Tri-Village News

Newest board members have goals in mind

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Newly elected Grandview school board members already agree on one thing: They want to create opportunities for students and teachers in art, technology and higher-level coursework.

Incumbent Grant Douglass was elected to his second four-year term Nov. 5. Former Grandview Heights High School principal Jesse Truett and small-business owner and photographer Stephanie Evans won their first board terms.

Douglass was re-elected with 1,070 votes. Truett earned 1,033 votes and Evans, who ran as a write-in, garnered 696 votes.

Former Grandview mayor and City Council member John Leutz received 561 votes and former school board secretary Sandra Kipp took 266 votes, according to final, unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections. Both Leutz and Kipp also ran as write-ins.

"There is already some great forward momentum happening and I look forward to being a part of that," Evans said about being elected.

Evans, a mother of three in the district, owns a photography studio in Grandview. Passionate about the arts, Evans said she wants to use opportunities in art already available within the community to educate students beyond the classroom.

"There's options that are truly right here in our community, and downtown Columbus is only a few minutes away," Evans said. "I think we can take advantage of more of the opportunities presented there."

She said she hopes to incorporate more performance and studio arts in the schools by blending arts and STEM curriculum. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We can reach more learning that way and expose our kids to more arts and culture," Evans said.

Truett, a father of three with his eldest in kindergarten, has worked in various high schools in central Ohio as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Most recently, he resigned as principal of Grandview High School in 2011. Truett served as assistant principal, then principal at Newark High School from 2002-08, and as a math teacher at Westerville North High School from 1997-2002.

Currently, he's a senior director at the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Familiar with the high school, Truett said he wants to see more students take advantage of the higher-level coursework available.

"I really want to see goals that are very measureable and centered for student growth and development and see what our output is like," Truett said. "What are the opportunities our graduates had and how many are taking advantage of those opportunities?

"We need to ensure that the kids at the graduation level are leaving with the experience and transcripts to allow them to be very competitive internationally," he added, "and I think the district has made a lot of growth in that in the past few years."

Part of that growth may be attributed to the school board incorporating more technology in the classroom. Douglass said he plans to continue the board's work in pushing technology, such as providing Internet-access devices for students.

Within the next year, every high school student will have either a laptop or tablet computer to use in the classroom. Students will have the option to bring in their own or be provided a basic model by the district, Douglass said.

The current laptops in the high school will be handed down to the middle school students until every student has a device to use, Douglass said.

"I'm fairly positive that in the next four years, every child will have a device when they come in the classroom," he said.

The high school recently saw a huge improvement in technology. Last month, an anonymous donor gave $200,000 to the school for new computers, a 3D printer and IT improvements in the classrooms.

Additionally, the board of education has helped to update the schools' Wi-Fi capabilities and create a single-content management platform. Teachers, students and parents have access to the platform to view syllabi, homework and assignments, Douglass said.

"We're not about meeting the state's standard in technology in Grandview," Douglass said. "We're about meeting what the standard that should be issued for society and what should be issued for when you go to college."

Douglass, Evans and Truett will be sworn in during the first board meeting in January. Current board member Katie Clifford will step down at the end of the year.

 

Also on the ballot

In the unopposed race for four Grandview City Council seats, incumbent Anthony Panzera earned the most votes last week with 963, according to the board of elections.

Newcomers Chris Smith, Greta Kearns and Steve Papineau will join council next year after taking 926, 819 and 800 votes, respectively.

Current council members Steve Reynolds, Susan Jagers and P'Elizabeth Koelker all chose not to run and will leave council at the end of the year.

The race for Marble Cliff Village Council also was unopposed. The only new face in the race, Dow Voelker, came out on top with 149 votes, followed by incumbents Matthew Cincione with 148 votes, John Kukura with 142 votes and Linda Siefkas with 129 votes.

Incumbent David Roark will step down at the end of 2013 after choosing not to run.

Both Grandview liquor options passed easily.

La Tavola, set to open at 1664 W. First Ave., earned the right to sell liquor on Sundays with a 258-36 vote. Rancho Alegre, 1075 Dublin Road, earned the same privilege with a 200-23 vote.

Finally, Issue 39 in Clinton Township was approved by voters 350-118. This will allow Grandview to partner with the township in a tax-sharing agreement.

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