Election 2015
Meet The Candidates: Kings Local School Board

Maddie DePaoli

M. DePaoli

In just over a month, the Kings community will vote in two new members of their school board. The current members who hold these two seats, William Russell and Todd Overturf, are not seeking re-election, so the school board will have two new faces after the election. Kings has been in a state of rapid change over the past few years, with new housing developments sparking a population growth and the near-total turnover of every lead administrative position from high school principal all the way up to superintendent. The school board over the next few years will likely face critical decisions as the district tries to adapt. The Knight Times contacted the four candidates vying for these two seats and asked them the following questions. The responses were edited only for typos, and appear verbatim. In respect to fairness, all of the candidates’ responses will appear after the reader opens the story.

Now, meet the candidates (listed alphabetically): 

Rich Himes

Himes board

Tell us a little about yourself and connection with the Kings community.

I am 54 years old. I live in the Kings School District in Woodfield. My wife Julie and I have lived in the Kings District for over 14 years. We have raised our 3 boys here and have loved the Kings district.

With which political party do you most closely identify?

I am a conservative and will use conservative values on the school board.

What is your opinion on public schools vs. charter schools?

I am a big fan of public schools, especially K-12.  My family and I are Christians, but I felt very strongly about sending the boys to the public school as opposed to a private one.  There may be good reasons to go to a private college for some.

If elected, how would your role as a school board member directly impact students?  

The direct impact to students would be felt the most  in the area of quality teachers, staff & administrators.  As a young man growing up I was bullied a lot, so I would hope to impact students in a way that would create as much of a bully free school as possible.

What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities in regards to the students of Kings Local?

The board’s role is to make sure there is a capable superintendent & treasurer.  The board should also follow up with the people in these positions to make sure they are following district policies.  The board also must vote on many important issues, all of which should be voted on with the well being of the students and taxpayers in mind.

Do you have any particular changes you would like to see made in school district policies, programs, or the various curricula being offered at Kings Local? If so, what changes would you like to see made and why?

I am in favor of local control when it comes to curriculum and policies.  I think I need to be a board member before I would know many of the policies, so I am not sure what changes I would make at this point.  I can say that I will be in favor of continual oversight, as opposed to rubber-stamping the same people and policies.  Sometimes policies and the people in certain roles need to change.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from your fellow candidates?

My fellow candidates, I am sure want what is best for the students and the district as do I.  I do think though that my advantage is my conservative values, which include, common sense leadership, fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Thanks again for reaching out to me and allowing me to participate.

Melissa Kircher

kircher board

Tell us a little about yourself and connection with the Kings community.

I have lived in the kings local school district for the past 20 years.I began my teaching career in the kings local school district teaching in all three elementary schools and being a technology curriculum supervisor for  grades K through 12 before leaving the district after nine years of employment.  I have five daughters three of them have graduated from Kings high school and currently have two more still in school.

With which political party do you most closely identify?  

I am registered as a Republican

What is your opinion on public schools vs. charter schools?  

I have always been a strong advocate for public education since that’s what I’ve made my life Long career in however  I do believe that parent should have a right to choose the type of school they wish to place their child in. I think choice brings about competition and competition is good in order to make sure we have some of the best public schools available.  The concern I have is that charter schools and public schools are not held to the same accountability structure.

If elected, how would your role as a school board member directly impact students?

The board’s role is to make policies that govern the practices and procedures of our district,  it is also the role the board to hire two people the treasure and the superintendent and through their close working relationship with each other maintain excellence for students and staff within the district

What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities in regards to the students of Kings Local?

I believe the board impacts students by making sure there is revenue and programs that meet the needs of all of our students

Do you have any particular changes you would like to see made in school district policies, programs, or the various curricula being offered at Kings Local? If so, what changes would you like to see made and why?  

I believe Kings has a wonderful educational system with high quality teachers and a robust selection courses and activities for students to choose to study or be part of an organized group, however it is the duty of our administration to always continue to look for ways to improve what we offer our children.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from your fellow candidates?

