Bay Board of Education: Meet the Candidates

The Bay Village Board of Education race this year is red hot. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the issues that will see eight candidates pared down to just three winners in November.

The League of Women Voters has assembled an excellent Q&A with all eight candidates. Here are the answers provided by each candidate.

The League of Women Voters Education Fund VOTE411 is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Whether it’s local, state or federal, every election is important to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities.

On Aug. 10, 2020, the Bay Village Board of Education passed a resolution to commit to equity and excellence in education. Do you support or oppose this resolution and why?

Would you change anything about the district’s response to the pandemic?

What do you see as the school district’s most pressing priorities for the next 5 years?

What do you see as the most important qualities in a district superintendent?

What are your top two priorities for improving the school district over the next 5 years?

What do you believe the school district is doing well?

Bay Village Board of Education (Choose 3)

Term: 4 years • Salary: $2,700 • Eight candidates are running for the three four-year terms available on the board of education. The only incumbent is Scott A. Schulz, who was appointed to the board last year. (Lisa Priemer and Dave Vegh are not running for reelection.) The other seven candidates are Casey Ault, Scott Dwyer, Amy Huntley, Dave Jones, Patrick E. Mosier, Andrey Stojic, and John D. Taylor.

Casey AultHuman Resource Manager

Qualifications for office: Married for 22 years. Moved to Bay in 2004. Two kids are Bay grads and three are at Bay High. My past community experience: Co-Leader of Women’s Discipleship at BPC, Head Parent of Bay High Women’s Soccer Team Parent Committee, Youth Group Volunteer at BPC, Committee Member of non-profit Scion Tree, Partner Volunteer with Children’s Hope Chest. Campaign Phone: (440) 476-1725 • Website: http://CaseyAult.com

Scott DwyerSenior VP, Product and Strategic Planning, Hyland Software

Education: Master’s degree in Engineering; M.B.A. Qualifications for office: I have lived in Bay Village for over 50 years and am a graduate of Bay schools. My wife has been a teacher in the district and my children are products of Bay schools. Campaign email address: Dwyer4Bay@gmail.com

Amy HuntleyCertified Public Accountant

Qualifications for office: I’m a Bay graduate and mother of 6 children. My husband is a retired Bay teacher. I’m a CPA with 34 years of experience advising businesses and individuals. Integrity and honesty are essential in my job. I have 17+ years on the Bay School Board, treasurer of all 5 PTA units, Music Boosters and the levy committee. Campaign email address: amybhuntley@gmail.com • Website: http://www.amyhuntleyforbayschools.com • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Amy-Huntley-for-Bay-School-Board-108615348229281

Dave “Rick” JonesInstitutional Financial Advisor

Qualifications for office: I specialize in managing portfolios for Midwestern Community Banks, typically $2 billion and less in assets. In dealing with these smaller banks typically in rural or suburban areas, I understand how important the local school districts are to success of these areas. In my free time time, I enjoy coaching my sons in their sports.

Patrick E. MosierChemist

Education: Ph.D., Chemistry. Qualifications for office: Community has been a part of me and my family since we moved back to Bay Village 25 years ago. As a Ph.D. Chemist, I have always been very focused on the importance of a strong education. Through PTA and as Kiwanis President, I have been involved with the Bay schools for over 15 years. Campaign email address: patrickmosier@sbcglobal.net

Scott A. Schulz

Education: B.A. in communication and Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Arizona. Qualifications for office: Higher education professional since 2007. Vice president for enrollment management at Baldwin Wallace University. Volunteers as a mentor for veterans and was appointed to the Bay Village Board of Education in 2020. Website: http://www.scottschulzforbayschools.com

Andrey StojicAssociate Director of General Neurology, Cleveland Clinic

Qualifications for office: As Associate Director of General Neurology for the Cleveland Clinic, I develop neurologic care throughout our eight-county regional health system. I am a trained neurologist, with a PhD in neuroscience. For 18 years, I’ve taught medical students and resident physicians and have enjoyed providing learning experiences for students in Bay Village who are interested in a career in healthcare. Website: http://andreystojicforbayschoolboard.com

