FORT LORAMIE — Four candidates are seeking three seats on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot for the Fort Loramie Local Schools Board of Education.
Incumbents running for re-election are Lisa Ruhenkamp, 130 Grandview, Fort Loramie, and Vernon Siegel Jr., 8727 Wright Puthoff Road, Sidney, and newcomers Lynn DeLoye, 8610 State Route 66, Fort Loramie, and Thomas Wisener, 75 Sawmill Road, Apt. A, Fort Loramie.
DeLoye is a Fort Loramie High School and Northwestern Business College graduate. she is married and has two children currently attending Fort Loramie Schools. She is a commodity manager.
Ruhenkamp recently retired from Hobart. She was a national sales manager calling on large retail grocery chains such as Walmart, Target, Kroger and Safeway.
She is a graduate from Miami University where she majored in business earning degrees in both marketing and human resources. She and her husband, Dave, have three grown children, son Nate and his wife Alison; daughter, Clair and her husband Cody Albers; and son, Nick, who’s a senior at Ohio University.
Siegel has been a member of the board of education for four years. He is a farmer/laborer and is a high school graduate. He and his wife, Brenda, are the parents of Cole and Connor Pence and Ethan and Zac Siegel.
Wiesner is a 1975 graduate of Wapakoneta High School and a 1979 graduate of Ohio State University. He retired in 2011 from Fort Loramie Local Schools, where he taught for 22 years, was a bus driver for 30 years, coached basketball, track and baseball and was assistant athletic director for approximately 25 years.
He is the youngest child of the late Paul and Betty Wiesner. He has one brother, Bob, Savannah, Georgia, and one sister, Paula, of Wapakoneta.
Why are you running for Fort Loramie Board of Education?
DeLoye: “I am running for the Fort Loramie Board of Education to continue focus on academic opportunities and excellence for our students. We need to keep our district financially strong and up-to-date with technological advancements and program offerings. Post graduate needs of all students must be supported whether entering the military, pursuing a trade, farming or entering college.”
Ruhenkamp: “I am running for the school board because of my passion for learning and education. I want our school system to ensure that ALL students are career-ready, college-ready, and prepared to be good citizens of their communities. I also want to guarantee that our school continues to be one of excellence, because a strong community is a result of a strong school system. I value the principles, work ethic, and community spirit found here and want to be the voice for our district residents to make certain all these things remain strong.”
Siegel: “I’m running to serve the students and residents of the school district and give back to the community of Fort Loramie.”
Wisener: “I feel that I have a lot to offer Fort Loramie Schools with my background as a teacher, bus driver, coach, athletic administrator and village resident.”
Why do you feel you’re the best candidate to serve on the board?
Ruhenkamp: ‘There are several reasons why I feel I would make a good board member. First, during my past work experiences, I utilized skills every day that are needed to be a good board member: obtaining facts; listening; negotiating; adhering to budgets; confidentiality; and making tough decisions. My past dedication to our schools, community, and church demonstrates the commitment that I will put forth as a school board member. Finally, I am a lifelong resident of the district who has been involved with many facets of the school to ensure its current success.”
Siegel: “I don’t feel I’m better than anyone else. Everyone who is running cares about the district and the students in it.”
Wisener: “My varied background gives me the insight to look at each item as it appears to the board and evaluate it appropriately. I have experienced the needs of the school district from several sides and I feel that will help me in making choices and decisions.”
DeLoye: “I believe that I bring depth and professional business experience to the board. I have a broad background in strategic planning, people and program management, as well as current responsibility for a multi-million dollar budget. I have worked 15+ years with government agencies at various levels from federal USDA offices to state and local offices. I am very detail oriented and have experience dealing with the intricacies of government regulations. Additionally, I have the best interests of the Fort Loramie students at heart, having children currently in the system.”
Funding for the district is always concern since state funding changes from year to year. How do you bring new money/funding to the district?
Siegel: “For certain projects, apply for grants.”
Wisener: “Unfortunately, all school districts are at the mercy of the state when it comes to much of their funding. Generating new money means taxes. Taxes are hard on everyone. I realize that to have a great school district takes money, but the school board must be very vigilant on how those monies are allocated. We must consider every expenditure as to its value. When possible, we need to save money, use it wisely, and get the most value for it.”
