Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, October 19, 2007

BOE Candidate series: Lynn Ellis

Lynn Ellis
Candidate for Board Of Education

I was born and raised in Norwood, went to Norwood View Elementary, and graduated Norwood High School in 1978. You might know my father, Clyde Hill (NHS 1947 now deceased) or my mother, Mary Jane Hill. It’s also possible you went to school with my brother Ed Hill, or cousins Kate, John, Rob or Susan Hill.

After I graduated from high school, I went on to college, received my degree and taught in private school. I married Kent Ellis in 1987, and we have two sons, Zachery (grad. 2007 and U.C. Chemistry Major…freshman) you may have seen in the school plays, and Micah at Allison Elementary. He is our basketball player. I have served our community by: Secretary 3yrs. WNNA, Ohio Reads Tutor, Asst. in Kindergarten at Allison (a few years), past member PTA, Historical Society, Superintendent's Advisory Committee from 2000 - 2003.


1. Improve District Test Scores:
I want all of our children to be able to compete in the world for jobs and in further education. Norwood Schools need to provide the best education possible. Being in Continuous Improvement for 7 years is unacceptable. I believe we are in this situation because of poor leadership. We have to stop rewarding poor performance by our administrators. A few years ago, an elementary school became terribly dissatisfied with their principal, and they fought to have this principal removed. Instead of terminating the principal, the district created an administrative position for the individual. This is a bad practice. Strong Leaders make Strong Schools.

I also believe it would be worth our while to investigate similar districts that are succeeding and implement those practices that make them successful. Teaching to the test isn’t working. Our children need a well-rounded curriculum. I would love to see Latin as well as other courses back in our school system. The district talks about the level of poverty we have here in Norwood; the best way out of poverty is education. We have willing and caring staff members; let’s use them to their full potential.

2. I will spend tax dollars wisely and responsibly:
I am a firm believer in using the competitive bid process for all major projects. I know our children need to be safe on the playground, but did we need to spend $42,500 on rubber mats at every school? Were there alternatives? Could we have gotten a better price? I don’t know; there was no research done, and the competitive bid process wasn‘t used. The district needs to stop spending on cosmetic and unnecessary purchases. Examples: $30,000 high school sign; $20,000 for an entrance to Allison, and I am sure you all have your favorites. There is at least one elementary school that needs a new roof, and all of our schools need updated wiring and plumbing. When you can’t plug the overhead in without unplugging a fan, that is a bad situation. I believe preventive maintenance along with a good maintenance plan would benefit our district. This would be a proactive step rather than a reactive folly. As your School Board member, I will be accountable and responsible with the children's, taxpayers’ and citizens’ tax dollars.

3. Repair the relationship between the school district and community:
As a parent who has been to all committee and board meetings for the last 2 years and spoken at quite a few, I don’t feel like I am heard. The two new members are trying, but unfortunately the majority isn’t. I am sure there are others that feel the same way. I have attended meetings fairly regularly for close to 7 years and have been astonished by the lack of reaction from the school board towards those who speak. The district needs to include the community, especially the parents, in those decisions that will impact their children. I believe we need to tape all meetings, including committee meetings. The board needs to be transparent in the way they do business, so that the public knows exactly what is happening in every meeting. As your board member, I will listen and consider your ideas.

I have always run on a platform of accountability and responsibility and believe that with those two things our Norwood City Schools will be successful. I truly believe together we can change things for the better. Let’s work together toward that goal. Vote Lynn (Hill) Ellis for School Board and remember, “ Our Kids Win with Lynn.”