Five candidates will try for three seats on the New Albany-Plain Local Board of Education in November.

Five candidates will try for three seats on the New Albany-Plain Local Board of Education in November.

Laura Kohler, Thomas Lammers, Cheri Lehmann, Natalie Matt and Joanne Williams will run for the positions left vacant by current members Doug Flowers, Peter Horvath and board president Diane Goedeking. All will leave the board at the end of the year.

Kohler, 55, said she wants to help NA-PLS achieve a world-class status.

"I think we need strong leadership in the district, and I believe that my combination of education and both work and community-service experience puts me in a rather unique position to be able to provide that type of leadership right now," she said.

She said she has five issues on which she would focus if elected: academic excellence, financial responsibility, communication, collaboration and a change in leadership.

Kohler, a married mother of four, is a real-estate agent with New Albany Realty and previously served as a school board member in Worthington and an employee with the Ohio School Boards Association.

She has a bachelor's degree from Duke University and a master's in business administration from the University of Dayton.

Lammers, 47, said he is running because he wants to make a difference in the New Albany community.

If elected, he said, he would promise the community no new taxes and a change in district administration.

"We have the finest resources within New Albany," said Lammers, a 10-year New Albany resident and a married father of two children in NA-PLS. "We have the most beautiful buildings. We need achievement in the district to match the quality of our buildings. I'm going to get in the right leader for the school district."

Lammers, who received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, is the owner of the Blimpie Sub Sandwiches on Fodor Road and is the central regional director for Blimpie.

He previously served two years in the Army and worked with finances at Procter & Gamble.

Lehmann, 39, said she believes the district is at a crossroads.

The married mother of two elementary-age students said she would help improve the district's fiscal responsibility and communication if elected.

"I would like to help bring the trust back because I think the schools have lost the trust of the community," Lehmann said. "I think we need to have an independent committee that could also audit the school's finances. I think that would help with the trust."

As a resident of Columbus' Win-Win area of the NA-PLS district, she said she also thinks it is important to have a representative of the Win-Win area on the board.

Lehman has an associate's degree in applied science from the University of Akron and is a respiratory therapist at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

Matt, 49, said she wants to move the district's academics forward.

"I love the community, and I love the school, but I also think that while we've done a good job achieving an 'excellence with distinction' rating with Ohio proficiency and attendance standards, we are not at the place I think we have the potential to be," said Matt, who has lived in New Albany for nine years.

She also said she hopes to increase community trust in the district's fiscal reporting and create a solid strategic plan.

Matt, a married mother of five children, previously worked in advertising and has taught in both public and private schools in Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Kentucky.

She received her bachelor's degree from Williams College and a master's degree in education from George Washington University.

Williams, 50, said she is running for school board to create an open dialogue between district officials and community members.

Williams, a married mother of seven, said she wants to make the decision-making processes visible and accessible to residents.

"I want to run because I feel that as a 14-year resident that has attended 14 years worth of board-of-education meetings, finance committee meetings, pride meetings and parent-teacher meetings and has gotten to know the community as a substitute teacher and an active member of the community, I feel that I have an understanding of what we need to do to work through our challenges."

Williams has a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master's degree in sociology and public policy from the University of Chicago.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com