Editor’s note: All candidates for seats on the Marysville Board of Education were asked to submit personal information about themselves, as well as their stances on issues facing the district. The three candidates running as “Monarch Parents for Marysville School Board” chose to send a joint statement on their stances, but separate personal information. Because of this, the portion of the article about those individuals will read differently than the remaining candidates.
Six candidates are vying for three open seats on the Marysville Board of Education.
Two of the candidates, Dick Smith and Nan Savidge, are current board of education members. The pair have been campaigning jointly.
Bill Keck is running after retiring just last year from a three decade career teaching in the Marysville District.
The remaining three candidates, Josh Bochkor, Adrienne Woodring and Zach Yoder, are running as a single ticket – “Monarch Parents for Marysville School Board.”
As a candidate for Marysville School Board, Bill Keck feels he offers the perspective of an experienced teacher and parent.
He taught agriculture at Marysville High School for 33 years and he and his wife, Gail, are the parents of three Marysville graduates, Ellen Jones, Carol Hamilton and David Keck.
He has a B.S. from The Ohio State University, with a major in agriculture mechanization and systems and minors in agriculture education and aviation. He also received his masters from OSU in education administration.
Keck said he believes the role of the school board is to concern itself with issues within the local community, rather than being drawn into partisan political debates or being used to advance any member’s political agenda. Instead, members must look out for the needs of the students, he said, making the best use of the community’s resources.
Keck said that as the community grows, its school board must prepare for the costs of educating more students while striving for the smaller class sizes that serve students best. He said the board must coordinate efforts with local officials to make sure new developments pay their own way with tax revenues. He said TIFs have already been used to help finance improved athletic facilities and going forward the board must continue looking for creative financial solutions to find the best and fairest ways to raise needed funds.
“After spending the last several months of my career teaching remotely, I know how important it is to keep students in classrooms,” Keck said. “No one likes masks, however, the school board will need to continually reevaluate health recommendations and quarantine requirements. While COVID is still active, masks might be necessary to keep children in classrooms.”
Keck said current state law doesn’t allow school boards the authority to mandate COVID vaccines and he believes vaccination choice should be left to parents. He added that his family is vaccinated, but they have friends who oppose vaccination and he respects that choice.
He also said he opposes including Critical Race Theory in the curriculum.
“The classroom is not the place to promote any political agendas,” Keck said. “Instead we should focus on critical reasoning skills.”
The former teacher said he believes test scores are only one indication of student success. He said educators must strike a balance between “teaching to the test” and nurturing students’ natural curiosity and love of learning.
“I have joked that our graduates should be handed a tape measure and be expected to accurately measure their diplomas,” Keck said. “My point is that our curriculum should provide students the life skills to succeed as adults.”
Keck said that if students are aiming for careers that require college degrees, the district should set them on that path, but should also provide all students with the practical skills to hold jobs and manage finances.
He and his wife started a farm near Raymond in 1988. They currently farm 300 acres and raise about 2,500 hogs annually.
He is a lifelong member of First Lutheran Church in Bellefontaine, where he serves on the property committee.
He is also a member of Union County Farm Bureau, Northwestern Lions Club and Marysville FFA Alumni.
Nan Savidge is a current member of the Marysville School Board, having served since 2016.
She said her vision for Marysville Schools focuses on preparing students for the future in a safe, inspiring and collaborative environment.
She said the district has focused on several goals simultaneously.
First, it has created Alt-K and full day kindergarten classes for the youngest learners. The district has also established Tri Academy for struggling high school students and added multiple career pathways at both high schools for building technical expertise and providing access to college prep/AP courses and college credit classes. She said the district has also created educational partnerships with Ohio Hi-Point, Columbus State Community College, the U.S. military and many local businesses that support the schools with resources, volunteers and internship opportunities.
Savidge said the pandemic has impacted students in many ways, but especially when it comes to academic progress. She said district officials are focused on helping students get back on track by providing them with high quality educators, supplies and resources driven by data.
“Prior to the pandemic Marysville was doing a great job of making yearly academic progress,” Savidge said. “We know how to do it and we will make progress happen.”
The next biggest challenge facing the district, according to Savidge, is the growth of the community, an issue impacting much of central Ohio.
Savidge said one of the biggest concerns she hears from parents is about the effect of growth on class sizes. She said the school board will be reviewing the five-year forecast this month and reviewing expenses.
“With growth there will be expenses, but we need to be thoughtful, data driven, and transparent when making these decisions,” Savidge said.
The board’s number one goal this year, according to Savidge, is to keep students in school five days a week.
“Students need to be with their friends and with their teachers,” she said.