John D. TaylorIT Consultant; Adjunct Professor, CWRU

Education: B.S.E.E., Ohio State University; M.B.A., University of Maryland. Qualifications for office: I am a businessman, educator, parent, and volunteer, so I bring a range of skills to serve the Board of Education. I have successfully provided IT consulting services for 30 years with a distinctive record of developing people, financial acumen and process improvement capabilities to maximize team performance. Campaign email address: jtaylorboe@yahoo.com • Website: http://www.votejohntaylor.com

On Aug. 10, 2020, the Bay Village Board of Education passed a resolution to commit to equity and excellence in education. Do you support or oppose this resolution and why?

Casey Ault: My family actively stands against racism. We love people from all walks of life and are proud that we surround ourselves with people that are different from us. We celebrate all ethnicities and keep our kids’ heritage alive in our home. In saying that, equity does the direct opposite. Equity is equal outcomes, a dismantling of the foundations of a free society. Equity has replaced color blind equal opportunity with race based discrimination. I believe in equal opportunity for all Bay Village School students and staff. My children have been championed as equal and excelled in the Bay Schools.

Scott Dwyer: It is important for us to acknowledge that racism exists, and that we can no longer tolerate it anywhere. It is also important that we don’t teach our kids that they are racist simply because of the color of their skin. The school district, along with public and private organizations throughout the United States, have developed similar resolutions, worded in different ways, to acknowledge this. We must continue to provide equal opportunity for all students while still ensuring schools are not teaching to the lowest common denominator. This needs to include options for gifted and remedial students.

Amy Huntley: I support the concept of the resolution. ALL students should have access to an excellent education. We must continue to strive to meet the needs of ALL students and provide the best education possible. It is important we do not have barriers (intentional or unintentional) for any student’s access to education and a safe environment in which to learn. As the world changes around us, it is important we continuously review and update our program to ensure access is not blocked. I would like to incorporate the community to establish a plan to ensure we are meeting this objective.

Dave “Rick” Jones: I consider myself lucky to be a third-generation graduate of Bay High School and never in my mind did I consider another city to raise my children. The tradition of excellence that Bay Schools has and continues to offers is Bay Village’s largest asset. While I understand the state of the Country when the resolution was passed, I think it was ill advised and rushed. The board should have focused on the diverse number of programs it already has offered: music, journalism, advanced placement, special needs, athletics and how successful those programs are.

Patrick E. Mosier: Excellence in education and equality are important to the community and I am committed to these principles. Much of this resolution reflects years of existing Bay Village School policy and in many cases existing legal requirements of the district. There is always room for improvement at all levels, but it is important to stay focused on the main objective of the schools, excellence in education.

Scott A. Schulz: At the heart of Bay Schools is a commitment to helping all children become their best selves. Equality of opportunity is important, but equity is the vehicle through which the district ensures every child receives the respect and support needed to thrive. For high-achieving students, this requires the creation of gifted programs and Advanced Placement courses needed for a more challenging academic environment. For some students, it means access to special education, mental health counseling or speech-language programs. Bay’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is designed to provide excellence for all, encouraging every child to maximize their potential.

Andrey Stojic: I support the resolution. Equity in education means creating opportunities and reducing barriers for students to achieve their full academic potential. Academic excellence has – and will always be – a shared value in our community. This resolution reaffirms the district’s commitment to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to achieve academic excellence. Our district already does this through providing intervention to students who may need help in developing the skills necessary to reach their full academic potential. This resolution is a continued commitment to continue to build upon and improve efforts to remove any other barriers to success.

John D. Taylor: The exceptional performance of the Bay Village schools was a primary reason that my family and I moved to Bay Village seventeen years ago. In addition to our experience at Bay Village schools, we learned our new community was a wonderful, caring, generous and supportive community for all citizens. As the results of the Equity Audit confirmed, there are no systemic inequities or institutional barriers established in the school system. The implied accusation of the school system was unfair and the funding of the grant could have been provided to assist a less affluent school system.

