Whitehall Board of Education
Six vying for three open seats; Bivens running unopposed
Seven candidates are running for four open seats on the Whitehall Board of Education.
The seven candidates all met the Aug. 7 filing deadline with the Franklin County Board of Elections and will run in this fall's general election set for Nov. 5.
Absentee and early voting begins Oct. 1.
Three four-year term seats are up for grabs. Candidates are incumbents Walter Armes, Blythe Wood and Darryl Hammock.
Challengers for those seats are Kenneth Abshire, Leo Knoblauch and Lorna Russell.
Joy Bivens, who also is on the school board, will run unopposed to fill the remaining two years of a four-year, unexpired term left vacant by Ronda Howard, who resigned earlier this year.
Whitehall school board members approved the appointment Bivens and Hammock in the spring after the resignations of Howard and her son, Brandon Howard. The appointments of Bivens and Hammock, who previously served on the board as an appointee in 2010 and 2011, were approved March 28. Bivens was chosen to serve the remainder of Ronda Howard's term, with Hammock selected to fill Brandon Howard's seat, a four-year term that expires this year.
Abshire is a longtime Whitehall resident and a Whitehall-Yearling High School graduate. He has a bachelor's degree in technical/business management from DeVry University and is a revenue-collection and pass-sales manager with the Central Ohio Transit Authority. He most recently led the city's Charter Review Commission, which is charged with reviewing the city charter and recommending changes to City Council.
He is married to Kelli Abshire and has two children.
He is a member of the Whitehall Instrumental Boosters Association and other local civic and community organizations. He applied for one of two positions on the school board earlier this year.
Armes is a veteran board member since 1990 (minus a hiatus between 1995 and 1997) and the board's current president. He is a 45-year Whitehall resident and has two daughters who both graduated from Whitehall-Yearling High School.
Armes is a retired teacher and administrator at the Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools and the then Licking County Joint Vocational School and currently serves as a supervisor of field experience and student teachers at Ashland University Columbus. He has a B.S. in education from Ohio Northern University and a Master of Science from Indiana State University and continues postgraduate studies at Ohio State University.
Bivens is the director and co-owner of Ambassador Home Health Services. She is a graduate of Capital University and Hamilton High School.
She and her family have lived in Whitehall for more than 10 years. She has been a part of a number of professional groups, including the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners, and is a past member of the Franklin County commissioners' Central Ohio Workforce Investment board of directors.
She and her husband have children enrolled in the Whitehall City Schools.
Hammock previously served on the school board and is a local pastor and a 1990 Whitehall-Yearling High School graduate. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cedarville University and received his master's degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
He is a senior pastor at the City of Refuge Baptist Church and owns a small business, Yellow Van Handyman.
Hammock has worked as a substitute teacher for Whitehall City Schools and has been a volunteer track coach at the high school since 1998. Hammock is a Whitehall-Yearling High School Hall of Fame member. He set records in track and field -- both in high school and in college. He has lived in Whitehall since 1987.
Knoblauch is a Whitehall City Council member and a lifelong Whitehall resident.
Retired from the U.S. Air Force, he currently works at Nationwide Insurance as an investment data analyst. He is a 1977 graduate of Whitehall-Yearling High School and has three associate's degrees, a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Otterbein University, Keller Graduate School of Management and Franklin University.
He is a member of several local civic and community groups and was named Whitehall's 2004 Citizen of the Year.
Russell is a facilities coordinator at Franklin University, where she has been employed for seven years. She has been a Whitehall resident for 38 years and attended Whitehall City Schools from kindergarten through graduation in 1988.
Russell has been married for 18 years and has four children, all either still enrolled or graduated from Whitehall City Schools.
Russell has served as a coach in Little League sports in Whitehall, is a member of the Parent Teacher Association and has volunteered at school.
Wood has served on the school board since 2006 and has been a Whitehall resident for more than 20 years.
She has been employed as an intervention specialist for the Pickerington Local School District since fall 2007 and has been in the field of education since 1992. Wood has a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in special education and went on to pursue a master's degree in school counseling from the University of Dayton.
Wood is married with two children, both graduates of Whitehall-Yearling High School.