10 file to run for 4 Dayton school board seats

Ten people have filed to run for the four available seats on Dayton Public Schools’ embattled school board, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The school board is a seven-member group, so a narrow majority of seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 7 election.

Current board members Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree and Adil Baguirov decided not to run for re-election, leaving Joe Lacey as the only incumbent expected to be on the ballot. Board members John McManus, Shelia Taylor and Robert Walker have two years remaining on their terms.

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Four of the 10 expected candidates are working together as a group — Mohamed Al-Hamdani, Paul Bradley, William “Bill” Harris Jr. and Karen Wick-Gagnet. Donna Hill, Claudia Hunter and Jo’el Jones have worked for the district, Mario Gallin is a former school board member, while Jocelyn Rhynard is a current DPS parent.

The board of elections will review all petitions that were filed by the 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline to make sure they meet legal requirements, then will vote Aug. 15 to officially place candidates to the ballot.

Nineteen people originally picked up petitions, showing some interest in running for school board, but nine decided not to go forward.

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Here’s a quick look at those who filed:

** Jocelyn Rhynard: Rhynard, 37, is a 14-year Dayton resident with four children who attend various Dayton Public Schools. She said as a full-time mom, she has spent hundreds of hours working in her children's elementary school and served as co-chair of the Parent/Teacher Organization at River's Edge Montessori for the past two years. She is one of the few candidates who has been a regular participant in recent school board meetings.

** Joe Lacey: Lacey, 57, is the longest-serving DPS board member, at 12 years, and has been finance committee chair for most of that time. His daughter attends Ruskin school, where he said he volunteers and serves on a parent council. An accountant by trade, he works for Montgomery County, and also served as treasurer of the county Democratic Party for 12 years.

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** Donna Hill: Hill, 58, is a reserve teacher (Dayton's term for substitute teachers), and president of the Dayton Chapter of Reserve Teachers who has lived in Dayton for 10 years. She has no children, but said she comes from a family of teachers. She has held jobs in the banking, insurance and social services fields, and is also an afterschool tutor at a local church.

** Mohamed Al-Hamdani: Al-Hamdani, 35, was 10 when he and his family came to Dayton as refugees from Iraq. He is a graduate of Dayton Public schools, Wright State, and UD's law school. He said after work as a Cultural Advisor to the Marine Corps, and director of Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD), he is now regional manager of health partnerships at CareSource. His two children are not yet school-age.

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** Paul Bradley: Bradley, 30, was born in South Korea and raised in Indianapolis, attending both Catholic and Indy public schools. A University of Dayton political science grad, he spent six-plus years as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's regional representative for southwest Ohio. For the past 16 months he has been Antioch University's director of advancement, government relations, and workforce development. He is engaged with no children.

** Karen Wick-Gagnet: Wick-Gagnet, 56, owns and manages Coco's Bistro and Pacesetter Painting with her husband. Her two adult children are both Stivers grads, and she said she was President of the PTA when her children were in elementary school. She also served four years as chair of the Seedling Foundation Board, a 501c3 that supports art programs at Stivers.

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** William "Bill" Harris Jr.: Harris, 55, is founder and pastor the past 12 years of Believers Christian Fellowship Church, after 12 years as pastor of Zion Baptist Church. He said he graduated from United Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry degree, and has served on multiple boards including Key Bank's Community Advisory Board. His two adult sons graduated from Stivers.

** Jo'el Jones: Jones said she was a Dayton Public Schools administrator from 2009-15, helping students move from elementary to high school in her role as transition coordinator, and helping implement the restorative justice program. Most recently she said she worked for a defense contractor. Jones' two children are a DPS graduate and a current high school student.

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** Ann Marie (Mario) Gallin: Gallin served on Dayton's school board from 2000 to 2007, through the district's bond issue and school building phase. She has recently served on the board of the League of Women Voters, and worked with East End Community Services' programs at Ruskin School. Like Rhynard, she has been a regular participant in recent school board meetings.

** Claudia Hunter: Hunter, a Wilbur Wright High grad, has been involved with Dayton schools as a paraprofessional, a substitute teacher, and previously in a full-time role working with early childhood students. She said she also serves as a youth mentor through juvenile court. Hunter has no children, but has grand-nieces and nephews at Edison and World of Wonder schools.

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