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Would you change anything about the district’s response to the pandemic?

Casey Ault: When the pandemic arrived, districts across the country were faced with the task of protecting the lives of students while continuing to offer a quality education. The Bay School District imposed measures to achieve those goals and quickly adapted to a new learning environment where students were educated remotely. However, after learning more about the coronavirus, many states and countries have lifted restrictions in an effort to return to normalcy and to put students in an optimal position to succeed. It is imperative that the Bay Village School District adjust restrictions in a measured way that allows students to excel.

Scott Dwyer: I believe the best place for our students to learn is in school. It is important that we do not require masks longer than necessary, but without an online learning option for students, masking allows for students to stay in school and not to have to quarantine.

Amy Huntley: The district’s primary goal was to have students safely in school as much as possible. I support the goal and the steps taken to reach it. The district also provided an online learning option for families that were more comfortable keeping their children at home. This split approach provided options for families to balance their individual family needs while educating their children. It is easy to make decisions with hindsight, it’s tough to make them in the moment. The information related to Covid changed quickly and frequently. The district remained student focused as it handled the pandemic.

Dave “Rick” Jones: I give credit to the board and administrators for navigating this unprecedented pandemic, however the one area I feel like they have failed in is open communication with the public. A large reason for the success of Bay Schools is how much the parents are invested in their children. In the past year, there were times when communication from the board was lacking. Parents wanted some guidance and often times emails, questions at board meetings, phone calls went unanswered, and that is unacceptable. The board, even at meetings should be willing to openly discuss school business.

Patrick E. Mosier: The pandemic has been a challenge for all of us, including our work situations and our family health. The schools have been large focus of seemingly endless shifts in public policy regarding response to the pandemic. Not being on the inside of the administration, it would be irresponsible of me to second guess district decisions. However, the key focus of any pandemic response is to maintain the educational standards for our children, with a primary objective of keeping them in the classroom.

Scott A. Schulz: Despite herculean efforts by teachers and staff, there were missed opportunities during the height of the pandemic. In addition to notifying parents about individual COVID cases, the district might have presented the data necessary to evaluate quarantine and isolation trends among staff and students. This could have alleviated confusion around decisions to teach remotely or in building. Likewise, there were times when we operated remotely for instruction but offered in-person athletic programs. Data related to teacher/staff absence trends or spread rates within schools or teams, rather than relying exclusively on community spread rates or CCBH figures, would have been informative.

Andrey Stojic: Generally, no. As a medical professional, I was proud of the district’s response, which kept our children and school district employees safe. While not perfect, the district’s plan kept our children in the classroom ~ 80% of the school year, one of the highest in the region. The district continues to take reasonable and appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, relying on a proactive, versus reactive approach. What has improved more recently, is communication from the district. Communication via email and in townhalls offer families a clear explanation and rationale for ongoing masking and mitigation steps.

John D. Taylor: Due to the uncertainty of the causes and spread of the virus, the BOE navigated a very challenging situation. While I would prefer masking to be optional, we have made great progress compared to last year when the students were in cubes of plexiglass, no lockers, no cafeteria or team activities. The two-week reassessment is a small price to pay at this time. The one area of improvement would be to incorporate a data driven approach based on target levels to address the mask mandate. This approach would remove the uncertainty from the decision making process.

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What do you see as the school district’s most pressing priorities for the next 5 years?

Casey Ault: The district’s priorities over the next five years are: educational excellence, a new superintendent, and budgeting. Educational excellence will continue to be the most important. We have yet to realize the full scope of the pandemic’s educational implications. Continuing to utilize a curriculum that focuses on foundational and measurable skills allows us to identify and remedy learning gaps. It is imperative the proper superintendent is in place to promote this mission. Although Bay is operating in the red we must do our due diligence to confirm that we are as fiscally responsible as possible before seeking a levy.

Scott DwyerThe district has several issues that are important in the long-term: prudent fiscal management, hiring of a superintendent, and maintaining small class size and continued academic excellence. The last levy was passed in 2016 and was intended to provide for 4 years of funding. While a levy will most likely be proposed in the near future, prudent management of expenses needs to continue. We must also hire a permanent superintendent. Making the right long-term hire is imperative, and we must also continue to focus on, and empower the administration to continue to support, students’ mental health.