DeLoye: “We need to remain fiscally conservative while being responsible with the money that we have and still provide a top-notch education and academic experience for our students.”
Ruhenkamp: “Generating new money for the school system is an ongoing issue for all districts. I alone cannot change government policies and state funding. This issue needs to be addressed by more than just one board member. I would suggest that all citizens keep education in the forefront as they vote for government positions that influence school funding. As a board member, I would be committed to ensuring the district is being a good steward of the money we do receive and to hold our administration accountable. “
What are the strengths of the district?
Wisener: “I came to this district 40 years ago with intentions of only staying a year or two and returning to my hometown of Wapakoneta. I never found a reason to leave. The community, church, families, and school district are the strength of this area. Not just Fort Loramie but all the small school districts in the area. We consistently rank very high in testing, being ranked among the state’s best. Our athletics have had great success. Most of all, the strength of the families, immediate and extended, have given our children the support they need to flourish.”
DeLoye: “Our students are fortunate to have tremendous parent and home support throughout the district. I believe that we have very good administration currently in place. We also have high-caliber, dedicated teachers at our schools. All these things result in higher quality academic achievements for our students.”
Ruhenkamp: “The greatest strength of our district is our administration, teachers, and school staff. Their commitment to our students is incredible. I also know that our parental and community involvement is a strength and plays a pivotal role in keeping our schools successful. Another strength are the businesses in our district. They are extremely generous in their financial support and meeting the material needs of the school. “
Siegel: “The residents of the district. The staff at Fort Loramie Schools, and the administration of Fort Loramie Schools.”
What are the weaknesses of the district? How do you improve the weaknesses?
DeLoye: “Coming on to the Board of Education, I look forward to being involved with identifying and addressing any perceived weaknesses or issues that arise. Addressing weaknesses or issues will take total board involvement.”
Ruhenkamp: ” A negative of small-town living is a lack of cultural experience for our youth. I do believe the school can incorporate creative programs and curriculum to broaden our student’s horizons. I don’t see another weakness, but I will challenge the administration to ensure we are on the cutting edge of technology. In our rapidly changing world, we need to utilize the latest technology to allow our students to be well-prepared for their future success. I will highlight this need as an objective for our administration.”
Wisener: “I really don’t see any weakness in the district. There are always ways to improve as new methods of teaching are developed but I just don’t see any weaknesses. I feel our staff and administration are among the strongest in the area.”
How can you improve communication with school district residents?
Siegel:“The residents of the district can come to the board meetings and voice their concerns and opinions.”
Wisener: “I like the newsletters and website that the school has, especially for the residents who don’t have children in school anymore. Applications like Facebook and Twitter reach a lot of people in the area. I would like them to be used more and in new ways in the future.”
DeLoye: “We need to continue to communicate via the various social media platforms along with continuing our quarterly newsletter to the district residents. I will be visible in the community and attend district activities where I would be accessible. We need to continue functions like our annual college fair and Career Connections class where students learn and grow outside of the traditional classroom and from experts in our community. We also need to continue partnering with local businesses to come in and speak with our students allowing all students the opportunity to understand every available option for their future career paths.”
Ruhenkamp: ” I will focus on two ways to improve communication with the residents. First, I want to act as liaison between the district and the community. I feel I am available and approachable for any district resident to voice their concerns or ask questions. I will bring these issues to the administration/board and address accordingly. If follow up is needed, I will do so. Second, I would support the administration to continue to be proactive and timely with their face-to-face, written, and social media communication to all parents and community members.”
In conclusion (optional for candidates):
Ruhenkamp: “The tradition and values in our schools and community are deeply rooted. We all want our students to learn in a safe and comfortable environment yet be challenged so they can become the best version of themselves. If re-elected, I intend to ensure the educational, social, and emotional needs of our children are constantly at the forefront in our schools. I will continue to be financially prudent with school funds and always vote in the best interest of the entire school district.”
Siegel: “At Fort Loramie Schools, we have a great staff and administration that work hard everyday, that I enjoy working with. I would also like to thank all the support I received when I first ran for the school board four years ago, and for the continued support for the upcoming election.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.