Candidate profiles: Preble Shawnee Local Schools Board of Education




Name: Charles V. Biggs

Office Seeking: 4-year term, Preble Shawnee Board of Education

Occupation: Retired

Past Political Post Held: Current and past member of the Preble Shawnee Board of Education

Education: 1965 Graduate of Preble Shawnee High School

Community Involvement: Member of Eaton Church of the Brethren, member of Camden Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of Eaton Post of American Legion, member of Gratis Eagles.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position? Experience. I have served on the Preble Shawnee Board of education since April 2014 and for several years prior to this most recent term. I am familiar with the current operations of the school and can continue serving without a learning curve.

What is the most critical issue facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it? The number one issue the Preble Shawnee School District is dealing with at this time is the State Testing results. Of the 23 areas evaluated through testing, our district only meets the established standards in 4 of them. To me, this is unacceptable. From the documents I have been provided we are at the bottom of the list for Preble County. At the present time, the plan to fix this is to provide our teachers and administration additional time to establish a team building program. Several paid positions have been developed to help in the implementation of the team building. We are currently in the second year of this plan. Improvement has been shown in a few areas of the testing during the first year of this plan. I feel this improvement justifies permitting the process to go for at least one more year.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities? Provide our youth with the quality educational opportunity they deserve. Hold all shareholders (students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the Board of Education) accountable for their portion of the educational process. Establish a program which requires interaction between all parties. Attempt to establish tighter controls on the expenditures of the district. Establish a written 5 year maintenance program for our existing facilities.

Name: Bill Crawford

Seeking the Office of: Preble Shawnee Board of Education

Occupation: Millwright, Millwright Industrial Services

Political Posts Held: current: Mayor West Elkton Village

Past: Council Member, West Elkton Village, Clerk/Treasurer, West Elkton Village

Education: Miami University, Bachelor’s Degree, Information Technology/Health; Preble Shawnee High School Diploma

Community Involvement: Umpire, Preble Shawnee Little League Baseball and Softball; Coach, Preble Shawnee Boys and Girls Youth Basketball and Preble Shawnee Little League Baseball and Softball; Referee, Preble Shawnee Boys and Girls Youth Basketball; West Elkton Memorial Day Planning Committee; West Elkton/Gratis Township Fire Department Assistant Chief; Gratis Fraternal Order of Eagles; Middletown Loyal Order of Moose; Ohio Mayor’s Association; Stomp Addiction 5k participant; Army National Guard Non-commissioned Officer

I have chosen to serve my community and serve the public for my entire adult life of over 30 years, rather than sit back and criticize those who are willing to serve. Yes, I have made mistakes, and when I have made mistakes I have sought to correct those mistakes to the best of my ability. I am proud of my roots here in the Preble Shawnee School community. I have gained valuable experience which has taught me that accomplishments are made by working together with those around you and drawing from a multitude of strengths and talents held by a variety of people in our community. As a Son, brother, student, field commander, athlete, soldier, husband, dad, coach, firefighter, and a mayor, one thing rings true… Teamwork is the key to success.

The Preble Shawnee community is my team and I intend to work hard as aschool board member to bring our team back together working toward our goal of providing the best possible education for our kids.

The most crucial issue I will face as a school board member is closing the huge divide between our community members on either side of the tax/bond issue and finding ways to turn our focus back on our main priority, our student’s education.

I will address this crucial issue by immediately seeking to open-up dialogue between the school board and the community. First by changing the public participation rules at school board meetings to allow for interactive dialogue between the public and the board. Second, I would seek the formation of four committees made up of one or two board members and a variety of talented community members. These committees would be heard by the board for recommendations, along with the Superintendent and Treasurer, in the committee’s area of specialty. The four committees would be: 1. Technology 2. Curriculum 3. Facilities 4. Finance.

If elected, my chief priorities would be as follows: Seek the best advice and options from the four committees listed before, along with the advice and options from the superintendent and treasurer to allow the board to make decisions on: The best technology for our students and teachers; the best curriculum for our students and teachers; The most reasonable and responsible approach to maintenance and/or construction of facilities; and the most reasonable and responsible expenditures to approve that will help us achieve the ultimate priority of providing the best possible education to our kids.

