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Lakeview school board race wide open

No incumbents running as seven push for 3 seats

CORTLAND — In a race with no incumbents, seven will vie for three open seats on the Lakeview Board of Education.

Those in the running include first-time candidates Paul J. Antonchak Jr., Angela Campana, Lance R. Grahn, Mark Harper, Jeffrey Jiang and Taylor Pease, and Danielle Scherer, who made an unsuccessful run for the board in 2017.

Incumbents Donna Zuga, Larry Sherer and Troy Adair are not seeking re-election.

Another current board member, Donald Galbreath, resigned from his position last week. He was slated to hold the office through 2024. An appointment for that unexpired term will be made at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 15.

CAMPANA

Campana, 46, is a teacher at Grand Valley Local Schools and previously taught at Warren City Schools.

Campana said she believes the school board should be approachable by any stakeholder in the community — students, parents, community members, employees and administration — and also would like to see the expansion of extracurricular activities and the creation of advisory boards to “build a bridge between the community and the school district.”

She has lived in the Lakeview School District since 1999 and has four children who have attended or now attend school in the district. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown University and a master’s degree in elementary reading and math from Walden University.

GRAHN

Grahn, 68, was the dean of Kent State University at Trumbull from 2015 to 2019 and holds a Ph.D. from Duke University, in addition to a master’s and a bachelor’s degree.

If elected, Grahn’s priorities would be maintaining the district’s “rightly earned” reputation for educational excellence, deepening the district’s connections to post-secondary training opportunities, and working with teachers, staff and parents to enrich K-12 students’ curricular experience, he said.

“I will pursue these goals by applying to district decision-making my considerable experience as both a teacher and educational administrator,” Grahn said.

During his tenure as dean at KSU, Grahn set four consecutive annual fundraising records, stabilized enrollment and improved retention, among other achievements, he said.

He said his approach to health and safety is on the “cautious and conservative” side, and that Lakeview’s approach to masking has been “not only prudent, but effective.”

“The mask requirement took into account the health and safety of the entire Lakeview school community,” Grahn said.

HARPER

Harper, 45, is a 1994 graduate of Lakeview High School and attended the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts. He is the director of facilities for the Champion Local School District.

“If elected, my main goal is basically to bring my facilities maintenance experience to the Lakeview schools, to the board of education,” Harper said.

He said having listened to previous board meetings, much of the talk in the district is about improving buildings. He said he wants to help improve facilities and “challenge” the school administrators, he said.

As far as masks go, Harper thinks the important thing is to keep students in the classroom.

“So, with the Ohio Department of Health quarantine mandates, the only way to truly keep our kids in school is having their masks on,” Harper said.

JIANG

Jiang, the race’s youngest candidate at age 18, is a 2021 graduate of Lakeview High School. He said he hopes to represent students on a more “relatable” level by bringing his recent experience as a student to the board.

“Students have a lot of concerns in regards to new buildings, conditions, mental health, resources at their disposal — quite frankly, they do care about the overall education they’re receiving,” Jiang said.

With regards to masks, Jiang believes the district should follow the Ohio Department of Health guidelines and continue to reevaluate their policy on a minuscule level, he said.

Last year, Jiang was chosen as one of the Tribune Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20, celebrating leadership excellence in young individuals. At Lakeview, Jiang was president of Ohio Senior Beta Club. He is also an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow.

PEASE

Pease, 40, is a small business owner. He said he is running for the board to help “correct” the trajectory of the district.

“I think that we have an excellent school system. I think over the last 18 months, we’ve made some very poor judgment calls,” Pease said.

He said his main goal if elected would be to keep students in school but make their days as normal as possible. He said he also wants to increase transparency by creating a “town hall meeting” at least twice per year, where the community can interact with the board with two-way communication, unlike at board meetings where the board just listens and does not respond.

When asked about masks, Pease said the Lakeview Board of Education should look at other school districts in Trumbull County that have done well and those that have not, and learn from the successes and mistakes.

SCHERER

Scherer, 42, made an unsuccessful run for the Lakeview Board of Education in 2017, losing out to incumbents Mary Williams, Sherer and Zuga.

If elected, Scherer said she would like to explore offering “real life” classes to students, teaching skills such as car maintenance, home economics and basic finances, she said. Scherer said transparency is also key moving forward.

Scherer said based on the current breakdown of quarantine requirements from the state of Ohio, she is in favor of the mask mandate the school has in place.

“I am not opposed to the exploration of ways to meet any state mandates without mask wearing, but also think it should not be a priority of the administration …” Scherer said.

Scherer was the office manager at BRAL Corporation from 2016 to 2021, and now is a bartender and server at Iron House Bar & Grill in Cortland. She holdsa bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and is a 1997 graduate of Lakeview High School.

ANTONCHAK JR.

Antonchak is an elementary special education teacher with three master’s degrees focused on education, according to a candidate biography posted earlier this month by the Lakeview Bulldogs PTO Facebook Page.

Antonchak has lived in Cortland for 12 years and has two children in the district, the biography says. He wrote that he is running for the Lakeview Board of Education because he believes it should be made of up of current parents with school-aged children and he feels his professional and academic background can be a “great resource” for Lakeview.

He is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership, with expected graduation in March.

Antonchak did not return several messages left by the Tribune Chronicle seeking additional information.

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