Dublin school board race features two incumbents, six challengers seeking three seats – The Columbus Dispatch

The race for the Dublin Board of Education includes two incumbents and six challengers vying for three open seats on the Nov. 2 ballot.
At least one new member will join the board in 2022, as incumbent Stu Harris, who is seeking a seat on the Washington Township board of trustees, did not seek reelection after serving four terms and 16 years on the school board.
The field consists of incumbents Lynn May and Rick Weininger and challengers Tiffany deSilva, Lindsay Gillis, Imran Malik, Diana Rigby, Cheri Striker and Ted Sun.
The top three vote-getters will be elected to a four-year term.
To read the candidates’ responses to questions posed by ThisWeek and The Columbus Dispatch, go to ThisWeekNEWS.com/VoterGuide2021.
Tiffany deSilva
deSilva, 45, is a licensed social worker and surgical technologist.
She said she wants “to make sure that every student has the appropriate knowledge, skills, resources, opportunities and learning environment to succeed inside and outside of the classrooms so that they are equipped to meet the challenges of our 21st-centruty world.”
As a parent, school district volunteer and licensed social worker, she said, she knows “the social and emotional needs of our students (and) how policy affects them.”
“I want to bring that understanding to the school board,” deSilva said.
deSilva has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Central Kentucky Technical College and a master’s degree in social work from Ohio State University.
She has lived in the Dublin school district for 12 years with her husband and their three daughters.
deSilva has volunteered as a PTO president at Davis Middle School and Scioto High School. She also has served on the district’s parent academic council, redistricting committee, the COVID-19 full-return committee and interview teams during screenings for principals and superintendents.
deSilva said she is seeking election to lend her expertise concerning the social and emotional needs of students.
Raised in a rural Kentucky coal-mining town that knew “profound poverty,” she said, her mother was the first of her siblings to attend college, and it “instilled in me the importance of service and education.”
Lindsay Gillis
Gillis, 35, is a real-estate agent for Keller Williams Capital Partners.
She said her motivation to serve on the board stems from her volunteerism in the district.
Gillis said her experience from volunteering, coupled with “insider knowledge” of the city via her real-estate experience, along with being a parent to three children currently attending Dublin schools, would make her a “great addition” to the board by bringing “relevant insight to continue to mold (Dublin schools) into a model that stays current for our students, staff and community.”
She said her 12 years of volunteerism in the district has allowed her to “get to know the district from the inside out.”
She has a real-estate license from Hondros College and attended the University of Cincinnati.
Gillis resides in the Dublin district with her husband and their three daughters.
She has served as vice president of the Dublin Education Foundation and as president of a PTO.
Imran Malik
Malik, 46, is a product engineer and a commercial real-estate entrepreneur.
As a board member, Malik said, he would help “build a culture where we can embrace our strengths in our diversities, opportunities in equity building and momentum in inclusion as we diligently continue to build bridges so we can move forward as a whole, for the sake of all our children.”
Doing so, Malik said, would prepare today’s students “as the decision- and policy-makers of the future” who will “lead our communities and nation in the years ahead.”
Malik has a bachelor’s degree in signal integration from Wright State University and a master’s degree in management and leadership from the McGregor School at Antioch University.
Malik has served on myriad advisory boards and commissions, he said, including the Dublin Police Chief’s Advisory Committee, the Veterans Interfaith Bridge of Ohio, the First Social Justice Park of America, the Hilliard Ray Patch Family YMCA, the communication committee of the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio and the Faith Leaders Action Group, appointed by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Malik said he is seeking election to the board “to build upon (its) existing solid, educational system and to take it to the next level of excellence.”
Lynn May
May, 64, is a retired accountant and practice administrator.
May said she wants to continue serving on the school board because “I believe passionately in the mission of public education.”
May said she wants to continue working with her colleagues to recover the in-person education lost while school districts throughout Ohio were shuttered during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as continuing the “proud work” the district has done to foster greater diversity, equity and inclusion.
“(But) there is more work to do,” she said.
May reiterated that the board is nonpartisan and that if reelected, she would “proudly stand” on my independent record “to keep politics out of education as much as possible.”
