Fairbanks, NU see contested board races


Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a week-long series of stories detailing issues and candidates that will appear on the Union County ballot on Nov. 7.
School board elections in Union County are coming up and there are races for Fairbanks and North Union.
Fairbanks has five candidates running for three spots, with Dave Huber running as an incumbent. Other candidates include Tim Belmonte, Angie Bouic, Derek R. Nicol and Brian Phelps.
North Union has four candidates running for three positions, with Dennis Hall and Jean Wedding running as incumbents. Other candidates include Shannon Jenkins-Bugg and Brian Davis.
The Journal-Tribune reached out to all candidates in these two races. Each of the candidates who responded to the request for information have been included in the story.
Bouic is running to be a part of the Fairbanks School Board.
She moved to the area 14 years ago when she married her husband, Rob Bouic, and was surprised by the community involvement surrounding the school.
“To this day, I believe we have grown into a larger community and we do need to evolve to meet the future needs,” Bouic wrote in an e-mail to the Journal-Tribune. “This needs to be at a progression and using the resources we have within our community to succeed.”
According to Bouic, Fairbanks is “a unique situation.” She wrote that kids who need help are identified and assisted. Bouic has has experienced the district process firsthand as three of her four children have already graduated from Fairbanks and Tolles Career and Technical Center and her youngest son, Matt, is a junior in the district. Bouic has two children, Lydia and John, attending The Ohio State University and another son, Brandon, working full time.
“Raising my kids in an area like Fairbanks has been an experience,” she wrote. “In larger school systems, it’s easier to get lost in the system due to the size. Unless you are an outstanding student, well-motivated and blessed with parents who are engaged, getting through school can be a battle.”
Bouic is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has a Bachelor’s degree in technical business management from DeVry University. She worked for Standard Register for 17 years before moving to take a position at Scotts Miracle-Gro in 2014.
Belmonte is throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate for Fairbanks School District Board of Education.
In an email to the Journal-Tribune, he wrote that, with exceptional student test scores and an “A” rating under the state’s reporting system, Fairbanks is a “desirable school district in the fastest growing county in the state.”
He wrote that, as a result, Fairbanks is facing immense growth pressures and district facilities are either outdated or nearing capacity.
“While the community acknowledges the problems at hand, it has been unable to craft a resolution,” Belmonte wrote. “A recent failed bond levy to replace and expand the school facilities split the community.”
He wrote that, if elected, he will leverage his 25 years of business and finance experience to “focus on the issues” and build “mutually beneficial partnerships” to bring the community together. With this, he said he’ll find a solution to the district’s challenges and plan for the future.
“No single segment of our community should be unfairly burdened in the process,” he wrote. “It is paramount that we come together and find an outcome that works for all.”
He wrote his qualifications include his experience as a financial services executive who “understands the importance of fiscal responsibility” and the need to unite disparate groups with different goals.
He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Eastern Nazarene College. He is a financial services executive who has led teams with nearly 100 members.
Belmonte wrote that he and his family moved to the area because of the school system and “immediately fell in love” with the community and the “rural nature” of the district. Three of his four children attend schools within the school district.
Belmonte also serves as member of the Millcreek Township zoning board and is a softball coach for the Fairbanks Middle School team and Fairbanks-based travel team.
Phelps is entering the election to be a part of the Fairbanks school board.
In an email to the Journal-Tribune, he said he’s qualified for this position because he believes in the Fairbanks School District and its community.
“I want to help advance our district so all Fairbanks students are prepared for success,” he wrote.
Phelps is also a supporter and coach for the Fairbanks Summer Ball Association. He said he has helped coach the middle school’s club baseball team. He previously served as a member of the Building and Grounds Committee for the district.
He and his wife, Summer, are both lifelong residents of the community and alumni of Fairbanks schools. They attend St. John’s Lutheran Church and have four children.
Phelps has stayed active in the community, serving on the Union County Fair’s livestock committee for the last nine years, with seven as an officer. He is also the president of the Fairbanks High School Touchdown Club.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehead State University with an emphasis in Management. After college, he returned to Fairbanks to pursue a career as a partner in his family’s business and farming operation.