Name: Nick Duskey

Office Seeking: Preble Shawnee Local School District School Board

Occupation: Chief Technology Officer, Smartlink Ventures

Past Political Posts Held: None

Education: Bachelor of Science, Double Major: Business Management, Biblical Studies Cincinnati Christian University

Community Involvement: I have been involved in the community for a number of years as a volunteer for several organizations. Growing up, I was involved in a lot of outreach through the church, including work for a housing organization called Companeros en Ministerio that operated in Los Angeles and Tijuana, Mexico. I’ve coached Arrows SAY soccer, as well as becoming a Girl Scout leader, with my wife, for my daughter’s troop. I’ve acted as a political volunteer, for a past Presidential election. My wife and I have been Arrows United volunteers for this election, as well as the previous May election. Additionally, my wife and I are working with the Camden Bicentennial Committee, to assist in the town’s very exciting 200th birthday milestone.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position? I grew up at the school, as my mom was a long-time teacher. I spent much time at Camden Primary before, during, and after the school day, as well as over the summer. Growing up, it gave me significant exposure to the challenges that my mom, as well as the other teachers, faced on a daily basis.

The Duskey family has been a part of the Camden community for well over 100 years. This community is my heritage, my roots. This is my community. This is my daughter’s community. I hope that this will be my grandchildren’s community, and so on, as the generations pass. I’m very proud of our tight-knit relationships and small town kindness. It’s so important that we keep this community thriving, and I believe the quality of schools play a big role in bringing new families here, while keeping the ones who were raised here, for many generations.

I undoubtedly have the career and professional experience, to act as a meaningful support on the Preble Shawnee School Board. I have executive experience in the business community, while i also currently sit on the board of a non-profit organization, Institute Electrical and Electronics Engineers Smart Cities Council. My organization, Smartlink Ventures, has worked extensively in the education space. We were recognized as a national leader for a program that we rolled out in Newport, Kentucky. We provided every child in the district with internet connectivity, so they have the opportunity to get the most out of iPad’s that the school acquired through a grant, which the kids were unable to take home because they had no internet access.

This unique combination of familiarity with educational issues, deep roots in the local community, leadership experience in business, and the long-time experience of serving other schools and nonprofit organizations, I believe, makes me a highly qualified candidate for Preble Shawnee School Board.

What is the most crucial issue facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

The most crucial issue facing the Preble Shawnee School Board is that of the facilities. There is a third, and most likely final, attempt to pass a levy funding the construction of two new schools in the district, which will be voted on in less than two weeks. This levy seeks to gather a local share of funds in order to attain funding from the OFCC. Whether the levy passes or fails, and I truly hope that our community chooses to pass it, the issue of facilities at Preble Shawnee must be addressed. The issue of facilities is at a critical level. We currently operate three buildings and do not have the student population, nor budget, to continue paying for unused space. All three buildings are in dire need of repair, as they lack security features, healthy air flow, modern technology compatibility, and much more. These are NOT adequate spaces to enrich the children who will go on to lead our community in the future, nor the educators and administrators who spend years in them, day in and day out. If the levy passes, I would address the issue by working quite diligently to ensure that we get the most out of the investment we would be making in our community. If the levy fails I would push to create a renovation plan, and then work to determine how best to fund that renovation, most likely having to come back to the taxpayers with another levy proposal.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities? If elected, my chief priorities would be the safety and security of the students, educators, and staff at Preble Shawnee. Equally, the quality and content of the education provided, and the facilities in which we ask our amazing teachers to prepare the future leaders of our community.

Name: Polly L. Heinkel

Office Seeking: Preble Shawnee School Board

Occupation: Miami University Humanities Center Administrative Assistant & Director/Producer Pollen Productions

Education: 1997 Alum of Preble Shawnee, BA, English Literature, Miami University MA, Theatre Studies, Miami University, MFA, Theatre Direction, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex

Community Involvement: Volunteer for Camden Bicentennial Committee, Historic Haunted Tours.

Why am I the most qualified: I believe I am qualified to be a Preble Shawnee School Board member because I want to assist in remembering and repaying the women and men who educated, mentored, and nurtured me during my time as a student of Preble Shawnee. They encouraged me to fulfill my dreams while giving me the resources and the knowledge to succeed. Through Preble Shawnee I found a desire to learn and explore that led me to be an educator, an artist, and a teacher. My educational background and my roots in the school district give me a drive to see our students exceed and excel! I want to serve our students and our community by building our future.

Most critical issue facing the office: The most critical issue I will be facing if elected to the school board would be at first what to do if the upcoming levy fails. I sincerely hope this levy passes but in the case it does not there are many things we as a board will have to address. First will be the financial repercussions and what can be done within these constraints to attempt to build safe environments for our students and teachers. These are the people we need to make sure we are assisting and building a better environment for. Second we will need to make a decision on how to proceed by laying out all our options and choosing which will be best for everyone. These options will differ as well depending on who is elected on November 7th but for me the best option is the one that will give our district the best chance at success.

Chief priorities: However, once the levy issue is addressed we must then get down to business and look at how we are serving our students and the teachers. We need to have a close look at the curriculum and how we are servicing all students from gifted and talented to those with special needs.