She said that requiring students to wear a mask while at school is the best way to keep students in school and out of quarantine, adding that parents currently have the option to file a mask exemption with the schools. She also noted that if quarantine rules change, masking will be an important topic to reevaluate.
Savidge said she does not support mandatory vaccines or teaching Critical Race Theory in school.
“Overall, we have much to be proud of in the Marysville district,” Savidge said. “We have great facilities, outstanding teachers, dedicated administrators, a supportive business community and parents and families that want the best for our kids.”
Savidge and her husband, Eric, have lived in Marysville since 2001 when they bought a home in Green Pastures and joined St. John’s Lutheran Church. Both of her children graduated from Marysville High School, attended college, and have made Marysville their home.
She graduated from Miami University in 1987 with degrees in political science and history.
She first came to Marysville in 1989 when she began working for Honda of America. Savidge said that she was constantly learning, growing, and collaborating with others for the 27 years she worked at Honda.
She is currently retired and said she enjoys volunteering in the community.
Currently Vice President of the Marysville School Board, Dick Smith also serves as its legislative liaison. He is a member of the Ohio School Board Federal Relations Network, Board Member Cabinet and Ambassador for Education. He has earned the Award of Achievement three times and will receive the Master Board Member designation in the Spring.
He was a social studies teacher in the Marysville district for 32 years and taught at Triad for seven years. He was an advanced placement American government teacher for the last 18 years of his career.
He coached varsity football for 25 years, and he began the Marysville Mock Trial Program, serving as advisor for 30 years. He was honored by the Ohio Center for Law Related Education three times as the advisor of the year for the State of Ohio and selected as Union County Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year.
He graduated from Oberlin High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University. He later received an Master In Education from Wright State University and an Masters In School Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
He has previously served on the Planning Commission for the City of Marysville and was chairman of the Facilities Governing Board for West Central Community Correctional Facility. He was also served for a decade as the treasurer for Families Matter, a support group for Union County Probate and Juvenile Court.
Smith said keeping students in class five days a week has been the primary challenge and goal before the board during the pandemic. He said requiring masks of students and staff was the only way to accomplish this under the current quarantine requirements.
“I have supported our district’s response to the achievement gap which Covid-19 created, including an expanded summer school program in which 700 students participated,” Smith said. “We started day one of this year with additional efforts to catch everyone up.”
Smith said having students in class each day of the week, combined with the Marysville’s personalized learning approach, has been critical in the district’s ability to address academic gaps.
Though not part of Marysville’s curriculum, Smith also weighed in on the issue of Critical Race Theory.
“I have not, do not and will not support Critical Race Theory being taught in our schools,” Smith said.
Smith also noted that while vaccination mandates remain a hot-button issue, current state law provides that parents must consent to vaccinations for children under age 18, making the issue a non-starter for schools.
Smith said growth in and around the city of Marysville is a constant concern for board members. He said two previous enrollment studies, in 2014-15 and 2019-20, as well as a current study being conducted will help provide data for future decisions for addressing growth in our community.
He said parent advisory groups are beginning the process of helping to answer questions about the best way to provide the necessary space and adequate level of funding to provide the educational opportunities children deserve.
On the issue of tax levies, Smith said the board has not asked for additional operating funds for 13 years and he is confident they can maintain a strong financial position for the next several years.
Smith moved to Marysville in 1971 with his wife Linda to begin his teaching career. The couple have two children, Matthew, who is a local attorney and Christopher, who is a physician with the Veterans Administration. Both are Marysville graduates and live in Marysville. He has five grandchildren, four of which are currently attending Marysville Schools. One recently graduated from MECHS. He and his wife have lived within the City of Marysville for 34 years, moving to their current home on Westlake Lee Road 16 years ago.
Josh Bochkor, Adrienne Woodring, Zach Yoder
Adrienne Woodring, Zach Yoder, and Josh Bochkor are running on a joint platform for the three open seats on our five member board of education. We believe it is time for a change in leadership. We believe it is time for parents to stand up and lead from the front instead of watching the board ignore our pleas for reasonable governance.
We believe it is time to elect bold leaders who will actually make decisions and stand on principles rather than blindly adopting advice from others and deflecting responsibility. We believe it is time to elect board members who communicate clearly and honestly with the public rather than obfuscating their true intent. We believe in medical freedom. We believe parents should be making decisions on masks and vaccines. We hold the same position for our teachers and staff. We will tell you in no uncertain terms that the tenets of critical race theory will not be allowed to enter our schools.
We intend to manage the school district’s finances conservatively. Every dollar taken in will be cost justified. The most important promise we are making is that we will actually represent the voters who elect us and the taxpayers who fund everything this district does.
