By Jeff Gallatin
Voters will be able to pick from four experienced candidates for the three North Olmsted City Schools board of education seats on the November ballot.
All three incumbents, Joanne Dicarlo, Terry Groden and Tom Herbster ,filed for re-election. Former board member Chris Glassburn, who served on the board from 2006 to 2009, also filed to seek a return to the board.
Dicarlo, who having served on it since 1982 is the senior member of the board, said having four experienced candidates makes for a good race.
“It is an interesting equation, isn’t it?” she said. “We have three good incumbent members, and Chris Glassburn did a good job when he was on the board before.”
Dicarlo said she is running for the board for the same reasons she always has.
“I’ve said before at board meetings and elsewhere, but I care about the children and making sure they get the best education they can,” she said.
Dicarlo said continuing North Olmsted’s seven consecutive years of being ranked either “Excellent” or “Excellent With Distinction” in the annual state report card rankings is her top priority.
“Anytime you have that type of track record for seven years, your top priority has to be keeping that going,” she said.
Dicarlo said maintaining and upgrading district facilities is also a high priority for her.
“We’ve had already some upgrades with our energy savings program, which saves us a lot of money with its changes and allowed us to air-condition the high school.”
Groden, who is completing his first term, said he takes the job seriously, noting the only meeting he missed was for his father’s funeral. He said the district’s accomplishments are a team effort.
“The district has continued to flourish academically during this span and is on solid ground financially. That isn’t to say we don’t have challenges ahead, and I still want to be part of the leadership team to help the district navigate through those changes,” he said.
Groden also cited his work in dealing with educational issues at regional, state and federal levels.
“During my first term, I helped organize two education roundtables for school districts in Ohio’s 24th Senate district. This was an opportunity for school board members and administrators from approximately 20 local districts to meet with elected leaders at the state level to discuss our common concerns, ” he said.
“I have also authored several resolutions either in opposition to, or support of, proposed legislation that would affect our district, and testified on behalf of the North Olmsted City Schools in front of the House Education Committee, the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committee,” he said.
Groden added he also has benefited from his work with the National School Board Association’s Federal Relations Network, “where I advocate on behalf of Northeast Ohio public school districts at the national level.”
Herbster said keeping a high level of contact with students, staff and the community remains his highest priority.
“Over the last 12 years during the different terms I’ve been on the board, I’ve been the most visible member of the board,” he said. “I’m in the schools at least twice a week and am involved in a wide range of activities in the district and the community.”
He noted he is available for contact during many issues, citing the board’s controversial decision to make school starting times earlier in the day.
Glassburn served on the board from 2006 to 2009 before choosing to not seek re-election and focus more time on his work as a staff member for Armond Budish in the Ohio Legislature.
“I want to stay here and I want to help make it so other people want to stay here or come here,” Glassburn said. “I think one of the things we need to do is reinvest in our facilities in the district.”
Glassburn said he also would like to change how the board operates.
“It’s different from when I was on the board,” he said. ‘They seem to meet a lot more, and there’s more discord on it. That’s something we need to change.”