Editor’s note: The second part of this story discussing Xenia Township Trustee candidates will run Saturday.
XENIA — Four candidates vying for spots on Xenia City Council and the Xenia Community Schools Board of Education took the mic Oct. 16, focusing on their strong ties to Xenia and dedication to its residents.
Greene County Tea Party hosted the Xenia Meet the Candidates Night at the Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center.
Xenia City Council
Four candidates are running for four council seats.
Thomas Scrivens said his family moved to Xenia in 1923 and has lived on the same street ever since. A graduate of Xenia High School and Central State University, Scrivens studied medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and earned a master’s in public health before becoming a hospital administrator.
“I think people who know me know that I care,” Scrivens told the audience.
Scrivens was appointed to a vacant council seat in January 2018 when Sarah Mays, then on council, became mayor. He served until Dec. 31 as a new council member was elected in the November election.
“We all know that Xenia is someplace special … The secret is getting out,” Scrivens said. “I will be representing every citizen in every part of the city, every street. I’m just a citizen, I’m a guy over the back fence and I’m asking for your support. I will work for you. I hope you find in your heart to elect me to represent you.”
Incumbent Dr. Edgar Wallace was elected in 2015 and currently serves as vice president of the council.
Wallace, too, is a long-time Xenian, living in the city since 1994. He’s a pastor at First United Christian Church and teaches social work at Wilberforce University.
The Lexington, Ky. native earned a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Kentucky, a master’s in social work from the University of Louisville, a master’s in business administration and church management, and a doctorate in ministry.
Wallace addressed the issue of fixing the city’s streets.
“We’ve been working very, very hard to remedy that situation,” he said. “We’re doing some patchwork right now in an effort to try to get to as many streets as we can, do as much as we can and get them finished.”
Wallace said the city should have about $1.3 million going forward to work on the streets, thanks to the $500,000 already in the budget, another $500,000 from the gas tax and an additional $300,000.
Candidates Cody Brannum, a write-in, and Rebekah Dean were not present.
Xenia Community School District
Voters will choose two of the three running to serve on the school board.
Both incumbents spoke.
Dr. Pam Callahan said she’s seeking re-election because of her education, experience on the board, and commitment to the city she’s lived in her whole life.
“Education is really my passion. It’s what I do and it’s who I am,” she said.
Callahan, a graduate of Xenia High School, earned an associate’s in radiologic technology from Sinclair Community College, a bachelor’s in health professions from Kettering College of Medical Arts, a master’s in education from University of Dayton and a doctorate of education from Capella University. She’s now a tenured associate professor at Sinclair.
“I do know how important it is to have a solid K-12 education because I see it in those students that are coming into college,” she said. “I do believe in a college education, but there’s also great value in career tech and vocation. I believe that every child’s success looks different. No one answer works.”
Callahan is in her fourth year on the board and also sits on the Greene County Career Center Board of Education. She said her years serving and the various trainings have shaped her understanding.
“I understand the revenues and expenses, where we get our money and what we spend our money on. If I’m re-elected, I want to continue to prioritize those expenses, keeping the board financially sound,” she said.
Overall, she said, her connection to the community makes her an ideal candidate.
“I have the commitment. I was born in this city, I was raised here, I raised my kids here, I graduated from here, and I understand the city and I understand our student base,” she said. “I understand our successes. We have great teachers and we’re doing a lot of really good things in our school.”
Incumbent Tamara Spahr Bartley also describes herself as a lifelong Xenia resident and Xenia High School graduate. She said she not only grew up in Xenia but is raising her children there, too.
A third-generation educator, she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Wright State University and is a part-time literacy coach with 24 years of classroom teaching experience.
Bartley said her involvement with the schools transcends the board — ranging from helping out with Xenia Wee Bucs, to handling concessions, to organizing special nights for sports programs.
“Why do I want to be on the Xenia School Board? To give back to my community and help make a difference in children’s lives,” she said.
Bartley said her experience as a teacher — plus her role as a parent — aids her leadership on the board.
“As a teacher, I understand the needs of today’s students and how important it is that our students are being taught in a safe school environment. I understand the importance of school buildings with a climate that fosters learning and a building equipped with today’s technology and tools for learning,” she said.
If re-elected, Bartley said she will continue to focus on the district’s financial status, school safety, and ensuring students have access to competitive programs.
“I will make sure our students are always put first and are the number one priority within the Xenia Community Schools,” she said. “I know this community. Xenia Schools continue to improve in so many ways and I’m looking forward to being a part of that continued success.”
Ethan Reynolds, a challenger, was not present. In a letter read to the audience, he stated his priorities: school safety, opposing common core and fiscal responsibility.
“I have a fiscally responsible approach to spending school tax dollars while ensuring our students get a career-focused education in high school so they can be career ready day one after they graduate or succeed in college if they choose to further their education,” he wrote.
Reynolds said he will work to implement the state treasurer’s online Ohio Checkbook program to allow taxpayers to track spending of education dollars.
He continued: “I want to make Xenia School District the best, most efficient school district in Greene County.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498. Follow @annadbolton on Facebook.