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3 face off for 2 spots on Warren school board

Newcomer seeks more collaboration with businesses, to entice transfers to return

WARREN — Two current school board members and a newcomer are seeking two seats on the board in the Nov. 2 election.

Longtime board member Regina Patterson, new member Jacqueline Shannon and first-time candidate Jenna Daugherty each have said the district is on the right track in providing children quality educations.

Daugherty, 35, a Warren City School graduate, said she wants to use her decadelong experiences as an intervention specialist in the Chardon and Brookfield school districts to build upon the successes that she experienced while a student in the district.

“I have always been proud of he tradition of academic excellence, the rich opportunities in music, arts and athletics, and overall diversity in programming that Warren City Schools offer,” Daugherty said. “I will work alongside with decision makers to advocate for students’ academic and social-emotional well being and encourage board participation in selecting programs and services that best fit our students’ diverse needs.”

She graduated from Youngstown State University with bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.

As a mother of five Warren school students, Daugherty is running for a board seat because she wants to use her accumulated knowledge to do what is right for all children.

“I took an early retirement in 2014 because I had triplets and wanted to be home,” she said. “Now, all my children are in school, so it is time for me to make other contributions.”

If elected, Daugherty said she plans to highlight the district’s strengths.

“I think the district should increase its collaboration with small businesses and work to attract young families and teachers,” Daugherty said. “We should work to convince those students that opted to transfer out using EdChoice and those that went to parochial schools to return to their home schools in Warren.”

Through the pandemic, Daugherty monitored the school board meetings on its website.

“I appreciate that the board meetings were shared online,” she said. “I’m hoping they will continue providing the video feed. Not every parent can attend the meetings, but some may be able to monitor them. I appreciated the accessibility.”

Daugherty said she was pleased with the district’s response to the pandemic.

“The teachers and staff did a really nice job,” she said. “They put their best feet forward and were doing the best they could for the kids.”

However, Daugherty is pleased students are back in the classroom and there is a sense of normalcy.

“The focus should be what is best for the students,” she said. “I think the district did the right thing by following the guidelines put out by the state.”

SHANNON

Shannon, 68, who has two children who graduated from Warren City Schools, said she believes the district is doing a great job providing children with an excellent education.

“Providing students with educational opportunities when they are young is very important,” she said. “Encouraging students to become excited about learning will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Shannon and her late husband, Patrick, were active in the many programs their children participated in while they were students. She was a PTA parent, a band parent and chauffeur to many students.

Both of her children graduated college and a daughter now is working to obtain a Ph.D.

“You get out of the district what you put into it,” Shannon said.

Earlier this year, Shannon was selected by the board to replace Bob Faulkner, who retired.

“I decided to become involved because I’m of an age where I don’t have children at home and I wanted to give back,” she said. “Warren City Schools have done a lot for my children. When the position became open, I submitted an application, was interviewed and selected to serve.”

Shannon said it is different seeing what is happening in the district from a board member’s perspective than from a parent’s perspective.

“It’s very important for the board and the administration to handle the district’s finances with great care,” she said. “If we don’t stay responsible, we can’t go forward. There are repairs that need done at schools and programs that need to be funded.”

Shannon said she would like to see the district expand its preschool program into all of its buildings with the hiring of qualified teachers.

Although the district has in recent years earned “D’s” on the state report card, Shannon said it is headed in the the right direction.

“We need to continue what is being built right now,” she said. “We are following the direction of the superintendent and treasurer. We have to keep all kids learning in school buildings.”

PATTERSON

Patterson, 64, who has served three terms on the board, said her goal is to continue to work with the district’s administrative team to implement, update and promote board policies that prepare students for the future.

“We are committed to educating and supporting the whole child,” she said. “The diverse needs of our district are met through our work with community partners to provide the needed resources for our students and families.”

Although the district has maintained a “D” grade on the state report card for a number of years, Patterson said some demonstrated improvement has been made in recent years, particularly with the third-grade reading scores and graduation levels.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state board of education decided to release report cards without grades this year.

“Sure, there needs to be improvement,” she said. “The superintendent and the board believe the goal should be a ‘C’ or better.”

Patterson said the board’s role is to put in place the policies that will support the superintendent’s vision to move the district forward.

“We have made strides,” she said.

However, Patterson adds, that state report card represents only one part of what is needed to make sure school is a safe and healthy environment.

“It is an holistic approach,” Patterson said. “We are supporting the whole child. We want the students to successfully move through the district regardless whether they plan to go on to a college program, a skilled apprenticeship or directly into a job.”

The board’s responsibility is to make sure the treasurer and the superintendent are held accountable for their actions.

The pandemic took a toll on the district and its students.

“We never could have imagined that we would have been faced with schools closing, moving quickly to purchase needed computers for students’ home use, using our resources to provide hot spots for Wi-Fi connectivity, advanced curriculum needs and more,” she said. “With the support of the board of education, our administrative team pushed forward into uncharted territory and successfully implemented an educational plan.”

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