FAIRBORN – Voters will decide who will fill three seats on the Fairborn City School district Board of Education Nov. 3 in a race that includes five candidates.
The board currently consists of Tess Little, Jeri Ann Luce, Roland Parks, Michael Uecker and Andrew Wilson; Little and Uecker are facing expiring terms as of Dec. 31 this year, and are making a run for their seats once again. Joining them in the race include Katherine Mlod, Jerry Browning and Pat McCoart.
Browning holds more than 25 years of engineering experience, and has lead organizations with more than 800 employees while holding the fiscal responsibility of multi-million dollar projects. His history with the district includes three generations of Fairborn High School graduates, and leadership positions related to the soccer team, soccer and athletic boosters club and capital improvement committee.
“I’m committed to improvement of the School District,” Browning wrote. “With my strong leadership experience, ability to communicate and ability to establish relationships, I believe I can help achieve our focus points.”
Browning’s priorities include improving relations with the board and school employees by encouraging open communication, as he feels that doing so is essential for moving the district forward.
In addition, Browning would like to improve communication between the district and city leaders by establishing collaborative planning processes and meeting on a more regular basis, as he feels that both are dependent on each other for success. He would also like more communication to take place between Fairborn citizens and the board.
His concerns also include working more closely with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, watching district funds, establishing new educational facilities through the school’s building project and selecting the appropriate superintendent.
Little has been an educator for more than 38 years. She was initially elected to the board in 2005, and has served as the board president for the last four years. All three of her children are district graduates and two of her grandchildren are current students of the district. Little has been the recipient of multiple awards and has been involved in numerous community projects, including service on the Dayton Peace Museum, B-W Greenway Community Land Trust and Dayton Visual Arts Center board of trustees.
“I am running again for the school board because the current Fairborn Schools Board has already started the process to take us into an exciting new future,” she wrote. “After 10 years of fiscal struggle, our school has worked out of financial caution and we are now fiscally solvent. As part of the board team that established those fiscal policies, we avoided the state takeover of Fairborn Schools in 2013-2014. The current board did the hard work and overcame our fiscal crisis without raising taxes.”
Her priorities for the district include raising test scores, in addition to building new schools, passing two levies in the coming months, contract negotiations and creating better dialogue between the board, school leaders and staff.
McCoart is a 1971 graduate of Fairborn High School. He served as a 15-year volunteer trainer, sixth grade teacher within the Fairborn athletics partner in junior chievement, former booster president, school and pool board member and 1999 focus group for new buildings. He is additionally a former member of the Fairborn Rotary, and holds 27 years of experience as a North East regional sales manager. He said his experience is working with people and young children.
“With the trust of our community, we can brick our schools back to respectability and a place where people will want to educate their children,” McCoart wrote. “We have great teachers and support staff that are also loyal and caring for our children and proud of our city.”
His priorities for the district include establishing an approachable board, working with city leaders and WPAFB in addition to developing plans for new buildings.
“My loyalty to my city and my schools are second to nobody,” he said. “I have seen my city develop and my school deteriorate.”
In a recent Meet the Candidates event, McCoart emphasized transparent relationships, and keeping the community over-involved versus keeping citizens under-involved. He said he has a love for the school district and students.
Mlod’s background belongs to education, as she earned two education-related degrees from the University of Dayton and was raised by parents who both worked in the public school system. She has served as a volunteer for varying activities and committees for the district since her daughter started preschool in 2009. She restored the Parent-Teacher Organization and held leadership positions in such, worked as a substitute teacher and currently serves on the district Communications Team, Strategic Planning Team and works as the communications manager for the Calm/Assertive Project at Fairborn Primary School.
She feels that improving communication between the board and community is essential, and hopes to establish open communication by holding regular meetings with city and township leaders and creating a means for citizens to be heard by the board.
“[I want to bring] those conversations that are difficult, but appropriate for our voters to hear, out in regular board session so that voters can understand the thought processes of the board behind certain votes,” she wrote. “These are not solutions that will be arrived at easily, but we owe it our citizens to try to resolve the communication issues so that we can all work better together to improve not just the schools, but all of Fairborn.”
Uecker has dedicated more than 50 years to the United States Air Force, and was stationed to WPAFB in 1982. He has been responsible for multi-million dollar Air Force projects, and currently serves in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he provides advice on varying technology and acquisition management challenges. In addition, he has served as the director of Kittyhawk Chapel Catholic Choir since 1989, and a member of both the Fairborn City Schools and Greene County Career Center boards of education, since 2011 and 2013, respectfully.
“I am running for another term to continue the work to improve education for our children in the Fairborn School District,” he wrote. “Having emerged from fiscal caution without a state takeover or raising taxes, it is time to turn our attention to modernizing our school facilities.”
His priorities include improving student achievement and success, modernizing facilities and boosting morale and pride within the district. In order to modernize the facilities, the district must pass two levies, which Uecker also considers a priority, in addition to negotiating new contracts with unions next year.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or by following her on Twitter. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.