Amy Huntley: The main overall priority is to stabilize the district. Covid, turnover in the central office and the chaos in the world around us has caused a variety of challenges. The first priority is to determine a permanent superintendent. The superintendent is responsible for the leadership and guidance of the district. The second priority is to review district finances and determine future funding needs. The financial health of the district impacts the ability to continue the academic excellence. A third priority would be to bring unity within the school community and map a path to move forward.

Dave “Rick” Jones: The most pressing issue facing the Bay Schools is the hiring of a qualified Superintendent by the start of 2022-23 school year. The board needs to find someone who is open to working with the board, teachers, and public to keep the tradition of excellence going in Bay Schools and is also invested for the long term, so we will not be repeating the process for the third time in the recent past. The board CANNOT fail to hire the correct candidate a second time. Once a long-term qualified Superintendent is in place, other priorities can be addressed.

Patrick E. Mosier: The Bay Village Schools are at a key transition point, unique in the last generation. As we continue to contend with pandemic response, the district is also in need of new leadership, starting with Superintendent. The next five years will bring a lot of challenges to our school stability; fiscal responsibility will be the center of attention as we wrestle with the challenges of maintaining a top tier educational experience for our children.

Scott A. Schulz: Although challenges related to COVID remain, the district must continue to plan for and shape a robust future. In the coming months, Bay Schools will coordinate the search for a superintendent, establish tangible goals for the next five years and a roadmap for their achievement within the framework of the new strategic plan, and, with the district reaching the end of its current levy cycle, begin the crucial work of proposing and passing a funding levy. Bay Schools must also strengthen its relationship with the community by enhancing communication, transparency and opportunities for engagement while upholding its mission and values.

Andrey Stojic: First, the search and hire of a permanent superintendent is critical to ensure excellent leadership for our district. Second, the district must remain fiscally responsible, and it is critical that the next school levy is supported by voters. Third, the draft Strategic Plan should undergo a review and approval by the board. This review will ensure that it meets the needs of our students, schools, and community, while offering a realistic mechanism for accountability in its implementation. The Strategic Plan offers a vision for our district that prepares our students – academically and emotionally – for the future of work.

John D. Taylor: The focus of my campaign is academic excellence and fiscal responsibility. The primary driver to building on our tradition of academic excellence is the hiring of a new superintendent during the first quarter of 2022. This selection will set up the future decisions related to the direction of the school district. Regarding fiscal responsibility, there are two priorities which are passage of an operating levy and the renewal of the teachers’ contract in June 2022.

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What do you see as the most important qualities in a district superintendent?

Casey Ault: A successful district superintendent must be a strong leader who works well with others. Our school district must hire an individual who can balance the concerns and interests of the students, teachers, and the community. My years of experience in the field of Human Resources place me in an excellent position to identify and select a candidate who will lead our school district into fiscal responsibility and high academic achievement.

Scott Dwyer: A strong superintendent must be collaborative, a strong communicator, authentic, and honest. He or she needs to build relationships with the administrators and teachers. They have to be able to think and lead strategically and consider the long-term implications of the decisions they make for the betterment of the district and the city. They also must collaborate with the city to ensure that utilization of land, traffic issues and school safety are managed cooperatively together.

Amy Huntley: The superintendent role requires a blend of skills. They must have a strong knowledge of the constantly changing laws surrounding education. They need to be student focused so decisions are based on the best interest of students. They need to be knowledgeable of our community and its’ priorities. Experience in the classroom and supervising staff is essential for implementing best educational practices. Communication and problem-solving skills are vital to be able to work with the staff and the public. Financial knowledge helps make tax dollars stretch. The ideal candidate will have all of these skills and more.