May has served on the National School Boards Association’s Federal Advocacy Network, addressing public-education issues with elected state and federal lawmakers.
“I care deeply about these issues (and) hope to continue the fight. Our students depend on it,” May said.
May graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and business law from Marshall University.
She is a four-term incumbent and has three children who are graduates of Coffman, Jerome and Scioto high schools, as a result of redistricting.
“All three Dublin high schools offer the same opportunities and wonderful curriculum because our board has encouraged it during my tenure,” May said.
The value of education was instilled in her, she said, by her upbringing in southern West Virginia.
“I know the value of an education and how it can lift students up to a better life,” she said.
Diana Rigby
Rigby, 50, performs physician outreach marketing for the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center.
Rigby said she is seeking election to the board “because I am passionate about our students and our schools.”
With her youngest son a freshman at Dublin, “I have a vested interest in making sure board decisions are made to the benefit of the students,” Rigby said.
To that end, she said, her platform has three attributes: character, content and commitment.
Student character is an integral part of education, Rigby said.
“Who our kids are is arguably more important that what they know,” she said.
Due to lost time in the classroom because of the pandemic, many students are experiencing a learning gap, she said, and closing it “requires a focus on foundational and functional classroom content” that leaves agendas out.
In speaking with parents, Rigby said, her “commitment” is to be a “transparent and reliable voice for parents as we work together in the best interest of our children.”
Rigby has a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.
She and her husband, Jim, have three sons and have resided in the Dublin school district for 14 years.
The family attends St. Brigid of Kildare, where Rigby teaches and her family volunteers to deliver meals and for other activities at the parish, she said.
Cheri Striker
Striker, 48, is a hairstylist and owns the Beauty Collective in Old Dublin.
If elected, Striker said, her first concern would be the educational welfare of all of the district’s students and that she would be an “advocate for the parents.”
“I have heard from so many parents over the last few years, and a recurring theme is not feeling like their voice is heard,” she said. “Dublin has been an incredible school system for my boys, and I want to be a part of keeping it great.”
Striker resides in the Dublin district and is the mother of four sons, two of them graduates and twins who are seniors at Coffman.
Striker said she volunteered to organize school activities when her sons were in elementary school.
Ted Sun
Sun, 49, is founder and president of Transcontinental University in Dublin, which he describes as “an elite business school.”
Sun said he would utilize the model he had created at the university.
“Our community needs diversity, equity and inclusion that unite and to create and enhance systems that “honor individual diversity” and that support “equitable development” of students, teachers and staff, Sun said.
He said he is concerned about the effect of the ongoing pandemic upon the mental health of students. Students must be “mentally available” to learn, he said.
Sun said he would strive to implement “preventative strategies” to support children’s developmental needs while “healing the trauma of the pandemic.”
Sun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University, a master’s degree in business administration and doctorates of management and organizational psychology.
A graduate of Dublin Coffman High School, Sun has lived and worked in Dublin for 35 years. He has two daughters.
He said he is seeking election “to give back” to the district “that gave me a foundation for success.”
“Education is my lifelong passion,” evidenced by the advance degrees that “reflect my desire to continuously learn,” he said.
Rick Weininger
Weininger, 61, is a retired educational consultant and former principal at Chapman Elementary School and Karrer Middle School in the Dublin school district.
He said he is seeking reelection to continue supporting the effort of students to navigate their own path to academic recovery amid the ongoing pandemic.
Dublin schools are among the best in the country, “but addressing pandemic learning gaps is imperative to remaining the best,” Weininger said.
If reelected, he said, he will strive “to make sure (students) have the most opportunities to achieve their goals (while continuing) to encourage responsible fiscal policy and creative solutions to help our students and community.”
Weininger has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Ohio State.
He has been a teacher in the Dublin, Canal Winchester, Hilliard and Willard school districts and has 23 years of experience as a school administrator.
Weininger was elected to the Dublin school board in 2013 and reelected in 2017.
He and his wife, Gabriel, reside in Dublin, and their son, Joseph, is a Coffman graduate.
Editor’s note: These profile capsules were written using candidates’ direct responses to ThisWeek‘s biographical information questionnaire that was due Sept. 30.
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