Three candidates are vying for two open seats on the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Board of Education in the Nov. 5 election.
Incumbents Daphne Moehring of Lily Pond Court and Beryl Brown Piccolantonio of Riva Ridge Boulevard are being challenged by Jon Handler of Arcaro Drive.
Handler, 41, said he decided to seek office, because he wants transparency and to be a decision-maker in his children's future.
"With one daughter in fourth-grade and another one year away from kindergarten, there is no better time for me to get involved then now," he said. "Both my wife and I are 100 percent invested in our wonderful schools and community."
As a small business owner for over 10 years, Handler said, his experience would bring a new set of eyes and ideas to lead students and schools into the future.
"Our Gahanna community has an amazing opportunity to be a part of something so special," he said. "We get to make decisions as to how our schools will look and grow for the current and next generation of students. It would be such a huge honor for me to earn a seat on the Gahanna school board to represent our students, teachers, administrators and future."
Handler is a 1996 Bexley High School graduate and received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Kansas in 2000.
Handler and his wife, Julie, are the parents of daughter Charlie, 9, a fourth-grader at High Point Elementary School, and daughter Ryan, 4.
He's a school volunteer and a member of the events committee for the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation. He's also president of the Ohio State Bail Bond Association.
Piccolantonio, 42, said she has proudly served as president of the G-J board of education for almost four years, where she also serves as the district's legislative liaison and a member of the student learning and achievement committee.
"I am running for reelection because while I believe I have fulfilled election promises to ensure that the board was more student-focused, transparent, engaged with the community, fiscally responsible, forward planning and professional, I believe I still have valuable experience to contribute," she said. "I am passionate about education and ensuring our children receive a high-quality education. I have the proven experience, skills and broad perspective required for our board to operate professionally, transparently and efficiently."
Piccolantonio said several key accomplishments since her election in 2015 include completing the Master Facility Plan with community input and passing a levy to begin implementing the plan, hiring a superintendent who puts students first, providing all students with Chromebooks or other new technology, placing a mental health specialist in each elementary building, establishing three new committees for public dialogue, starting videotaping of board meetings and audiotaping of committee meetings, and developing a set of fiscal beliefs to guide budget decisions.
She received a law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, a bachelor's degree from Ohio Dominican University and completed graduate work in Child Cognitive Development at Kent State University.
She has been married 17 years to Andy Piccolantonio. They are the parents of Vincent, a sophomore, Max, an eighth-grader and Alex, a fourth-grader, all of whom attend Gahanna schools.
Piccolantonio serves as a member of the Eastland-Fairfield School Board, the Ohio School Board Association Board Member Cabinet, the OSBA Federal Relations Network and the Kid's Voting of Central Ohio advisory board. She also is chair of the Gahanna Civil Service Commission.
She also belongs to the Columbus Bar Association Women Lawyers of Franklin County, the Ohio State Bar Association Women's Lawyers group and Ohio Women in Government.
Piccolantonio is a PTA member of High Point Elementary School, Gahanna Middle School East and Gahanna Lincoln High School.
She also volunteers for the Ohio Center for Law Related Education's We the People, Mock Trial and Moot Court programs, and has served as a faculty in residence for the OSU John Glenn New Leaders program.
Moehring, 56, said she's running for reelection to contribute her leadership skills and financial experience to the district for creating the most effective and high-performing educational environment for the district's children.
"Education is the foundation for young people becoming contributing citizens and wholesome neighbors," she said.
Moehring has a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in finance from Capital University
She and her husband, Boyd Moehring, are the parents of daughters, Hallie and Mallory, both Gahanna graduates.
Moehring is a member of the G-J Education Foundation, Gahanna Kiwanis and Daughters of the American Revolution.
She also is a 10-year Girl Scout leader, a Peace Lutheran Church volunteer and a prior PTO member and officer.
NOTE: Look for candidate Q&As and additional election coverage in the coming weeks in ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise and online at ThisWeekNEWS.com.