Dave “Rick” Jones: The next district superintendent should be someone who while strong willed, needs to be open to compromise and discussion. The Board and superintendent need to work hand in hand to advance Bay Schools. In attending the Board Meetings, the past year, what I witnessed was the superintendent saying something and the Board unanimously without discussion agree to it. That cannot continue, as there needs to be a checks and balances in place, so the most important quality is for the person to be a leader but recognize that she also cannot lead alone.

Patrick E. Mosier: The role of superintendent of Bay Village Schools has always been a highly coveted position. Our superintendent should represent the best of Bay Village and the educational experience that we offer. To achieve that, our next superintendent should possess many years of experience, either as a previous superintendent or as a building level administrator. In addition, the ideal candidate would provide stable and firm leadership, strong communication skills, critical thinking, and be knowledgeable of state laws and requirements.

Scott A. Schulz: First, a superintendent must have an expertise in K-12 pedagogy, able to understand instructional models, empower teachers and deliver an educational experience that meets children where they are while preparing them to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and leaders in a rapidly changing and competitive global landscape. Second, the role requires a capacity to collaborate and build bridges with parents, teachers, staff and community leaders in support of our students. And lastly, a superintendent must have an inspirational vision for the future and unwavering commitment to providing the programs, policies and facilities necessary to achieve excellence for all.

Andrey Stojic: The current environment will test our next superintendent. Along with excellent qualifications and experience, the next superintendent will need to demonstrate: Commitment- to assure our community that they are committed to serving for years to come and steward our schools responsibly; Transparency- they must be open and clear on their policy and financial decisions and demonstrate accountability; Empathy- they must listen and understand the concerns of our community, parents and students to better meet the needs of our schools; Communication- They must be able to effectively speak to our vision, mission and explain critical decisions that will affect our schools.

John D. Taylor: The most important attributes for the next superintendent include a proven track record of high academic achievement, experience in running a school district, shared values with the community and leadership characteristics to build trust with the teachers, administration, BOE and the community. As important, is the selection process which should include rigorous criteria which align with our school district’s priorities. In addition, the hiring process should be open and inclusive to involve screening committees consisting of teachers and parents.

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What are your top two priorities for improving the school district over the next 5 years?

Casey Ault: My top priorities for improving the school district are finding and hiring a new superintendent that will bring our community and staff together. Next, I will work with the treasurer to go line by line through the budget looking for things we spent too much on or maybe too little. Finally, I will commit to taking extra time viewing the curriculum offered making sure that it is aligned with our community values and a focus on excellence in education.

Scott Dwyer: Hiring a permanent superintendent and ensuring prudent fiscal management.

Amy Huntley: My priorities for the district would be to prevent our programs from dropping in quality and to unify the community around the schools. To accomplish these objectives, establishing the permanent superintendent and solidifying the financial health of the district are essential. As the academic leader of the district, the superintendent is the driving force to work with our staff and our community to develop a plan to review and update our programs and address any concerns that may be lingering. Without the appropriate financial support, the focus would have to be on cuts vs improvements.

Dave “Rick” Jones: After the hiring of a new superintendent, the board needs to focus on the current fiscal state of the district. It is operating at a fairly large deficit currently and that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Another major part of the fiscal responsibility is negotiating a fair new contract with the teachers. A second priority should be on raising the test scores throughout the district. Over the past several years, we have seen scores fall throughout the district and a focus should be put on returning those scores back to higher standards set in the past.

Patrick E. Mosier: There are many challenges facing public schools today, and Bay Village is not immune. Our top priorities remain providing fiscally responsible policy and identifying the leadership necessary to guide our schools through the next 5 years and beyond. Fiscal responsibility has at its core a need to secure appropriate and adequate funding to maintain the outstanding education offered to our students. Leadership begins with a new superintendent but also includes providing a work environment that attracts and retains quality leaders at all administrative levels.

Scott A. Schulz: Chief among the aforementioned priorities is the passing of a new levy and improving the relationship between the district and Bay community. Through outstanding fiscal management and innovative efforts to secure external resources, Bay Schools has extended its current levy cycle. However, a new levy must be passed if we are to maintain a quality educational experience for our students. Moreover, Bay Schools has not come away unscathed from recent political controversies related to masking and curriculum concerns. Efforts to expand transparency through the sharing of data, engagement using a more robust website, and community outreach and education must continue.