We also need to as a community of board members, administrators and teachers look to the need for advanced technology in the classroom. This can be done by working together to look for alternative funding options such as grants.

We must also look at teacher retention and how do we ensure our teachers a living wage.

We need to explore ways of building Preble Shawnee Pride by building community through opening a dialogue between parents, teachers, administrators, students, and tax-payers.

Preble Shawnee is home to all of us in one way or another. We need to love and embrace it despite our differences. I hope you will join me in doing so on Nov. 7. And remember: “The future depends on what you do in the present” — Mahatma Gandhi

Name: Julie Singleton

Office Seeking: Preble Shawnee Local School District Board of Education

Occupation: Insurance System Testing, Cincinnati Insurance

Past Political Posts Held: None

Community Involvement: I strive to be an active community member and volunteer where I am able. Whether that includes assisting in coaching my son’s soccer team, organizing classroom parties in school, or being Team Mom to the football team, I want to always be able to help where I can. For the past year and a half, I have also volunteered my time to assist and lead the Arrows United campaign which is trying to obtain two new schools for our Preble Shawnee School District.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for the position? Throughout my many years of being a Preble Shawnee School District resident, I have been able to gain a deep understanding of education in our school district. My children are Preble Shawnee students and we have an active interest in what happens within our schools. Between the education I received and the knowledge I’ve been able to gain in my professional career, I feel I can bring great value to our Preble Shawnee School District. I’ve served on several committees to which decisions needed to be made with a group, and have been asked to join leadership events where it was learned how to be a respective leader. I’ve attended several training sessions on how to properly lead people and work with colleagues, that I could put to use as being a member of the Preble Shawnee Board of Education. I believe having respect for all in our community, no matter the opinion, is crucial to a successful Board of Education. A school district is the center of a community and I feel we must have people who can properly and respectfully lead our children towards a better future. With my experience, I feel I can do that for our school district and community.

What is the most crucial issue facing the office you are seeking and how would you address it? The most public and crucial issue the Preble Shawnee School District is facing is the condition of our facilities. Prior to the three open seats being filled, the decision of the school levy for Preble Shawnee will already be determined. While my hope is that we pass the school levy and accept the state’s offer to provide us with 65 percent of the cost to build new, if the school levy does not pass, the Board of Education will have important decisions to make. The elected board will need to determine if there is another plan more appropriate to look at to ensure our facilities are conducive to properly educating our children. If elected, I would need to look at all possible options that we have to then be able to make an educated decision on what the best approach is. Our current facilities need quite a bit of renovation, so if the levy does fail, we would need to look at what renovations need completed to ensure our students are in no harm and are properly educated while in the care of the Preble Shawnee School District. Long term, if the levy does fail, we would also want to continue to view our options that we have with the state. The state is offering us free money and I would want to see how we can appropriately take advantage of that while still understanding the needs of our children and community.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities? As an elected Board of Education member, my top priority would always be to educate our children in the best way we can. Our children should be the main focus. If you look at our state report card, we do have some areas of improvement. Our current Board of Education has taken steps to put us on a track to properly educate our children and prepare them for the future, and I would want to continue that. We must increase the technology available so when our children graduate from Preble Shawnee, they leave us with that capability already built. With the day and age we live in, those are valuable assets to any job position or college education that is received. I want our children to be ready for life after their years at Preble Shawnee and to be successful in every way. Additionally, in order to properly educate our children, we must have safe buildings for them to learn in. Between security measures as well as structural updates, I want to ensure our children are able to learn in a safe and secure building.

Name: Michael D. Hawkins

Office Seeking: Preble Shawnee School District School Board

Occupation: Business Management

Past Political Posts Held: None

Education: Associates Degree in Business. Currently studying for Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Community Involvement: Participated in the Arrows United Organization. Volunteer for the AK Steel Cares program involved in the SELF (Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families) projects in the Middletown area.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position? My experience with facilities, labor, and budget management would be a valuable asset to the board as the district faces difficult and challenging financial and administrative obstacles in the near future.

What is the most crucial issue facing the office you are seeking and how would you address it? The most crucial issue facing this office is managing our facilities with the limited resources we have at our disposal. Regardless of whether the upcoming levy passes or fails, the district will be facing crucial dilemmas in regard to facilities management and the ability to attract qualified and talented professionals to instruct our children. I would address both issues with clear and concise leadership and provide accountability to the district.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities? My chief priorities would be to move Preble Shawnee School District forward in a dynamic and positive manner; working in conjunction with the parents, teachers, and administrators to restore faith, integrity, pride, and a passion to educate our children in the productive, nurturing, and safe environment that our children need and deserve.