Myers seeks momentum for TPS runWritten by Heather Riedel | | email@example.com
Chris Myers said he is a “different type of candidate” for the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education.
Myers announced March 14 he is in the running for the November election. He said the race for school board is competitive and it is important to get a head start.
“I plan to meet with citizens and it’s mainly about identifying with different people,” Myers said. “That’s another reason to start early. The most important thing is talking to people.”
Not being well-known may have been one of his downfalls in the 2005 school board election.
“Toledo’s a particularly hard place to run, but life is a process,” Myers said. “You can’t expect to jump from one step to the top step. It’s all a process.”
When he ran in 2005 as one of the Three for Change candidates, not many people knew who he was. Since he has remained active in the community, he is confident in his campaign.
“I have a lot of momentum. I have a lot more people from all walks of life supporting me,” he said.
Myers’ Three for Change cohorts, Robert Torres and Darlene Fisher, who both won school board seats in 2005, said Myers’ work ethic and genuine interest in the betterment of the district would serve the board well if he is elected.
“Chris, in the last year, has certainly demonstrated his concern and his advocacy for school-related issues,” Torres said. “I can’t think of another individual, not being a board member, who has been more involved than Chris.”
Though she wouldn’t offer an outright endorsement for Myers’ candidacy because she is waiting to see whom the Lucas County Democratic Party will endorse for school board, Fisher said Myers has the know-how to help the district face pressing issues such as its budget deficit and declining enrollment. She said voters should not let party politics come into play when making their decision on the nonpartisan race.
“I believe citizens would be served by Chris’ candidacy,” she said.
Steven Steel, the board’s vice president, and board member Larry Sykes declined commenting on Myers’ candidacy.
“I don’t even know who Chris Myers is,” said Sykes, who in the past has had personality conflicts with Myers.
Sykes’ and board president Deborah Barnett’s school board seats are up for re-election this fall. Barnett said she would let her term expire. Sykes offered no comment as to whether he would seek re-election.
Barnett said she would not comment on Myers’ candidacy or anyone else’s at this point, but advised those wishing to serve on the board to be prepared to work with citizens and the TPS administration for the benefit of children.
“You must have a passion for this work and you must have the time to do this work because there’s a lot of work to do,” Barnett said.
Steel said voters should choose a candidate that will focus on helping the district achieve financial stability. He said the community should make it a priority to select someone who will provide good leadership.
Another aspect Myers said may help him and is unique about him is his background. For his junior year at UT, he studied abroad in China and is fluent in the language. He said that is important to “implement the Chinese language” into the district.
Aside from studying Chinese, he received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational technology. On his newest Web site, http://myersforschoolboard.com, he writes how he wants to incorporate as much technology as possible.
“The government should provide ways to allow the citizens to participate in their own time. They should bring the meetings to the people,” Myers said. By “pushing for streaming live meetings” and keeping the public informed of the newest technologies, Myers said this could help get the community involved.
“People don’t always know there are opportunities to help. If you ask people or tell them how they can help, people will be more aware and bringing them in will benefit everyone.”
Torres said Myers’ technology background would help the district compete with private and charter schools for students.
“His approach to utilizing the latest technology to inform our community and to engage community involvement is what’s needed in our district,” Torres said.
If he is elected in November, Myers said he plans to keep the “school board business professional,” which will benefit everyone as well. In regards to whether Sykes will run for re-election, Myers said if they both are elected, it is important they work together.
“I plan to keep it professional. I can control myself, but I can’t control other people,” Myers said.
Myers said there are three things he believes and is pushing for in his campaign in 2007.
“No. 1 is strong academics to prepare every student for the future. No. 2 is fiscal responsibility. Every single dollar has a story. It’s someone’s money and it should be accounted for. And No.3 is to have an open and transparent operation of the district and an open format for the community,” he said.
“I’m here to make a difference in the Toledo Public Schools,” Myers said. “The district can do better and this area has the ability to be successful.”
Toledo Free Press Metro Editor Justin R. Kalmes contributed to this report.