Six candidates vying for two seats on Lebanon school board

Lebanon High School
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Lebanon High School

There is plenty of competition in the Lebanon Board of Education race this fall, as six candidates are vying to replace two incumbents.

Ryan Patterson and David Donovan have opted not to seek re-election to new four-year terms.

Jennifer Daulton

Daulton said quality education has always been an interest to her and she believes she can bring her wisdom and experiences as a mom and conservative along with the knowledge gained as a successful business woman to help in this endeavor.

Daulton, 51, has lived in Lebanon for 12 years. She is self-employed and owns Whistlejacket Farm. She and her husband are the parents of three teenage children.

She has served in an advisory capacity to St. Margaret of York School for four years and has led committees that included teacher retention, bullying awareness and impacts of social media on kids, along with fundraising initiatives.

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Jennifer Daulton
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Jennifer Daulton

“The most important issues we currently face are medical freedom and critical race theory. Parents have expressed that they want the right to choose what is best for their child with regard to medical decisions, which I support as a constitutional conservative,” Daulton said. “On the subject of CRT, we need to assure parents and the community through transparency that Lebanon does not include CRT in their classrooms.”

Daulton said parents and the community have an impact on the success of the Lebanon district.

“We need to ensure we are providing the best educational outcomes,” she said. “Lebanon schools have strong community support, parent involvement, dedicated teachers, and career readiness through the Warren Country Career Center.  As a conservative, I hope to support these efforts as the district grows.”

Mike Gliatti

Gliatti said he’s running for a school board seat because his father “was a first-generation American who earned degrees in physics and electrical engineering. He believed you should not just live in a community but be an active part of it and help it thrive.”

“Education is the ticket for children to live a life beyond even their own dreams,” Gliatti said. “I commit to helping ensure a quality education is provided for our students. I promise to consider all opinions and weigh thoughtfully on decisions that will impact the Lebanon City Schools. My family and I love living in this community ... and we love Lebanon schools. I believe the time is right for me to bring a new perspective to the board through empathy, accountability, and credibility. I will be the advocate you and your children deserve every step of the way.

Gliatti, 52, has lived in the district for 20 years and is a business owner. He and his wife have two children. Gliatti has been an active community volunteer and is a director and former president of the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Mike Gliatti
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Mike Gliatti

Gliatti said COVID management and handling community growth are the two most important issues facing the Lebanon school district. On COVID, he said in-person learning must continue, and the district must respect all opinions while protecting students, teachers and the community. On growth, he said the district must analyze the large developments that are planned, to understand the implications on budget, facilities, staffing and infrastructure needs.

“Ultimately, success or failure for a school district rests on the quality and quantity of the outcomes provided to the students and the community,” he said. “Additional quantitative data which should be considered include but are not limited to: graduation rates, test scores/rankings used to assess students’ performance in advanced placement and baccalaureate programs, faculty and staff retention, and year-over-year population growth to the Lebanon community. Above scores and rankings, preparing students to be college/career-ready for the workforce and community is paramount.”

Roy MacCutcheon

MacCutcheon said he’s running for a school board seat because he is a believer and supporter of public education and has been a lifelong supporter of Lebanon City Schools.

“Public education is one of the few roads out of poverty and hopelessness, and I want to work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” he said. “Education empowers our youth to contribute in a positive way to our community. I am a firm believer that great schools create a great community.”

MacCutcheon, 55, has lived in the school district for 44 years and owns a local business in Lebanon. He has a grown son. MacCutcheon is married and has two grown stepsons.

Roy MacCutcheon
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Roy MacCutcheon

“One of the most important issues facing our school districts is financial concerns. Lebanon is a growing area and overcrowding will soon be a concern,” he said. “We must be proactive in negotiations with local governments and real estate developers to work on sensible growth that will not overburden our schools.’

MacCutcheon said the board needs more effective communication with all community members. He said a successful school is one that prepares students to enter the adult world and contribute to society in a positive way.

