Two incumbents are running unopposed in the November election for their seats on the New Albany-Plain Local school board.

Two incumbents are running unopposed in the November election for their seats on the New Albany-Plain Local school board.

Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Oct. 4.

Board president Mark Ryan, 45, has lived in New Albany since 1999. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and in his professional career, he has worked in sales, operations, human resources, finance and strategy.

He is completing his first term, which began in 2008.

Ryan said the most pressing need of the district “is to deliver on its mission in a way that is mindful of its resources. Good planning and innovative thinking allowed us to accommodate an increase in population with the programming, staffing and facilities we have, but these efforts reach a point of diminishing return.”

He said the school district has responded effectively to current economic conditions and its own financial situation.

“Economic conditions in the last three years have necessitated innovative approaches to staffing, programming and space allocation to accommodate a growing population,” he said. “These efforts will continue and we will deliver value for the investment.

“Going forward, efforts like benchmarking, formative assessment, rigorous evaluation and professional development will allow the district to improve academic achievement.”

Michael Klein, 42, has lived in New Albany for seven years. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s in marketing and communication from Franklin University. He is a quality-assurance analyst at Anheuser-Busch InBev.

He said the most pressing need of the district is “additional space to accommodate the growing student population.”

“During the last four years, our district has been one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state, with over 500 (additional) students coming onto our campus,” Klein said. “Over 4,400 students attend our district on a campus designed for under 4,000 students. In the next five years, our district expects over 400 more kids to attend our schools. All available space is currently being utilized (including the 2-5 annex, which now houses a majority of our fifth-grade students).

“The challenge becomes finding space to accommodate these children who already live in our community while trying to fulfill our district’s new vision and mission and providing the excellent education our community has come to expect.”

Klein said cooperation with the community is necessary to deal with the effects of the recent recession and the district’s financial outlook.

The district “will move forward with its mission to ensure the development of high-achieving, ethical, self-directed curious citizens of the world in these tough economic times with the collaboration of our entire community,” he said. “Our collaboration is already continuous and ongoing, invoking the insight of staff, students and community stakeholders on our benchmarking advisory committee, who are charged with studying our country’s best school districts and learning best practices while focusing on our mission.

“The formation of our financial review and reporting committee has helped lead discussions and make suggestions on our district’s budget (helping find savings of over $600,000 last year) while continuing to place students first and focusing on the district’s mission.”

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