The state testing scores presented at the July Board of Education Meeting showed the dramatic loss of learning that happened in the 20-21 school year. This was largely due to the Board of Education electing to remain in the hybrid learning model until April of 2021. The students most impacted were those on an IEP and in the subjects of algebra and geometry. It will take the hard work of the entire monarch community to make up for the loss of learning.
When we are elected to the Board of Education we will task our superintendent with creating a plan to efficiently resolve the learning loss resulting from school closures and hybrid schedules and to hold the superintendent accountable for the efficient and time bound execution of the learning loss recovery plan. We will continually monitor this progress to ensure our students reach their full academic potential and achieve academic success.
The education of all students must be the number one priority. Educating our students is a zero-fail mission. This is a mission of providing educational opportunities for students of all ages and abilities to reach their fullest potential and to develop lifelong learners who benefit our community and society as a whole.
While the future is unpredictable, we can look at past trends and work with leaders at the city, county and state levels of government to forecast future growth and understand the values of the community in regards to growth. We must have a continuous cycle of assessing, planning, preparing, executing and reassessing. Through this process we will determine the need for additional resources, facilities, staff and funds. Identified needs must then be prioritized by what is best for the students’ education and in the best interest of the district and taxpayers in our community.
We pledge to manage our school district budget conservatively. We will not seek tax levies unless absolutely necessary and only after all other means of meeting budgetary requirements are exhausted. We promise transparency and straightforward communication on matters of money. We won’t spend millions of dollars on “nice-to-haves” and then tell you we are in a dire financial situation.
With the rapid growth our community is experiencing, and with the promise of a tax increase from the current board members, it is vital that we elect board members who will serve the community well through careful and critical analysis of any proposals brought by the administration.
Medical decisions should only be made between parents, students and their primary care physician. It is neither the duty nor the responsibility of the board of education to make medical decisions for students or employees of the district. We have pledged that we will not mandate masks or Covid vaccinations for students or staff and will not tolerate discrimination against students or staff on the basis of mask or vaccination status. We will stand and fight for medical freedom should a higher authority put mandates in place.
We have signed the 1776 pledge to illustrate our commitment to restoring patriotic education in our schools, to prohibit the politicization of education in Marysville, and to prohibit any curriculum which pits students against each other based on race or sex.
Josh Bochkor resides in Mill Valley with his wife, Lauren, and has two children, Matthew, and Annabelle, attending Marysville Schools.
He graduated from the University of Akron with degrees in political science and criminal justice.
He works for the Ohio Army National Guard as the Resilience, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator and is also currently serving in the Ohio Army National Guard as a Captain. He has served overseas in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
In the past, he worked as a temporary staffing manager where he employed and managed more than 500 employees. He said he has a proven history of leadership and service to the community, state and nation.
In his current job, he writes policy for an organization of more than 11,000 people. He also manages a $1.2-million budget from seven different funding streams.
Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as FEMA, Ohio Department of Health and Ohio EMA.
“I’m running for school board with Adrienne Woodring and Zach Yoder because I believe we three are the best candidates to represent the parents and taxpayers in this community,” Bochkor said.
Adrienne Woodring was raised in a single-parent home and moved out on her own right after high school graduation.
She studied nursing while attending Kent State University.
She is the mother to two children who attend Mill Valley Elementary School and is married to her high school sweetheart, Brett Woodring.
The family has been residents of Marysville for four years, moving here for Woodring’s husband’s career. She said they chose Marysville over other neighboring cities because of property values, schools and taxes.
“Our children have planted roots as Monarchs and this will be called their home town,” Woodring said.
She manages a team of four direct reports and eight partners at a financial institution in Dublin. She is responsible for her direct reports’ sales goals, career growth and client service while on-boarding new business clients and helping them achieve their business goals.
“I’m running for school board with Zach Yoder and Josh Bochkor because I strongly believe in having a diverse panel that includes perspectives from a parental view that is living out decisions made by our board,” Woodring said.
Zach Yoder is a Realtor and also a federal contractor in the Army Substance Abuse Program where he provide resources and assistance to soldiers struggling with suicide and substance abuse issues.
He spent two years working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on the behavioral health and youth crisis units, caring for children during and after suicide attempts. He worked in healthcare finance for two years and spent several years as a finance analyst in banking and corporate finance.
He served in the Ohio Army National Guard for six years in an Air Defense unit based here in Marysville. He deployed to Iraq with the local unit in 2010-11 and was honorably discharged from the Guard in 2014.
“I’m running for MEVSD Board of Education with Josh Bochkor and Adrienne Woodring because I believe this school district needs real representation from bold leaders who actually have skin in the game,” Yoder said.