Ask Worthington Board of Education candidate Sam Shim about any issue facing the schools, and some part of his answer is the same: It is the kids that are most important.
"Education is something I am very passionate about," he said. "I want to make sure my kids get the best education they can get and that all students get the best educations they can get."
Shim, the only candidate who isn't an incumbent, has two children, both attending Evening Street Elementary School. He said he believes that is part of what sets him apart from the other three candidates who are vying for three seats on the board.
Jennifer Best, Marc Schare and David Bressman are the incumbents. None has children still in school.
"It's important to have some board members with skin in the game," he said.
Shim is not challenging a particular board member, he said. After all, he said, he will have to work with everyone if he is elected.
He already is a regular, having attended board meetings for the past couple of years. His presence became obvious a year ago, when he was one of the co-chairmen of the successful pro-levy campaign and offered his opinion on the size and timing of the levy and bond issue.
Shim also serves on the treasurer's advisory committee and the committee advising on technology matters. That committee has $10 million to spend in coming months, and deciding how that money should be used is important, he said.
He also is a former treasurer of the PTA at Evening Street.
The upcoming contract talks with teachers will provide an opportunity for the board to partner with teachers who accepted salary and benefit concessions in their last contract, he said.
Worthington needs to stay competitive with salaries offered in districts like Dublin and Upper Arlington, he said.
"It's not a numbers game; it's about what is best for the kids," he said. "I believe in the win-win scenario."
Shim said he currently is "at home working," but he has held positions with such companies as Anheuser-Busch, CompuServe, Ernst & Young, and Owens Corning. Most recently, from 1997 to 2005, he was an auditor for Lucent Technologies.
He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in computer and information science and a master's of business administration from Ohio State University.
"I care about education," Shim said. "As a board member, I would want to foster an environment to inspire kids to achieve their dreams."
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, but early and absentee voting began Oct. 1.