Five people seek three Dayton school board seats in fall election

Five people have submitted petitions to run for three open seats on Dayton’s school board in the Nov. 5 election, after three incumbents decided not to seek another term in office.

The five are Joe Lacey, Gabriela Pickett-Mosier, Jamie Rippey, Dion Sampson and Will Smith, according to Montgomery County Board of Elections documents. Submitting petitions by Wednesday’s deadline was the first step, but the five are not officially on the ballot until the Board of Elections reviews those petitions and certifies their candidacy at its Aug. 27 meeting.

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Smith described himself as a community organizer and activist. Lacey, an accountant for the Montgomery County treasurer, was a 12-year Dayton school board member who narrowly lost a bid for re-election in 2017. Sampson has worked in education roles for 23 years, including time as a Neighborhood School Site Coordinator in Dayton, through Omega CDC.

All three have children who currently attend DPS schools, and Smith and Sampson are DPS graduates.

Rippey has worked in student advising and disability services roles for Indiana University East for almost four years. She is a DPS and University of Dayton grad. Pickett-Mosier is director of international education at The Lynda A. Cohen Center for the Study of Child Development and some of her children graduated from Stivers.

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Of 600-plus Ohio school districts, Dayton has scored among the bottom five on state tests each of the past three state report cards, posting the lowest performance index in Ohio for 2017-18. DPS has been working to improve those results, and the 2018-19 report cards come out next month.

Incumbent Dayton school board members Robert Walker, Sheila Taylor and John McManus decided not to run for re-election and are serving out their terms through the end of 2019.

That means by January, all seven school board seats will have turned over in the past two years. A new four-member majority was elected in November 2017 — William Harris, Jocelyn Rhynard, Mohamed Al-Hamdani and Karen Wick-Gagnet.

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In the past two years, Dayton Public Schools has hired a new superintendent, changed 20 of 25 building principals, completely overhauled the human resources and special education departments, made dramatic changes to teacher pay and training, closed two schools and hired new directors of safety, health, communication (twice), transportation (twice), federal programs, staff training and athletics.

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