Two incumbents, two challengers seek two Crestview seats

NEW WATERFORD — The two incumbents and two challengers for Crestview’s Board of Education were asked to weigh in on several topics regarding the school district and their views on education.

The first question dealt with how well Crestview has in general fared on the state reports cards, but noted the latest one did not go well for most area schools. What proposals do you see needed to help Crestview students fare even better in the next go round?

Edward Miller said that Crestview showed improvement between the 2016 report card and the one which came out in September of 2017. Miller noted the students took the 2016 test on the computer, something quite unfamiliar for students at that time.

“As they have become more familiar with testing on the computer we can now say that we are truly testing their knowledge,” Miller said. He added although there was an option to take pencil and paper tests, the board knew the State mandate that was coming.

“We made the decision to get ahead of the curve, and prepare our students of Crestview for their future,” Miller said. “The board along with administration implemented this with the full realization that there may be some bumps in the road, however I think that we can see that these are already smoothing themselves out. Again, look at our 2017 tests. All that said, in order to continue to strive forward you evaluate the data that is in front of you, look for areas of improvement, formulate a plan, and implement that plan.”

Missy Wellman said with regards to the report card, two points in particular are important to note.

First, she said Crestview fared well in comparison with most all other schools in Columbiana County, receiving the highest marks for k-3 literacy, the gap closing, graduation rate, and preparedness after graduation.

Secondly she continued, this was the first year all schools were required to administer state testing completely online.

“Paragraph typing, quick answer clicking and screen reading are just a few of the setbacks when administering online testing for the first time,” Wellman said. “All of this considered, Crestview still received the highest marks in four of the six categories over other Columbiana County schools.”

Wellman said in order to improve, the board is always discussing class size and structure as a board, something she believes should continue to be a topic of discussion until a viable solution is available.

Douglas Dattilio noted that while Crestview has continued to fare better than most schools in the county, but just faring well is not acceptable. After speaking to many in the community, Dattilio believes class sizes are a big issue for them. He adds that is a challenge at Crestview, which has a very desirable district to go to school and live in.

Dattilio said the test scores have improved even though class sizes have increased at the same time, but that trend is not a recipe for success. Over time he feels this will put stresses on the teachers and their effectiveness will diminish.

“This is something that the board and administration must work on together to figure out without putting more of a burden on the tax payers,” Dattilio said. “Being in the business community for 18 years, I firmly believe in teamwork and collaboration. We have some of the brightest minds educating our students… We have to do a better job of involving our educators in decisions. They are on the front lines and know exactly what is going on with our students.”

Lyndsay Guy notes first graders this year will be retiring in the year 2076.

“Who would have guessed how much the world changed in just the last 10 years; and we are supposed to be educating them to be prepared or the next 65+ years,” Guy said. “In my opinion there is too much energy put into “get good test scores and report cards” and in my experience good scores do nothing to reflect the potential, ingenuity and success of any individual.”

Guy said a more important priority of schools should be not teaching children what to think, but how to think. She believes schools should be helping children find a purpose in both the classrooms and life. When there is an emphasis on testing and scores, she believes students just do what they are told without purpose or meaning.

“With creativity comes passion, with passion comes knowledge and with knowledge comes confidence,” Guy said. “If you ask me, if a classroom is full of creative, passionate, knowledgeable and confident kids, the test scores will be off the charts and the future can be looked at with hope.”

Each candidate was also asked about the possible community center project through the Ohio Schools Facility Commission, what they would like to see included in the project or what things would they see as unnecessary.

Guy defined a community center as a place where people from a particular community can meet for social, educational and recreational activities. She noted it would be a positive for the community, providing a learning opportunity for children and adults including conferences, meetings, clubs and speakers.

“The only negative would be tax dollars,” Guy said. “The money comes from somewhere and it’s our pockets that it comes from. I would never want to create a burden for someone else to handle. Before any project were to be started, I would be curious as to the other ideas and suggestions from the public.”

Dattilio said he believes the community center is a tremendous idea, giving Crestview the opportunity to further enhance the education experience. He added it would be nice to see the community center bring the community and the school closer together through possible senior programs, wellness programs and a health facility to assist people to live a healthier lifestyle.

Dattilio noted not only could the community center bring the Crestview community together, it would give the general region an opportunity to become a closer-knit community considering the closest community center to the northeast part of the county is in Salem.

Although Dattilio said there are no detailed plans, he believes unnecessary things in the project would be things that don’t benefit the students, educators, the tax payers or the general community. He also said he is not in favor of the community center if it means more taxes for the community.

Wellman also addressed the community center project, stating the Ohio Schools Facility Commission has looked at our school and determined our need for building change and the need has led to the district being offered state funding to initiate these changes.

