Candidate profiles: Twin Valley Community Local Schools Board of Education




Name: Christine Bitner

Hello, my name is Christine Bitner and I am a candidate for the Twin Valley Local School District Board. My husband and I reside in Lanier Township. I am the mother of four children that have either graduated or are currently enrolled as students at Twin Valley South. I have a vested interest in the School District and the at-large community. I have an AAS degree from Sinclair Community College and continue to attend college courses in mathematics, business law, and environmental engineering to name a few in an effort expand my knowledge at home, at work, and in my community. I attend the Ohio Municipal league conference in Columbus every year which allows me to network with other small communities in Ohio. I am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 322 here in West Alexandria and have served as Chaplain for the past 2 years. I have been a consistent pole worker for the Preble County Board of Elections. I have worked for the United States Postal Service as well as working as an Enumerator for the United States Census from 1990-2010. I enjoy volunteering and I am currently serving as Vice President of the TVS Band Boosters, Treasurer for the TVS Committee of Concerned Citizens and a member of the Preble County Chamber of Commerce BWC Safety Committee. I am a lector, choir member, Children’s Liturgy teacher and CCD volunteer at Visitation Church. In addition, I am a past board member for the Community Action Partnership.

I have been employed as the Utility Billing Clerk at the Village of West Alexandria for nearly five years. I am responsible for water, sewer, and refuse funds that represent combined total more than one million dollars. On a smaller scale, I am also a business woman. My husband and I are the owners of Bitner Electrical Services. As a small business owner, in today’s economy, I am well aware of the challenges of working within a budget. Most importantly, as a mother and grandmother, I am aware of the educational needs of children. Academics are the core responsibility of all institutions of learning.

It has been my goal to become informed in all aspects of our school. While attending School Board meetings, I felt compelled to become part of something that will be a positive force in the school system. Twin Valley South is going through a transition and I feel certain I can serve the District and become a useful part of the Board of Education. I would like to see more interaction between the Board and parents. I would also like to be a link between the school system and our local municipality.

If elected, I will address several issues:

1. Improvement of the school by utilizing resources available to us through financing and volunteer work. This reduces our dependence on government funds, which in turn lessens our responsibilities to their rules and guidelines and brings back management to the local level.

2. I would also like to see interaction with the local community to come up with options to attract families that will take root in our School District. Young families making their home in our school district insures better futures.

3. I want to see more areas where children, parents and retired persons can become involved in activities and volunteering, making sure that the School District offers extracurricular as well as academic options to all. Having all people with a vested interest in the school will ensure that the children feel they have worth and do not turn to other pursuits that may be detrimental to their futures.

I am confident that I will be able to become an important part of The Board of Education team and look forward to the bright future of our School System.

I ask that you please consider me this November when casting your vote.

Go Big Red!

Name: Jason DeLong

Office seeking: Running for re-election Twin Valley South school board

Occupation: Retirement Planner

Currently: Vice President of Twin Valley South school board in addition to, the previous two years (2015-16) Twin Valley South’s delegate to the Ohio School Boards association at annual conferenceheld in Columbus.

I am a Twin Valley South graduate from class of 1994, and alumni of Indiana University East.

Community involvement: I am currently the head of the youth elementary basketball program at Twin Valley South. I am also the league director for the Cross county conference youth basketball league.

Qualifications for candidacy besides currently sitting Vice President: After having served one term, Twin Valley South has made huge strides in advancement of not only education, but also in its financial strength, and facilities improvements. When I decided to run for school board 4 years ago, the school was facing potentially the largest financial crisis of its approximate 50 year history. I am proud that in four short years it is more solid than it has ever been financially. We currently have what I believe to be the strongest five year financial forecast in the history. Huge turn around in that area, and I want to give credit to the other board members, administration and staff, and community for helping to turn the stability around.

I have stood for the things I ran on and though I was in favor of all day kindergarten, the record will reflect that art class needed to be brought back the school system first. I am pleased that the district now has both. We have new curriculum in the district in both reading and math, and major upgrades to technology has taken place with new computers for our students.

Last year 100 percent of our students passed the third grade guarantee in the reading assessment and we currently have a graduation rate exceeding 97 percent. Our seniors last year had an average ACT composite score of over 23, which is well above state and national average.

Safety was a huge concern of mine as well. In last four years, with grant money we have upgraded our doors to be buzzed in with magnetic locks. Also as a district we decided to upgrade our analog camera system to now over 40 hi resolution closed circuit cameras. We have implanted multiple safety protocols and our buildings can be accessed with virtual maps by emergency personnel if that need ever arise.

Our bus fleet has been upgraded with both grant money as well as local funding and I am proud to say we have cut over 20,000 a year out of district expenses in mechanical needs to our fleet. The district purchased a van with grant moneys and that has saved money as well.

I am pleased that with the help of the community, the roof project is well under way for TVS to have an entirely new roof. Other upgrades to the building are too many to list, highlights include roof, signage, security measures, and new chillers.

We are very pleased that starting salary for our teachers were able to be put in place that puts TVS in a more competitive situation wage wise with comparable districts and within the county.

Last, but certainly not least, the district has raised to date over $400,000.00 of private money from individuals and companies to upgrade our sports facilities. The new football stadium, gymnasiums, and baseball fields have been upgraded without $1 dollar coming from education and the districts taxpayer dollars.

