and Jeff, all graduates of Tippecanoe High School; as well as nine grandchildren, three have graduated from Tippecanoe High School and three of my youngest are in grades K–3. My youngest (6 months old) will hopefully one day attend Tipp City Schools.

Occupation: Certified Public Accountant.

Previous political experience and qualifications: I am a practicing Certified Public Accountant. I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Wright State University in 1973. I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of CPAs.

I served on the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education from 1991 through 1995. I served as vice-president in my final two years on the board. Other past leadership roles include serving as president for the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce in 1986, the Tipp City Mum Festival in 1986, the Tipp City Jaycees 1983 -1984 and the Tipp City Rotary 1997-1998.

I also served on the board for the Area Agency on Aging 1998 -2002, PSA 2 serving both as a trustee and as treasurer. I served as an advisor for the Tippecanoe Educational Endowment organization and as tax consultant for Tipp City Parents Involved in Education.

Reason for seeking office: I have been a resident of this community for 45 years. The reason we moved to Tipp City was because of the excellent reputation of our schools. I care about our kids and grandkids so much. Tipp City has always had a reputation of excellent schools. We have recently lost several teachers and administrators. I want our teachers to know how much that I and all of our community appreciate the hard work that they are doing. I want to unite our board in an effort to seek solutions to creating a positive environment for all of our teachers and administrative staff.

Goals for office if elected and what do you see as the greatest needs to be addressed in the position you seek:

1. Improving public confidence:

Public access to school board meetings is increasingly important as our community continues to grow. It is very hard for the public to have access to board meetings. The Board of Education office is only allowed public access for approximately 40 persons. The board does provide live (and recorded) streaming of its meetings, however many residents don’t have adequate technology. The public should not have to stand outside to attend board meetings. I believe that given the current public interest in school happenings, it would be nice to provide greater in person access to board meetings. Moving the monthly board meetings to one of our s chool facilities such as the high school auditorium would be helpful.

2. Developing an effective pathway for communication between the administration, teachers, and the Board of Education.

Our teachers are a treasure chest of useful information when it comes to many of the issues discussed by the Board of Education. After all, they obtained their teaching degrees in education. I believe that we should allow them to play a bigger part in many of the decisions made by the board. I want to find a way to provide easier access to and from our teachers in an effort to make the best possible decisions required of all board members.

3. Modernizing outdated facilities.

Our community values our historic and beautiful school buildings. Many of our residents have fond memories of receiving their childhood educations in these buildings. Some of our older buildings are experiencing problems with temperature control resulting in very uncomfortable environments for our students and teachers. I would like to have our board find a solution.

• Don Petsch

Family information: Married with one daughter who is a senior at Tippecanoe High.

Occupation: Manufacturer’s Sales Representative.

Previous political experience: None.

Qualifications: I’ve served on the boards of other social organizations and spent a large portion of my career bringing people together. I think I can bring some of this previous experience to the table and put our school board back on the path of serving the community as a whole.

Reason for seeking office: I’m interested in trying to solve some of the current strife in this office and at the same time focusing on the joined needs of the taxpayer and the student. Public education in the simplest form is a pooling of community resources and values to provide a public benefit. I’m interested in enabling our professionals to provide the best educational product they can with these taxpayer allocated resources. The entire board is tasked with supporting those professionals and being the voice of the values and dollars of the community which elected them.

Goals for office if elected: Stop the current strife, focus on a plan for our facilities that benefits the entire community, and support our education professionals.

What do you see as the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek: The greatest need is an open dialogue and a realignment of goals to focus on the needs of the community. I believe if we get back to a focus of the business at hand, we could eliminate the never ending meetings we are witnessing now.

• Lydia E. Pleiman

Family: My two siblings and myself were born and raised in Tipp City to two loving parents who still live in the area. My fiance, Brian, and I are planning our wedding and look forward to building a family in my hometown.

Occupation: Metrologist and part-time Apiarist.

Previous Political Experience: I have had the pleasure of serving in several leadership positions throughout my life. Although the only overtly “political experience” came in college as the Spirit Committee Chair for our Student Government Association, I have held many leadership positions in clubs, and community organizations. Most recently, I served as the Polk Grove Pastoral Search Committee Co-chair.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree, Hofstra University. I have managed teams of upwards of 30 people with moving parts; contracts; financial obligations; and deadlines. I have a good track record with ensuring fiscal responsibility and staff morale.

Reason for seeking office: I want to ensure a strong and stable future for my children and the community at large. A strong future requires stability from the school board, through the administrators, teachers, parents, and community. Serving as a member of an elected school board is a great way to create a shared vision for academic achievement by establishing a rigorous culture of learning, cooperation, transparency, and an expectation of high academic standards.

Goals for office if elected:

1. Getting ahead of potential fallout from the past 18 months.

A topic that hasn’t been addressed is any lost time in the educational timeline for students over the past year and a half. It is critical that an evaluation be done of students to ensure they are on track. If any shortcomings are found in the process, it is incumbent upon us to take early action.

2. Staff retention.

The turn-over of key positions has led to an unstable environment for the students and parents. As a member of the Tipp City School Board, I will drill down to the core of the issues which are resulting in such high loss rates of top talent. This will involve a lot of non-judgemental listening and proactive steps to retain top talent for our schools.

3. Providing flexibility for staff.

Speaking to many parents since filing for my candidacy, one of the top concerns was the rigidity of rules regarding the children of teachers. Teachers with children are more able to accommodate students’ needs if their own needs are first met. We need to find a resolution for teachers with children so they don’t feel they must rush out the door when the bell rings. We need compassion and creative problem-solving to foster a strong community.

4. Work toward resolving the facilities issues by developing a long-term vision.

What do you see as the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek: Establish trust by cultivating an environment of collaboration. The moving parts that are involved with approving an educational budget that impacts school staffing, improving facilities, professional development, providing supplies, and incidentals can lead to raised tensions. Balancing the different personalities often proves difficult, but is essential to allow everyone to row in the same direction. Everything will flow from there.

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