WEST CARROLLTON — The race for three open seats on the West Carrollton school board is centered around five candidates who say one of their main priorities is ensuring student safety and promoting student involvement.
Incumbents Leslie Miller and Jonathon Lewallen will square off against write-in candidates Stephanie Albrycht, Nathaniel Mundy and Karen Poindexter for three seats that are for four-year terms.
Joe Cox is the only candidate for a board seat that expires Dec. 31, 2023.
Miller said she has lived in the district with her husband for 30 years and that all three of her sons graduated from West Carrollton High School. Previously, she served on a PTA board. She is now tennis coach at the high school.
She told the Dayton Daily News she is running for re-election to the board of education “to help provide the very best education for the students of the West Carrollton Schools.”
“When I first ran for the board my decision to run was based on the fact that I wanted to ensure that all the children received the very best education that the district could provide,” she told the League of Women Voters. “This is still true to this day.”
Miller told this news outlet that her top three priorities are to work with the district leadership to keep providing the top curriculum for the students, to continue to work with all three municipalities to help keep West Carrollton schools’ students safe and to continue to communicate as much possible to all of our parents and stakeholders.
“I will continue to do whatever I can to make the West Carrollton School District the best school district in the State of Ohio,” she said.
Nathaniel Mundy, who said he moved to West Carrollton in his seventh grade year, is employed as a postal carrier for USPS. He said is seeking to be elected because he likes the community and the schools.
“As a proud West Carrollton graduate in 2019, I know the good and bad in the school system simply because I was just there,” Mundy said. “I worked with the school board my junior and senior year and I don’t want to stop now. I know most of the students and their parents because of the sporting and extracurricular events that I have been a part of for multiple years.”
Mundy said at the top of his three priorities for the district is student safety. “If the schools are not safe, then we are failing the students. I plan to address that by working with the board to fine tune the new schools to prioritize safe practices and procedures,” he said.
His said his second priority is to help link the communication between the board, parents, students and teachers to create a better environment for all and that updated websites and encouraging open communication can improve all aspects of the school system.
Mundy said his third priority is opening more opportunities for student involvement. “More sports and clubs could bring in the interests of all students, and uplift spirit and pride to enhance the school, which in turn will enhance our community as well,” he said. “All students are good at something and it’s only right to give them the opportunity to find that something.”
Poindexter, a 1994 graduate of West Carrollton High School and long-time resident of the West Carrollton school district, is an associate practice administrator of behavioral health services at TriHealth.
Poindexter told the League of Women Voters she is running for office because “I want my children to have access to the same great education in the West Carrollton school district as I had.”
“My goal in seeking to serve on the school board is to ensure that input from parents is valued and considered as decisions are made,” she said. “I also intend to promote and maintain a respectful, supportive dialogue between school district administration, teachers, and parents to provide the best academic environment for our children.”
School boards often must deal with controversial issues, such as mask-wearing as a safety issue vs a perceived encroachment of individual freedoms, treatment of transgender students, and teaching history in a way that is non-threatening but historically accurate. Poindexter explained how she would approach those divisive issues as a school board member.
“My wonderful West Carrollton teachers taught me to effectively state my opinions without diminishing the beliefs and viewpoints of others, to treat others with dignity and respect, the skills needed to disagree peacefully, to seek out the opinions of others, and to use critical thinking and collaboration to find compromise when necessary,” she said. “I plan to honor my educators by applying those principles to any controversial issues I face as a school board member.”
Lewallen and Albrycht did not respond to requests for comment.