Chesapeake councilman wants on school board

Published 10:10 am Thursday, October 29, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — The Chesapeake Board of Education will be a race of extremes, as far as elective office experience goes, with a veteran village councilman and a recent high school graduate on either end of the campaign spectrum.

Long time village councilman Kenneth Wolfe wants to shift to a spot on the Chesapeake school board after 12 years on council. This will be the first time Wolfe has run for the school board.

“I have the education and political experience,” he said. “I have a master’s degree in school administration and taught school for five years.”

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Currently, he works for a manufacturer’s rep for electrical products.

“I want to continue working with board members and the administration to raise the level of education at Chesapeake to its highest level,” Wolfe said. “They have a new curriculum they are instituting. They are trying to enact that new program to raise the level.”

He says he also supports the recently adopted strategic plan for the district.

Jerry Osborne is a AEP line crew supervisor who has four grandchildren in the Chesapeake school district.

“We have a great school system, dedicated teachers, a good staff, but like any system we are not a perfect system,” Osborne said. “It seems like to me we have a kind of disconnect between the school board and the community. So many people feel like they don’t have a word with the board, a good rapport with the board. I don’t know if that is the community’s fault or the board’s fault.”

If elected Osborne would instituted a Web site that would enable teachers, staff and the community to communicate with the board.

“We have some good people in our community and in the school system,” he said. “It is real important for the board to be in touch with the community.”

Bill Pratt, a dairy farmer with generational ties to the area, said he is running for school board after receiving encouragement from individuals from the community to do so.

“I feel the leadership in place doesn’t really reflect the values that the community is wanting to uphold,” he said. “When the community has concerns, we are not able to get a response from the leadership, both people on the board and the superintendent.”

This is the first time Pratt has run for elective office.

“My main thing is to give the community a voice to be heard so that I can respond to what their concerns are,” he said. “The board member is supposed to be a link of communication between the community and the superintendent. Now that is not just in place.”

The youngest campaigner in this year’s school board election is 19-year-old Charles Sanders, who just graduated this spring from Chesapeake High. Currently, Sanders is in the Naval Reserves and works for Wholesale Kitchen Cabinets in Proctorville and his family’s business, Sanders Pest Control in Chesapeake.

“I felt that I could bring a new perspective to the school board. There are some things we could do more efficiently,” he said. “The way I look at it is I am fresh out of high school.

I know the teachers and have been involved with our school district. … I feel a student who just graduated knows the strengths and weaknesses in our school district, like not having enough computers and not having up-to-date textbooks.”

Sanders’ long-range goal is to go to college to become a history teacher. Paying for future tuition is why he joined the Naval Reserves.

If elected, he would want to be more accessible to teachers and parents.

The two elected next week will join board members Dr. Mike Dyer, Dr. Kim Oxley and David Bennett in January. Dan Jeffries and Tom Curry are going off the board.