My priorities would continue to be the education of our students to make ready for life after high school, career ready, college ready, or further trade school ready as productive citizens.

I value your vote, I feel there is work left to do. I want to thank the fellow board members as well as administrators , and staff for their dedication to education and our students, I would appreciate your vote in November.

Name: Matthew Lunsford

Office seeking: Board of Education member for the Twin Valley South School District

Occupation: Deputy Sheriff

Education: I am a high school graduate of Twin Valley South High School. In addition I have obtained numerous certificates and training in my past 25 years of employment.

Community: member of Salem Lutheran Church, past council member and president. Preble County 4 H advisor, Twin Valley South Band Boosters, President of the Preble County Rabbit Advisors Group which does fundraising for our 4 H programs. My wife and I are supporters of the Preble County Livestock Sale and the Preble County draft horse pull. I also volunteer my time as the head trainer for a regional k9 training group which covers 5 counties in total.

I have the ability to see all sides and problem solve. Working with the other board members, superintendent and staff members is imperative to a successfully run school system. I am direct and honest and if a voter, parent or someone needs an answer to a question from me I will give them one. It may not be the one they want to hear but I will give them one.

Some main issues I see are of course funding and how to get it which is true for most educational programs. Also making our schools as safe as possible for our children. The school staff currently has all ready made vast improvements and are moving forward. I will continue to support them in any and all ways.

My chief priorities would again be safety of our children and staff members. Making sure we are doing the very best we can to retain the great staff members we all ready have. I also would investigate the possibility of trying to have either a school resource officer or security officer in our building on a regular basis. I would appreciate your support.

Name: Mike Randolph

Office Seeking: Twin Valley Local School Board

Occupation: Business Manager

Past Political Post: Current President TVS School Board

Education: Sinclair College

25 years Sales and Management Experience

Community Involvement: President WABO for 7 years; Baseball/Softball Coach for 7 years; Wee Panther Coach, 5 years

Why am I the most-qualified candidate? I have lived in West Alexandria for over 35 years and have a passion for our community, our children and our school system. Living here has been a great experience for me and my family. I have always tried to give back to a community that has given so much to me and my family. I have been actively involved as a coach, President of the WABO organization, local church member and most recently as President of the TVS Local School Board. I am running for re-election because I want to continue to be a guiding force in the positive direction our school is currently moving. Over the last four years we have hired a dynamic Superintendent that is going to be a leading force for many years to come. We have updated our educational programs and improved technology to benefit the learning experience for our children. We have taken great measures to increase the safety for our children such as a new camera and entry system, ID badges for all teachers and guests, and a new floor plan that not only brought the school’s history into light but made it easier for our first responders to navigate the facility. We have raised over $330,000 in charitable donations from individuals and local businesses for much needed facility improvements to our gymnasiums, sports complex and weight room. Finally we have worked diligently to manage our fiscal budget to ensure we have a very positive financial future. I feel my love and dedication for the community, a 25 year career in business and the positive changes we have accomplished over the last four years make me a strong and dedicated candidate for this position. I thank you in advance for your vote.

Most crucial issue facing office: I feel the most crucial issue facing this office is advancing the education of our children. To provide them with a safe and exciting learning environment that gives them a solid foundation for them to build on their future. I will work to make sure we have a teaching staff that is passionate and dedicated to the students and their position. I will support new and advanced learning methods and programs that provide fun and exciting new ways for students to learn. I will approve new technology so that all students have the ability to work with the most up to date equipment and advancements. Finally I will work to make sure all students feel safe and remove any obstacles that prevent them from having a positive learning experience.

Chief Priorities: education and technology, safety for all students, fiscal responsibility

Name: Dan Utsinger

Office seeking: Twin Valley South Board of Education

As a life-long resident of West Alexandria, and a product of the Twin Valley South school system, I have great pride and passion for our community and school district. I want to make our great schools even better! In the last several months it has been a pleasure talking to the people within the community, from homeschooling parents, grandparents, and business/community leaders, and listening to their views on our school. These exchanges expanded my thinking on several priorities that I will be focusing on including: quality of education, equity of education for all students, District fiscal responsibility, and encouragement of parent participation in their child’s education.

So much has been done in the last two years to improve different aspects of our school, from the updates to the physical exterior and interior of the school along with communication and safety measures. I will strive to continue moving our school forward and to make it the best environment in which to learn! With that said, I feel improving student achievement in academic performance toward college and career readiness, is always going to be a key long-term goal of mine. There is nothing more important to our society than to prepare our youth for a challenging future with a strong education. I believe the Board’s job is to foster an educational environment where students thrive, not merely produce adequate test scores.

The skills I bring to the job include: Associates degree of Applied Business from Miami University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Indiana Wesleyan. I’ve spent 16 years in outside sales, which requires me to interact with a diverse population, thus learning how to listen effectively, problem solve, and make sound business decisions based on gathering data and understanding multiple viewpoints. I have also learned how to successfully manage a sales budget and exceed expected goals.

I want to represent your voice on the school board. I’m an independent thinker with vision, ethics, strong skills and determination to get things done. If elected, I will work hard for every student, parent, teacher and resident. I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov. 7. Panther Strong!