She notes this is important because OSFC would be contributing considerably as we currently are being offered 88 cents on every dollar spent. This translates to only 12 cents of district funding spent for every dollar of improvement money.

Wellman notes classroom space is a top priority and the project provides Crestview with a means to get the classroom space the district needs in addition to upgrading.

“The opportunity to solidify state funding is crucial,” Wellman said. “This financial assistance and partnering with medical facilities could provide great developmental opportunities for Crestview.”

In addition to needed classroom space, Wellman said she sees this as an opportunity to provide after school options for working families, facilities for sports teams, and health and wellness programs for all community members.

Miller noted the project is not about Ed Miller wants in a community center. Instead he said it is about how Crestview can further enhance the educational opportunities of the students and what the community wants in a community center, if the community even wants a community center.

Miller said the board is planning to have townhall meeting to engage the community on all of these various topics. Miller said the focus of any project through OSFC is the continued advancement of the educational opportunities of the students. He also pointed out the use of OSFC dollars will give the school approximately 88 cents on the dollar.

“By using these dollars to renovate our schools we save the taxpayer a significant amount of money,” Miller said. “If we can also create additional opportunities for our community members in a fiscally responsible manner we should look into this as well.”

The candidates were also asked to talk about Crestview’s motto of being the “heart of the community” and what the school is doing to live up to that ideal.

Dattilio said he believes Crestview has done a very good job of being the “the heart of the community” and believes the possibility of the community center could further ingrain the district within the community.

He notes Crestview also has a “State of the Art” performing arts center that could be used more frequently by outside groups to come in and put on plays and music events that would enhance the arts in the community.

In addition, Dattilio said he would suggest reaching out to the Youngstown Business Incubator to branch out from Mahoning County and use Crestview’s facilities to better help startup companies not only in the Crestview district, but also in Columbiana County.

“This could not only help local businesses, but also give our kids practical experience as they enter the workforce,” Dattilio said.

Guy said while she believes the heart is there in Crestview she also thinks it needs a cardio workout.

“We are failing our kids in matters of the heart,” Guy said. “We wonder why there are drop outs, drug and alcohol problems, bullying, self confidence issues, health issues, lack of motivation; I could go on forever, unfortunately.”

Guy notes the bottom line is there is a heart issue in the world and Crestview needs to do everything they can to give children the best chance to come out of everyday stronger and help others do the same.

Guy quoted Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore “Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”

Miller notes Crestview may be located at 44100 Crestview Road but it is much more, encompassing mailing addresses in New Waterford, Columbiana, Leetonia. But Miller adds it is not just the location it is a feeling, a feeling of community, a feeling of belonging, a feeling of being a Crestview Rebel. Miller said through everything we try to exemplify the positive attributes of the people that make up the Crestview community.

As far as improvements, Miller said the board needs to continue to keep this a priority, whether it be through 21st century forms of communication, community outreach, or just general availability to our constituents, and continue to maintain that down home community feeling.

Wellman gave a personal story when discussing the heart of the community in Crestview. On September 10th of this year, my son was involved in a horrific accident, she said, adding I cannot think of a better way to describe how our community lives up to this motto than to discuss the outpouring of support that our family received — cards, phone calls, text messages and people who took time to drive to Akron and see our son in the hospital.

“This school district is a family,” Wellman said. “I cannot think of another district like ours. Whether it is coming together to support my son, cancer benefits or donations for tragic events, we come together to help one another in times of need.”

Wellman gave several examples –the Rebel Backpack program collecting food and monetary donations to ensure our students are fed beyond the school lunch; as well as the collection of canned food, hats and gloves at Christmas.

“We cheer on our teams at sporting events,” Wellman said. “We support fundraising events such as the PTO Date Night Dance to raise money for projects like the playground turf installation. As a board, we also acknowledge the needs of this district family by discussing ways to implement after school programs and after hours care, all in the hope of continuing to take care of the needs of our ever-changing community.”

Finally, each board member was asked what they enjoy about serving on the board or why they are interested in serving.

Wellman noted she has served on the Board of Education since January of 2017, chosen by the board itself to fill an early resignation.

“It has been an honor and my privilege to serve in this role and I hope you will allow me to continue to be an advocate for our schools,” Wellman said.

Her service to Crestview did not start when she was appointed to the board. Wellman has been actively involved in Crestview Schools since 2010, volunteering countless hours in the school from book fairs and reading to students to assisting the teachers in the classroom. She began as a member of the PTO running the spirit wear campaigns and eventually became the PTO president for three years.