I believe one of the characteristics that sets me apart from the other candidates is that I have held many leadership roles in the educational field from a teacher to principal curriculum director to superintendent for the past nine years and a total of public education of 26 years.I have also held various positions on state committees dealing with finance, college credit plus, and technology. These experiences have helped me to gain a wide range of knowledge dealing with budgets finances taxes and board policies that govern the school district.

Kerry McKiernan

mckiernan board

Tell us a little about yourself and connection with the Kings community.

I am a faithful and proud father of 3 current or former Kings students. My wife Kelly (CIS Media Specialist) and I have lived in the District for the last 24 years. My love for this community is grounded on the appreciation I have for Kings Schools and what the teachers and administrators of the district have meant to my children. The cognitive skills of my three children cover a wide spectrum…from an Honors Student to a son originally diagnosed with severe learning delays and academic challenges. I am passionate about the students of this district because of the passion this district has shown my children.

Professionally, I am President of E3 Local, a strategic marketing agency that helps regional and national advertisers plan and deliver advertising programs designed to have an immediate effect on sales, profit and productivity. My days are spent working with a variety of personalities, budgets and circumstances. Since joining E3 in February of 2002, our sales have grown from $5,000,000 to $25,000,000. I believe my primary responsibility to the people I am fortunate to lead is to help develop them personally, professionally and financially.

I’m not sure they keep records of this kind of thing but I think I’ve coached more youth athletic teams in the district than anybody else. I’m the King of Blue Dolphins, Green Dragons, Yellow Lightening, Mighty Knights, Terminators and Team Extreme. I am also a Youth Ministry Leader at Rivers Crossing Community Church and a Whiz Kids Tutor at Kings Mills Elementary.

 

With which political party do you most closely identify?  

Republican

What is your opinion on public schools vs. charter schools?

There is a time and a place for all things and for all students. In my particular situation, with my children specifically, the best alternative for their academic, social and athletic development was to keep them in Kings Local Schools.  I believe in Kings, for most families, we are in a position to offer students the most complete set of life skills and the best opportunity for life success. There is value in community, there is value in diversity, there is value in competition.

If elected, how would your role as a school board member directly impact students?  

As a school board member, my role would be to indirectly impact the students because my direct impact would be on the Administrators and Teachers in the district. My direct impact will be measured through a clearly defined vision of success and accountability to the goals and measurements we will cooperatively agree on.  Our current board is far too involved in the day to day operations of our individual schools and not nearly focused enough on providing the vision and leadership we need to exceed every current expectation for academic achievement. As a school board member, I will serve our students by serving the leaders we have hired to develop them academically and socially. Everyone, including the board needs to their job…not somebody else’s.

What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities in regards to the students of Kings Local?

My answer above takes care of most of this question. If asked specifically what I believe the role and responsibility of the school board is I would say… it is to foster transparent communication, develop and implement a unifying vision of success, ensure existing policy is followed and the Superintendent and Treasurer are held accountable. My job will be to develop the people we have hired to develop the children we love.

Do you have any particular changes you would like to see made in school district policies, programs, or the various curricula being offered at Kings Local? If so, what changes would you like to see made and why?

We must run the business with more discipline and more accountability to process and procedure. We cannot afford to let special interests and regressive thinking from divisive personalities distract us from what has made us great. We must work every day to serve the whole student in every student but never put the interests of one ahead of the interests of all. We must continue to improve our teacher evaluation systems, work harder to align curriculum with standardized testing, explore blended learning methods and look for opportunities to collaborate with other districts to strengthen our voice at a state level.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from your fellow candidates?

A proven business leader and passionate servant of this community. Complete appreciation for the uniqueness of every student and every situation. Much more familiarity with current issues and personnel.  I’ve been an active supporter and participant in the district. I’ve never seen Candidates Kircher or Himes at a Board Meeting. It’s hard to lead people you don’t know and harder to solve issues you don’t understand.  I have a proven track record of balancing conservative fiscal responsibility with the necessary investment in growth. My experience in the development of people and the execution of a strategic a vision will be invaluable to the district.

