I have been a resident of Northeast Ohio my entire life. I was born at Parma Hospital on January 3, 1984, my parents' first child. My brother followed in October of 1986. I was raised in Seven Hills, Ohio, where I attended John Glenn Elementary, Hillside Junior High, and Normandy High School, all part of the Parma City School District. I graduated as valedictorian from Normandy in 2002.
I continued my education at Baldwin Wallace University where I pursued a major in English and a minor in Religion. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2005. I married my husband, Curt, in June 2006 and moved with him to Ashland while he finished his M. Div. In 2007, we moved to Brimfield, Ohio, where my husband was appointed to serve his first church, Brimfield Faith United Methodist, and I began my MFA in Creative Writing though the NEOMFA. I successfully defended my thesis in November 2009, three weeks after we welcomed our first son, Caleb.
In 2010, I began teaching as an adjunct lecturer in the English Department at the University of Akron. I taught two semesters before taking a leave to deliver and care for our second son, Jude. Jude received a prenatal diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot with Absent Pulmonary Valve. He was born at the University of Michigan Medical Center where world-class heart surgeons were prepared to intervene. Unfortunately, Jude's lungs were severely underdeveloped and could not sustain life. He died on March 16, 2011, one day after his birth. My husband and I run a non-profit organization, Buckets of Hope for Tender Hearts, in his memory and have raised more than $40,000 over the past ten years to support families grieving the loss of a child.
Just over one year later, we welcomed our third son, Malachi, and moved to Mentor, Ohio, two months after his birth, where my husband served Mentor United Methodist Church. While in Mentor, we added our fourth son, Gideon, to our family. In 2014, after careful consideration, my husband decided to request a leave of absence from full-time ministry and accepted a job with Thrivent Financial.
For the first time in our marriage, Curt and I got to choose where we wanted to live. A quality school district was a top priority as Caleb was about to begin kindergarten. We loved what the Strongsville School District had to offer. It met all of our qualifications: a large, suburban district; neighborhood elementary schools; plenty of extracurricular options; solid sports and arts programs; a gifted program at the elementary level; and a plethora of AP classes.
We moved to Strongsville in September 2015, when I was 7 months pregnant with Jericho. Caleb attended Whitney Elementary for part of his kindergarten year and started at Surrarrer in first grade. Since moving, we have come to appreciate the wide variety of benefits this community offers. My kids love participating in events like the Duck Races and the Women's League Art Contest. They are also participating in the Strongsville Football League, the Strongsville Basketball League, and Swim United, among others. We are members of the recreation center and take part in many programs there. After moving around for a number of years, we have settled and made our home in Strongsville.
After careful consideration and discussion with those closest to me, I
decided to run for the BOE in January 2019. I dedicated much of 2019 to my campaign. I spent days creating campaign material and weekends knocking on doors. I sought our endorsements and opportunities to be visible in the community.
I will never forget the feeling of that first victory, November 5, 2019: the rush of adrenaline, the trembling hands, and, finally, the tears as I hugged my husband. I finished second of five candidates, about 150 votes shy of finishing first.
It has been an unexpected four years. Before we even held our first meeting in 2020, a returning board member resigned. So our first task was learning and executing the appointment process.
Then, in March 2020, the world turned upside down. Our board, with three brand new members, had to figure out how to manage over 5,000 students during a pandemic. We spent many hours on the phone, sleepless nights, and more hours debating the best course of action at meetings. Our leadership was not perfect, but I'm proud of the outcome. Strongsville kept its students in school longer and more consistently than any other district in Cuyahoga County while providing good options for students that needed to remain at home.
Now that we are post-emergency, our board has turned its attention back to typical operations. We are currently finishing up overdue strategic planning, working to pass a bond issue to allow the construction of much-needed elementary facilities, and addressing the new needs of our students and staff. My work here is not done, and I need your support to continue on in helping Strongsville become the premier district it can be.
Initiatives I've Introduced:
-Bringing extracurricular activities back to the elementary buildings
-Hiring a full-time gifted/testing coordinator
-Retiring outdated/ineffective books/materials such as Simple Solutions at the middle school
-Establishing a system of increased accountability for teachers and staff
-Increasing communication between the board and others areas of operation including transportation and food services
What do I offer?
I have four years of board leadership experience, mostly during a pandemic.
I am passionate about education.
I have experience in the classroom as a college lecturer and as substitute teacher (licensed 2007-2011).
I am a woman and a mom with elementary and middle school-aged children. I have had kids in the district for 8 years.
I am the only sitting board member or candidate who will have kids in the district past spring 2024.
I am member of the Surrarrer PTA and Strongsville Middle School PTA.
I am a good listener, a strong communicator, and an unrelenting problem-solver.