“My service to the organization included overseeing multiple events including classroom parties, Date Night Dances, carnivals, and Santa’s Workshop,” Wellman said. “Of great importance was my negotiation to solidify the install of the new elementary playground turf project.”

She also has been a substitute teacher for all three buildings, which she said gave her the opportunity to assess the schools’ needs from both a teacher and parent perspective. She said she resigned the position as a substitute only to take this most important role on the board.

Wellman said she also has invested much of her time volunteering as a soccer coach to the Crestview Soccer Club and serving on its board.

“I have a desire to make changes in our school system from an unbiased position,” Wellman said. “I can listen to concerns or ideas from the perspective of all individuals and make decisions based on what is best for our district. I am running for the betterment of ALL students, with no hidden agenda and to help pursue the best school district we can possibly be from every perspective including education, athletics, enrichment, special education, and student character.”

Miller said he enjoys serving on the Board of Education.

“I have always felt, if you come into a situation and give your all with 110 percent effort and you leave it better than you found it, you have succeeded,” Miller said. “I hope when the voters go to the polls they realize that I first and foremost I am a a Crestview Rebel. I have the Crestview Local School District’s best interests at hand. I do not come with a specific agenda other than to make the Crestview Local School District the best school district that it can be. I want parents of our students to be proud to say, “My child is a Crestview Rebel“.”

Additionally Miller said he hopes members of the community who no longer have a child in the district or never had children in the system can still say “Crestview is OUR school system and they are doing a good job with the future leaders of our country”.

Finally, Miller said he hopes the voters realize, he is proud of where he came from and the opportunities it provided him in life. It was important to his wife Kristen (also an alumnus of Crestview in 1987) and himself that their children be raised as Crestview Rebels.

“I have been involved with Crestview in various roles over the last 20+ years since starting my medical practice and I hope that I have their vote to continue that involvement. Thank you,” Miller concluded.

Guy said she chose to run for the school board because she sees too much individual genius and ingenuity wasted every single day from people, both children and adults, because they struggle to find purpose. Guy said this includes people of all ages and herself, looking for their passions and purposes in life.

“I honestly believe that most of the ‘lost’ feeling can be avoided by giving people of all ages the freedom to explore their natural talents, abilities and interest as soon as possible instead of hindering them with the same standard education and life, k-12, college, job, retirement,” Guy said. “Life is full of so much creativity; it would be a shame to watch it all go to waste simply for the fact that its being ‘taught’ out of people.”

She concluded her response with a quote from an unknown source “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets you soul on fire.”

Dattilio said as a lifelong resident of Crestview School District and a graduate, he could not be prouder of the school district and what it has grown into.

“I want to give back to the school that gave me so much,” Dattilio said. “I believe that everyone from administration, teachers and coaches should always put the education of our children first and always do what it best for them.”

Dattilio said he has 18 years of business experience and almost 10 years of military experience. He believes he can bring a unique perspective to the board.

“I, like the other candidates running for the board, want to improve the Crestview School District,” Dattilio said. “I commend the other candidates for wanting to continue to give back to the community as I want to. I kindly ask for your vote. Thank you!

Douglas S. Dattilio

Address: 3862 Linda Way, New Waterford

Age: 43

Education: Youngstown State University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Major, Finance; and Minor, Economics

Occupation: Banking

Political Experience: None

Family: Natalie (Spouse), Hayden (Son 15 years old), Ashton (Son, 10 years old)

Lyndsay Guy

Address: 2080 Neeld Road, East Palestine

Age: 26

Education: High School

Occupation: Self Employed

Political Experience: none

Family: Four dogs and farm animals

Edward J. Miller

Address: 2587 Creek Rd, New Waterford

Age: 48

Education: Crestview Class of 1987; YSU Graduated 1990; NEOUCOM (now NEOMED) graduated 1994; Western Reserve Care System 1994-1997 Internal Medicine Residency serving as a 3rd year Chief Resident

Occupation: Physician – currently Southwoods Primary Care Boardman

Political Experience: Crestview Local Board of Education; appointed January 2012; elected November 2013 (current term) incumbent

Family: Kristen, wife; EJ, son, Crestview Alum 2015; Kassity, Kamden and Karagin, all current Crestview students

Name: Melissa Wellman

Address: 3793 Woodville Rd., Leetonia

Age: 40

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Telecommunications and Minor is Business Management from Youngstown State University. Completed 2 years toward teacher certification in Language Arts grades 7-12 at Mount Union.

Occupation: Advertising and Marketing Coordinator

Political Experience: Incumbent

Family: Husband: Chuck Wellman, Son: Zachary 7th grade, Daughter: Sydney 4th grade, Daughter: Shelby 2nd grade.