Pickerington Times-Sun

Pickerington school board race

Olshefski focused on curriculum, technology


Current Pickerington Board of Education President Cathy Olshefski said she's seeking re-election to help guide new curriculum and technology initiatives to better prepare students for life after graduation.

Olshefski, 52, is among four candidates running Nov. 5 for three seats on the Pickerington School Board.

She'll face off with fellow incumbent board members Clay Lopez, and Lori Sanders, as well as challenger Vanessa Niekamp.

Olshefski has lived in Pickerington more than 16 years, is married and has a son.

A graduate of Indiana University, where she earned degrees in finance and management and minored in accounting, she joined the school board in January 2010 after being elected the previous November.

She said she's running for another four-year term on the board to provide continued leadership to one of the Pickerington community's top assets.

"I believe in this educational institution," Olshefski said.

"I support it at all levels," she said.

"For the last four years that support has taken the form of member of the PLSD Board of Education.

"I am running for re-election to this position because my passion has not died," Olshefski said, "because I am excited about the changes that are taking place within both the district and K-12 education in general.

"I want to make sure this 'ship' remains focused on the twin goals of educational excellence and leadership."

Olshefski said chief among her priorities is ensuring the district implements new Common Core curriculum recently mandated by the Ohio Department of Education and adopted by all but five states in the U.S.

She said her goals as a school board member are in line with the Common Core's objectives of making all students college or career ready by the time they complete high school.

"One of my priorities as a member of the PLSD Board of Education is to make sure the district remains focused on properly preparing its students for what lies beyond the K-12 educational experience," Olshefski said.

"With the advent of the Common Core and (in Ohio) the new state report card for school districts and evaluation tool for teachers, there now exists a new norm in education.

"Old instructional methods and expectations are gone," she said.

"New, more rigorous ones have replaced them.

"In my opinion, all of these changes bode well for better preparing our students for the next step beyond the K-12 experience."

Further, Olshefski said the board and district will reach student achievement goals by sticking to plans currently being developed for the implementation of new curriculum and technology.

"No. 1, curriculum and course options need to be well defined and mapped, with the ultimate goal of preparing our students for today's world," she said.

"No. 2, the use of technology in the classroom should remain a priority.

"The transition from textbooks and chalkboards toward e-books and online learning is a reality," Olshefski said.

"Simply put, I believe that the arrival of technology as a partner in education will reignite the passion for learning in both teacher and student."