Peggy Phillips

phillips board

Tell us a little about yourself and connection with the Kings community.   

Kings Mills has been my home for the last sixteen years. I am a mother of two, a grandmother of five and a widow.   Two of my grandchildren were fortunate enough to attend Kings before my children and their families moved out of the area.  

My bachelor’s degree is from Ohio Dominican University and my master’s is from The University of Mississippi.  During my forty-two (42) years in education I have been an Aide, Assistant Principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12, Director of Employee Development, Director of Reading, Principal, and Teacher. I enjoyed each of my roles but my favorite has been Principal at Kings Mills Elementary (KME)!  It was an honor to serve as Principal at KME for the past ten years.  I worked with parents, students and staff on a daily basis.  One of my proudest moments happened in the fall of 2011, when it was announced that KME was the recipient of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award.

Connections with the Kings community include: touching the lives of approximately two thousand families, attending countless school and district activities, including Board of Education Meetings. Communication examples: open discussions during  PTO meetings, New Family Orientations, tours of the school, Welcome to Kindergarten for children and parents, Meet Your Teacher Socials, 4th grade Celebrations, and weekly newsletters,  Connections were also made by giving back to the community during the Veterans’ Day Celebrations, food drives, clothing drives, natural disaster relief, recycling activities and fundraising for organizations that support our Kings children and families (Cancer, Heart, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Angelman Syndrome, Make A Wish, and Ronald McDonald House). Parents, grandparents, and family members are encouraged to volunteer, have lunch, and attend school activities.  Since my retirement (June 2015) I volunteer at the elementary schools. Schools are a microcosm of the community; and I feel a strong connection with the Kings community.

With which political party do you most closely identify?  

Republican

What is your opinion on public schools vs. charter schools?  

It is wonderful to live in a democracy where we have freedoms and can make choices.  One of the freedoms is school choice.  In Ohio each family must decide if they want public, charter, private, voucher, scholarship, or home schooling for their children. Charter Schools are just one of the many options.  In my opinion Kings is a great school district and I would definitely without hesitation pick Kings as my choice.

If elected, how would your role as a school board member directly impact students?

By being an engaged school board member I could positively impact student by setting high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction. My role would be to embrace the shared vision, set goals and monitor progress; use data to make decisions/policies about students and schools; know Kings and know what’s working and where; ask questions for clarity and understanding; be a good listener; develop strong working relationships with the superintendent, treasurer, and community.  It will be imperative to remember that my role is for the educational welfare of all Kings’ students not a select few.

What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibilities in regards to the students of Kings Local?

School board members make decisions on a wide range of issues, such as hiring and evaluating the superintendent and treasurer; setting district policy; planning student services, goal-setting and long-range planning; adopting curriculum; establishing budgets; being good fiscal stewards; acting in the best interest of the school district and within the scope of our legal authority.

The behavior that board members display during meetings, the rapport between board members and the relationships that the board builds with the community, teachers and administrators adds up to the current climate of our district. In other words the board has an enormous influence on the essence that characterizes our community’s impression of the district. Kings is an excellent district and deserves better. We need to get back to the future—our students.

Do you have any particular changes you would like to see made in school district policies, programs, or the various curricula being offered at Kings Local? If so, what changes would you like to see made and why?  

We have difficult decisions to make because of the growth within our district, after we know the direction, we will need to look at systems, policies, programs, and curriculum to ensure appropriate alignment to the changes made across the district.

We must continue to improve how we do business and that includes looking for opportunities to collaborate with other districts to strengthen our voice at a state level, especially as it relates to testing, curriculum, and funding of schools.  This is important because it would mean more local control.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from your fellow candidates?  

As a successful educator of forty-two years, I believe, unequivocally, in the value of Kings. I am dedicated to serving, teaching, and having high expectations for all students. I believe in the democratic process and understand that my role is to act strategically, in line with the interests of the entire school community not special interest groups or individuals.  I have a passion for seeing students succeed and a desire to see Kings one of the best districts in the state.

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