Dalton, Willis vie for at-large school board seat


CIW-COM-School Board Dalton

Birch Dalton

Age: 55

Profession: Development

Family: Daughter, Samantha Myers Dalton; son, Austin Birch Dalton; grandchildren, Reece and Scarlett Myers; parents, Dr. Robert Dalton, former deputy state superintendent, and the late Clela Dalton

Education: 1977 Kokomo High School graduate and bachelor’s in finance from Ball State University in 1981.

Website: www.BirchDalton.com

Why are you running for school board? I moved to Westfield because of the high quality of schools and I want to help continue the great track record of our students, teachers and administrators. I believe there are many tough issues facing our schools in terms of finance on both a state and local level that need to be carefully reviewed, discussed and decided upon. I am committed to public education and believe our society needs to have educational opportunities for all ages of all of our people.

Why should you be elected to the school board? Commitment to public education, experience in public schools as a teacher and coach and the willingness to ask the tough questions when needed. Most importantly, I believe all people need to serve others and the schools are my personal service that I feel I can make the best impact for others

What is something voters should know about you? My recent local achievement was my lead role of the investment group that purchased the U.S. 31 and Ind. 32 corner which has the current football stadium, baseball field and administration building. As part of the master development, secured Riverview Health as anchor user through a sale of a portion of the property. Along with this helped formed the relationship with the schools and Riverview that has generated more than $5 million in funds for the schools. Another major achievement was receiving the endorsement of the “Westfield Classroom Teachers Association” for the at-large seat.

Other county schools have moved to a balanced calendar. Are you in favor of changing the school schedule in Westfield? Very few Westfield parents and students have discussed this issue at length. I see some advantages to this calendar. As a school board member, I would look to the administrators, teachers, parents and students to thoroughly investigate and discuss this change. If we believe it will help improve our educational opportunities and quality, then we will support it.

What are your goals if elected? A) Continue with the strategic plan in place to help make certain we hit our goals on academics for all our students. B) Be part of the process in selecting future leaders for our schools as events arise. C) Focus on making sure all possible resources are used properly to allow our teachers and administrators to continue to follow their passion of educating our young people. D) Making sure all kids gets a chance to be successful in achieving the best education possible. E) Long-range capital and capital asset planning for our school properties. Need to make sure our assets are well maintained. F) Work at the state level to get our fair share of school funding. G) Protect the taxpayers’ money and assets.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the district and how would you address it? School funding and making certain that our schools, students, teachers, administrators and taxpayers have the resources to remain successful.

CIW-COM-School Board Willis

Amber Huff Willis

Age: 34

Profession: Account executive at CSI Signs

Family: (All in Westfield) Husband, Anthony; son, Gabriel, 6; daughter, Ava, 5; parents, John and Pam Huff; brother, Chad Huff (wife, Kristen, and children, Addison, Ella and Luke); grandfather, Allen Downs; and aunt and uncle, Julie and Mark Downs.

Education: Graduated from Westfield High School in 1999 and earned a bachelor’s in business from Miami University (Ohio) in 2003.

Website: www.facebook.com/AmberforWestfield

Why are you running for school board? I want to represent and be a voice for all of Westfield. I will represent students, families, teachers, administrators and businesses – the community! I was a student at Westfield and now I have students. I am a parent, I work for a local business and I am involved in many things in our community. My top priority is “Connecting the Community for the Children.”

Why should you be elected to the school board? I have the passion to keep Westfield the place where everyone wants to be. I want to facilitate programs and services which will encourage parents and the community at large to get involved and ultimately enhance Westfield schools. The most important stakeholders are the students and providing them the best educational experience. Therefore, we need to start “Connecting the Community for the Children.”

What is something voters should know about you? I was born and raised in Westfield when there was only one elementary. I believe whole-heartedly in giving back to the community of which I was raised. I work for my family’s business, CSI Signs. I serve on many boards and committees in Westfield. One of my favorite times volunteering was when I was running the Westfield Farmers Market in 2011 and 2012.

Other county schools have moved to a balanced calendar. Are you in favor of changing the school schedule in Westfield? No. I honestly feel that well-performing schools don’t need to follow the balanced calendar. Our students continue to test well and prove we don’t need the balanced calendar. If our students had problems retaining information after summer break, then maybe it would be something to consider. I know as a working mom, childcare for longer weeks off can be more of a challenge.

What are your goals if elected? “Connecting the Community for the Children.” One of my goals is to engage the community and better understand issues and concerns and begin to develop strategic solutions which will continuously improve our already exceptional, well-rounded curriculum. We are extremely fortunate to live in this community where the school system is second to none. It’s now time to open the lines of communication, engage the community, provide opportunities for parents to get involved and give opinions, offer ultimate transparency to taxpayers and be the best support system we can be for our children in and out of the classroom.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the district and how would you address it? The next biggest issue facing Westfield Washington Schools will be to find the replacement for our superintendent, Dr. (Mark) Keen. He has served many years at Westfield and has done a wonderful job. It is the responsibility of the school board to find his replacement. I think if this job is not done with great detail, it could be detrimental to our students and teachers. The search for this person might or might not be local. It needs to be an amazing person who has the passion and desire to be part of an amazing city we call home and who will continue to push us to raise the bar.

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