It's back-to-school time, and Southside STAY is once again ready to lend neighborhood schools and students a hand. As the incoming board chairman, I invite you to join that effort.

STAY is a movement of parents, educators and community stakeholders working together to support neighborhood public schools on the South Side.

My role with STAY began last winter, advising the group about my involvement in a Columbus city school board ad hoc committee.

I've worked in library public service for six years, primarily with youth and almost exclusively at South Side locations, including my current position at the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Parsons Branch.

I have a master's degree in education from Ohio State and briefly taught language arts before joining the library. I'm a Worthington native and my wife, Racheal, hails from Central Florida. She works in public service management and is a proud Gator alumna.

We bought our first home in Merion Village in 2014 and are actively engaged in Columbus' social and civic life.

In STAY, I am truly humbled to lead such a passionate group of neighborhood school champions.

I want to particularly thank and recognize Ken Flower, the outgoing board chairman, for three years of tireless service to South Side schools and students.

But what's STAY up to this year, you ask?

First, we're excited to share that two South High School pathway schools have new principals: Jameica Shoultz at Moler Elementary School and Dr. James Eslinger at Stewart Alternative Elementary School. STAY looks forward to working alongside them this school year.

Additionally, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 7 we are hosting our second Art & Craft Market at Stewart. It's free and open to the public. Last year the event introduced 200 attendees to Stewart, with prospective families touring the building and sampling art, crafts and edible fare sold by local vendors.

This year will additionally feature an 11a.m. performance by The Shazzbots, a well-known and exciting kids band sure to draw families from throughout the neighborhood and beyond. We'll also be raising funds for Stewart's PTO.

Prospective Art & Craft Market vendors can send an email to southsidestay@ gmail.com. Include a vendor name and description of what you would like to sell.

We are only considering vendors selling art or crafts items, in addition to a diverse selection of food and drink vendors.

This year, we're also asking all vendors to donate $25 to Stewart's PTO. All funds will go directly toward supporting students and teachers.

Finally, in early November, STAY will host a South Side Education Summit. Our goal is to build a collaboration of community educational stakeholders -- including teachers, parents, school officials and neighborhood and organization leaders -- in order to identify and address the biggest challenges facing schools on the South Side. More details are forthcoming.

In the meantime, follow STAY on Facebook (@southsidestay) or email www.southsidestay.org/stay-newsletter to join our contacts list.

On behalf of Southside STAY, here's to a great school year for all of our students.

Southside STAY incoming board of directors chairman Mike Alcock submitted the Village Notebook column.