Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville Board of Education race

Nestor-Baker makes eight seeking seats


A former longtime Westerville school board member was a late addition last week to the field race for three seats on the board up for grabs Nov. 5, creating an eight-candidate lineup for fall voters in the Westerville City School District.

With current school board members Denise Pope and Kristi Robbins not seeking re-election, Kevin Hoffman is the only incumbent in the race for three seats.

Should all the other candidates who filed nominating petitions last week with the Franklin County Board of Elections be certified for the ballot, Hoffman will be joined by Nancy Nestor-Baker, Jim Burgess, Tracy Davidson, Luke Davis, Robert Edwards, John Sodt and the Rev. Rick Vilardo.

Nestor-Baker, 56, served for 14 years on the board of education. She was appointed in 1991 and served three subsequent full four-year terms on the board. She chose not to run for re-election in 2005.

She currently is the senior assistant vice president for community engagement at United Way of Central Ohio, after 10 years as an administrator at Ohio State University.

Burgess is the father of three Westerville students who runs his own IT consulting business. He is the director of the Westerville TEA Party and headed Taxpayers for Westerville Schools, which campaigned against the district's last two levy requests and petitioned for a levy repeal after the district passed a levy in March 2012.

Davidson is a professional tutor and mother of three Westerville students. She's active in the Westerville Parents Council, Westerville Education Challenge and PTA, and she's been involved in the district's pro-levy campaigns.

This spring, she earned a Great Educator Mentor (GEM) Award from the district for her work in the district.

Davis is the father of three Westerville students and a quality assurance and compliance coordinator for Abbott Nutrition. He's a member of the Blendon Middle School PTO and the Hanby Elementary School PTA.

Edwards has two children in the district. He is a retired IT professional who now runs his own consulting business. He founded LevyFacts.com, a website dedicated to publishing information on district finances, including salary and benefit information on all school employees.

Hoffman, a graduate of Westerville City Schools with two children in the system, is serving his third term on the board. He has served as the board's president and vice president.

Sodt is the father of four Westerville graduates. He retired as an IT consultant for the state and is a former U.S. Air Force weapons intercept officer. He now runs his own business, Midwest Deferred Compensation Advisory Service.

Vilardo has two elementary-aged children and is the pastor of NewSong Community Church. He volunteers regularly in the district and was an active part of the district's March 2012 levy bid.

The candidates filed nominating petitions with the Franklin County Board of Elections by the Aug. 7 deadline. The petitions still need to be certified by the board to finalize the ballot.