“Great schools effectively engage with parents and students to help the child reach their full potential,” he said. “A successful school district puts a premium on great teachers and supports all extracurricular activities. A successful school district strives to create a healthy, safe, and positive environment where children can grow and develop and reach their goals.”

Michael Markey

Markey said he’s running for a seat on the school board to continue doing what’s right for students and staff.

“We need to ensure that our schools are providing a safe and effective learning environment. We need to attract and retain quality educators,” he said. “We need to make sure the district has the support it requires to invest in the future of our students. I want to maintain focus on real problems and away from manufactured controversies and political grandstanding.”

Michael Markey
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Michael Markey

Markey, 43, has lived in the school district for 13 years and is a research associate professor and the director of a research center at Wright State University. He and his wife are the parents of a son and daughter.

As for top issues facing the school district, Markey pointed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and school funding.

“This has been a protracted event that I’m guessing none of us thought we’d have to deal with when we became educators,” he said. “Schools rely on bringing people together face-to-face, and have a role and responsibility in helping to get COVID-19 under control.”

Markey said until the state decides to repair how schools are funded, the district will need to rely on levies and other mechanisms.

“The financial health of our district currently relies in large part on operating and emergency levies. The emergency levies cannot increase in the revenue they bring in, even if property values increase,” he said. “At the same time, projected expenses go up over time. I believe the largest current levy is due for another vote in 2022. Keeping our district financially robust will be an ongoing challenge.”

Breighton Smith

Smith said he’s running for the Lebanon Board of Education because he believes schools are facing some difficult challenges.

“I know that I have a fresh perspective and a unique experience that will allow me to work with the other board members to overcome those challenges,” he said. “I have a special passion for education because I have lived and seen how it unlocks the American Dream.

Smith, 35, has worked in Lebanon for the past five years as a staffer for the 2016 Trump Campaign and as a self-employed small business owner. He said that work and involvement in Lebanon inspired he and his wife to purchase their first home here a year ago.

Breighton Smith
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Breighton Smith

Credit: Breighton And Basette Photography: Basette Smith II & Breighton Smith

Credit: Breighton And Basette Photography: Basette Smith II & Breighton Smith

Smith said he has a deep personal interest in ensuring that the school district is as strong as it can be, in every aspect, at every grade-level, for every student. He said maintaining the district’s focus on educational quality, along with budgeting/funding, are the two biggest challenges.

“As a taxpayer, I believe all who pay into our schools have an interest in the success of our students, because we are all investing into this school district, and we all share in its success,” he said. “These students will be our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, our family, and our community leaders. We have to recognize that we should all care.”

Smith, a conservative, said he wants to make sure tax dollars are spent wisely, and make sure that public schools and staff are strong and are doing well for all students.

“We are also experiencing a lot of growth and expansion in our district, which is a wonderful thing, but our community has to continue its good work of planning and managing that growth in a positive way,” he said.

Matt Woehrmyer

Woehrmyer said he’s seeking a seat on the Lebanon school board because he has always wanted to stay very involved living in the district.

“Having four kids in the district has given me an opportunity to establish a strong pulse on the community,” he said. “Regardless of everyone running for a BOE position, I get involved because I want to and not for any other reason. I genuinely care about the direction the district is heading and am very excited with some very key new roles at LCS (superintendent, treasurer and athletic director).”

Matt Woehrmyer
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Matt Woehrmyer

Woehrmyer, 42, has lived in the district off and on since he was 18, including the last nine years. He is employed as a manufacturing manager and is a Realtor. Woehrmyer is active in the community. He and his wife have four children in grades 5 to 12.

He believes most people agree there are several areas Lebanon can improve in as a district.

“For me it is how can we become a more competitive district versus other area school districts,” he said, pointing to areas of staff compensation, educational opportunities and programs, diversity and inclusion and offered and facility improvement. “I get that is a big, broad response and I don’t have the solution for all of it, but I do have the passion and am willing to work with our district and community to make our schools better.”

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