The Westerville City Schools Board of Education has two candidates running for two available seats in the Nov. 5 general election.

Vaughn E. Bell, a Harvest Wind Drive resident, is running to retain the seat he was appointed to in November 2018.

Jennifer Aultman of East Broadway Avenue is poised to fill the seat of board member Gerrie Cotter, who isn't seeking reelection this fall.

The petition of challenger Vashitta Johnson was short one valid signature for certification so she won't be on the ballot, according to Aaron Sellers, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Bell, 51, said he wants to retain his board seat to continue building upon the legacy of student success in Westerville and to continue ensuring that every child within the school district boundaries has access to an excellent education.

As a board member, Bell said, his goals are to help the district continue to maintain high student success; prioritize student social and emotional well-being; encourage and embrace district diversity; and provide financial accountability.

Bell has a master of divinity degree from the United Theological Seminary and a bachelor's degree in economics from Ohio State University.

He is a widower with two daughters in the Westerville schools.

Bell is chairman of the Leadership Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Project; a member of Leadership Westerville; president of the Westerville Area Ministerial Association and Westerville African American Parent Association, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Aultman, 44, said she firmly believes the Westerville schools are the most important community asset.

"I attended Westerville City Schools and now my three kids attend here -- one in elementary, one in middle and one in high school," she said. "As a parent and dedicated volunteer, I know our schools' strengths and opportunities for improvement."

She has served on several district committees, volunteered in classrooms and co-founded the Westerville Partners for Education.

"I have worked hard to gain the experience and knowledge needed to always put students first, and engage the broader community in our schools," she said.

Aultman said she would seek efficiencies to reduce costs while keeping programming strong and work to ensure student and staff safety and well-being in the schools.

She said she would also like to help build diverse pathways of joyful learning that lead to bright futures for all students.

She doubled majored in environmental science and archaeology, receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.

Aultman received a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Virginia and achieved a doctorate candidacy.

She is married to Christopher Aultman and they have three children, ages 16, 13 and 9.

Aultman is co-founder and president of the Westerville Partners for Education, and she is a volunteer for the I Have a Dream animal-rescue organization.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla