Three candidates -- two newcomers and an incumbent -- will ask voters to give them one of the two available seats on the Big Walnut school board Nov. 5.

Sherri Dorsch and Stephen Fujii will challenge board member Andrew Wecker on the fall ballot.

Dorsch, 44, lives on Gingerfield Way in Sunbury.

"I am running for (the board) because I believe that strong and healthy schools are necessary for a strong and healthy community," she said.

"I've lived in the district for over 13 years and have been involved as a volunteer in the district in many different aspects since 2009. Through my involvement as a volunteer, attending board meetings and as a mom to three involved students, I have learned a lot about the district, including the complexities of school funding.

"I believe this experience, my previous board experience and my education and professional experience will provide the Big Walnut Board of Education with a valuable perspective that will strengthen the board during a challenging period of growth in the community," she said.

A tax manager at Maloney and Novotny LLC, Delaware, Dorsch earned a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Creighton University, Omaha, and a master's degree from the University of Houston.

Her husband is Aaron Dorsch. She is the mother of Alex Siewert, 16, Avery Siewert, 14, and Claire Siewert, 11, all students in the district.

She is a member of Big Walnut's finance committee and the treasurer of Community for Eagle Pride. She served as Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce treasurer in 2018.

Fujii lives on Mirliton Court in Galena.

"I have served my country as an officer in the United States Army and now desire to serve my community in the capacity of member to the Big Walnut Local School Board of Education," he said.

A senior director for impact and improvement at Battelle for Kids, he holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Ohio Northern University and a master's degree in educational policy and leadership from Ohio State University. He studied military science at Bowling Green State University.

He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children: Jillian and Samuel.

Wecker, 52, lives on Patrick Road in Sunbury.

He listed his priorities as the district's 2020 Vision, growth and finances, and facilities, safety and security.

"Beyond drilling answers into students for standardized tests, the 2020 Vision is about meeting each child where we find him or her to give each one a foundation of information and knowledge. We want this community's students to prepare themselves for the rest of their lives to ask questions and reach their own conclusions. To use technology, and not be left behind by it.

"On growth and finances, I have been on the board of education for eight years now," he said. "In the last 10 years, Big Walnut has absorbed 32% enrollment growth with just one request for new operating money.

"On facilities, safety and security, when I was board president, this community passed a bond issue to build a new high school, a new elementary school and upgrade all our entrances to the same standards that we have currently at the Big Walnut Middle School and General Rosecrans Elementary School, currently our newest buildings. Then we had to embark on a site selection process to see that those bond dollars went as much as possible into school facilities and not off-site improvements.

"Right now, I want to continue our progress with efforts such as working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the same way the Granville schools have done or exploring with our construction manager at risk, Gilbane, its Junior Builder Program, both to get its staff into our classrooms, and better still, get our teachers and students onto the construction site for our two new buildings."

Wecker is a lawyer, practicing in business and real-estate law with Manos, Martin and Pergram in Delaware.

He received a bachelor's degree from Ohio University and graduated from the Ohio State University College of Law.

He and his wife, Kendra, have five children. Three attend Big Walnut schools.

Another candidate for Big Walnut school board, Liana Lee, is unopposed for a two-year term.

Lee was appointed in 2018.

The race for two Delaware school board seats is unopposed.

Incumbents Ted Backus and Matthew Weller will return to their seats for another four years.

Galena mayor's race

Galena Mayor Tom Hopper and challenger Jill Love will face off for the village's top position Nov. 5.

Hopper, 60, lives on Harrison Street.

"I have faithfully represented the village for more than 30 years through many challenging phases," he said.

"My engineering experience has been invaluable in managing road, storm water, wastewater, and other infrastructure projects. I have extensive expertise in the operations and laws governing municipal operations and bring strong ethical standards to the mayor's office. I have a thorough understanding of local political issues and development trends.

"I hope to continue representing the village with the same honesty and integrity as I have in the past 20 years," Hopper said. "I have not served just as a figurehead, but as a hard-working member of the village team."

Hopper has represented Galena for more than 24 years on the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, among other village positions. He has served on a number of Big Walnut Local School District committees, including the facilities and economic development committees. He is a committee member of Boy Scout Troop 387, Galena, and a Scout merit badge counselor for all three citizenship badges.

He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Ohio State University and a master's of business administration from Miami University of Ohio.

Widowed, he has two sons, both graduates of Big Walnut High School.

Love, 52, is a resident of Caleb's Court.

"Galena is at a crossroads for growth and I feel it is time for a new vision," she said.

"I want to promote responsible growth that will create a diamond in the rough destination for Ohio. I feel that with my long career in the changing medical industry I have the experience to lead the village into the next chapter," she said.

Her goals, she said, are to create transparency, harmonize the master plan and the Galena zoning plan, modernize the village social media to engage more residents, focus on fiscal responsibility and attract more local businesses to the area.

Love received a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati. She is a vice president of sales for Keriton, handling neonatal intensive care unit feeding management software.

NOTE: Look for candidate Q&As and additional election coverage in the coming weeks in ThisWeek Delaware News and online at ThisWeekNEWS.com.

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