Nicol has made the choice to be a candidate for the Fairbanks Board of Education.
Nicol said he’s running because he believe it’s the responsibility of a school board member to see all sides before making major decisions.
“I thoughtfully consider all options before impulsive decision-making takes place,” he wrote in an email to the Journal-Tribune. “With this character trait, I also believe in the value of being fiscally responsible with the money of our taxpayers.”
Nicol wrote that he believes it’s the responsibility of a board member to not only protect, promote and plan for future generations, but also to be “a leader who will encompass the grassroots of the Fairbanks community.”
“Communication is the key,” he wrote. “Promoting, discussing and hearing all aspects will always lead to a positive outcome.”
He has lived in Union County his entire life. Growing up on his family’s farm, he said he learned the value of hard work and the “beauty of long term commitments.” He said he wants to pass this passion to his children.
“I value and care about this community,” he wrote. “I am proud to have the opportunity to run for this position.”
He has worked for the City of Marysville’s Division of Water for the past 17 years.
Nicol and his wife, Brigit, are graduates of Fairbanks High School. They have three children, Maggie, Liz and Jack, all in Fairbanks schools.
North Union
Hall has served on North Union’s school board since 2003. During this time, he said North Union has seen a lot of positive change.
“It has evolved into a district that students and families are proud to claim as their own,” he wrote in an email to the Journal-Tribune. “We have all new buildings, a good administrative team and teachers who strive to serve.”
He said he brings his experience as an area farmer, church lay leader and faculty member of The Ohio State University (OSU) to this position. At OSU, he runs a bioproducts innovation center and is the project director of a nationwide advanced bioeconomy leadership education program.
“It is my intent to be a positive force for the continued academic improvement and community spirit,” he wrote.
Hall graduated from North Union in 1977. His wife, Lynne, is a retired school counselor at Hi-Point Career Center and has multiple degrees in education from OSU, including a doctorate degree.
His daughter graduated from North Union as a valedictorian in 2011 and from OSU four years later. She now has a management position with Kroger Manufacturing.
Davis is applying to be a part of the North Union School Board.
In an email to the Journal-Tribune, Davis wrote he has served as a board member for the Richwood Civic Center and North Union Athletic Committee and volunteered and coached at various levels in the district for the past 18 years.
He wrote that, through collaboration, collegiality, community and communication, “we will be able to organize together to provide endless opportunities for all our students to succeed.”
“I take great pride that I am a graduate of North Union, business owner in the community, husband to a gifted teacher, and proud father of three children who attend each of the three school buildings in our district,” he wrote. “I feel prepared that my experiences will allow me to collaborate with all members of our community. “
He graduated from North Union High School in 1995 and earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Muskingum University in 1999. Currently, he is the president and fourth generation owner of Ken Davis & Sons and a senior financial advisor and founder of Davis Wealth Planning, Ltd.
Davis, 40, has a wife, Jennifer, and three sons, Hudson, Owen and Wyatt.
Wedding is hoping to get re-elected to be a member of North Union’s Board of Education.
She’s spent more than 32 years teaching English at North Union High School. She sits on the Richwood Civic Center board and, in the past, served two terms on the Richwood-North Union Public Library board.
Wedding said she feels her experience in a classroom environment has helped her on the board of education.
“I am familiar with education policy, terminology and the needs of students and teachers alike,” she wrote in an email to the Journal-Tribune.
Wedding earned an English degree from the Ohio State University. Her three children are graduates of North Union, where she said they received “a fine education.” She currently has four grandchildren who attend North Union.
Other board of education races (all uncontested) include:
Marysville Exempted Village School District: Brian Luke, Nan Savidge, Dick Smith
Benjamin Logan: Karen Jo Dill, Debra Johnson, William N. Ramsey, Kathy Stierhoff, David S. Willoby
Triad: Matthew S. McConnell, April Freville, Michael Perry
Jonathan Alder: Mary Jo Boyd.

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