Andrey Stojic: In addition to my response earlier, I would include: 1. Improvement in mental health services for our students to address depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse, complimented with strategies to improve overall student wellness including personal time, extracurricular activities during the school day and improvement in school nutritional services; and 2. Assess and evaluate needs for improvement of existing school infrastructure and assessment for new facilities. Our facilities will need to meet the needs of our students, help reduce the costs associated with maintaining and upgrading existing structures and allow us to move toward more energy-efficient schools.

John D. Taylor: As mentioned, the highest priorities are the new superintendent hire, funding establish via an operating levy and teacher’s contract finalized. This are important and fundamental decision for the school district which can best be accomplished through a united school board and community. Therefore, the first step is to build trust with all parties and stakeholders. I would pledge to do the following: build trust through open and inclusive discourse, engage parents and Bay Village constituents, prioritize student’s safety and education and support teachers in the education process.

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What do you believe the school district is doing well?

Casey Ault: Bay Village is a coveted location to raise a family which is partly due to our wonderful schools. The Bay Village School District has a longstanding history of academic achievement. Our students have a wide array of classes and extracurricular activities to choose from that provide a well rounded educational experience. Whether it is in the classroom, on a stage, or on a playing field, Bay Village Schools reach a level of success that is second to none.

Scott Dwyer: The school district does an excellent job at providing a strong foundation of academic success. They prepare students well for life after school in many ways; this includes a broad array of educational and work-study opportunities. I also believe the district and the teachers’ union have managed their relationship well. The district has a nationally recognized music program and has numerous programs to ensure students are involved in giving back to the community.

Amy Huntley: The district has a long history of providing an excellent education to students and preparing them for life after graduation. We have a talented staff who care deeply about the success of each student. They continuously focus on the best outcomes for our students and create a calm environment for our students to maximize their learning potential. We also have a strong history of providing opportunities for students outside of the classroom. These help students develop skills that go beyond textbooks and are equally important in the development of the whole child.

Dave “Rick” Jones: Bay Schools should be applauded for the diverse range of programs it offers at high levels. Be it advanced courses, special needs courses, athletics, marching band, award winning year book, newspaper, thespian program, or OWE for training students in the trades, the schools offer students of all abilities and backgrounds a chance to succeed. The district and the city should be celebrating and promoting this as I think it is more difficult for a student not to find their niche than it is to find it.

Patrick E. Mosier: The Bay Village Schools do so many things well that it is difficult to list them all. First and foremost, our school district continues to provide an outstanding and well-rounded education to our children. In so doing, the students of Bay Village schools are well prepared for college and beyond. While maintaining a high standard of education, our schools focus on the whole student, providing many opportunities outside of the academic, including service and volunteerism, athletics, an outstanding music program, access to quality vocational experiences, and more. Bay Village students distinguish themselves with their high extracurricular involvement.

Scott A. Schulz: Bay never settles. Despite the district’s propensity for recognition, Bay Schools does not rest on its laurels but instead continues to evolve. In the last several years, language programs have been added, gifted education opportunities have been expanded, and investments in mental health services have increased as the social emotional needs of our children are recognized as an important element for learning. Bay Village City Schools recently passed a new strategic plan designed to ensure we promote excellence for all and, in so doing, preserve Bay’s reputation as a destination community in our state and region.

Andrey Stojic: We have at our core an outstanding school system, with some of the best and most dedicated educators, a strong supportive community, excellent funding and a track record of proven results. I want to serve this community to build on our success and create a school system that further enhances our shared values of academic excellence and is prepared to meet the needs of our students and prepare them for work, college and beyond.

John D. Taylor: The Bay Village School District has consistently ranked in the top tier of all Ohio school districts while maintaining financials which compare favorably with the school districts in the same tiers. I believe Bay Village schools adequately support remedial, special education and gifted or other special programs. I believe some programs (e.g., IEP) have far exceeded comparable programs based on their success while other programs (e.g., AP) should be evaluated.

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