ANNA — Four candidates are seeking three seats on the Anna Local Schools Board of Education.
Appearing on Tuesday’s ballot will be Mike Ambos, 9845 Thompson Schiff Road, Sidney, Jason D. Fogt, 503 E. North St., Anna, Matthew Murray, 13345 Sycamore, Anna, and Timothy Denman Stroh, 13160 Sycamore, Anna. Fogt and Murray are current board of education members.
Ambos, 48, is a staff engineer with Honda of America. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Michaela and Zach.
Fogt, 42, is the owner of DW Machining Services. He is a past Shelby County Farm Bureau member. He has two sons, Jacob and Wyatt Fogt.
Stroh, 37, is a staff engineer at Honda of America Mfg. Anna Engine Plant. He and his wife, Amanda, the parent volunteer coordinator for Anna Elementary, are the parents of two children, Abby, 11, a fifth-grader at Anna Elementary, and Ben, 8, a second-grader at Anna Elementary.
What are the primary issues in your school district?
Ambos: “I think the primary issue of the district is the renovation project.”
Fogt: “Making sure the Anna Local Schools Renovation project stays on task and moving forward.”
Stroh: “The Anna Local schools are not failing in any one specific area. Anna has historically had highly successful academics and extra circular activities thanks to qualified, high performing teachers and administration.”
Why are you seeking office?
Fogt: “I want to ensure the Anna Local School District people have the best educational experience possible in the state.”
Stroh: “My work experience as a mechanical engineer at Honda, the largest manufacturer in the school district, has allowed me to understand what it will take to have students prepared for tomorrow’s high tech jobs. I will work to guide the community and school district into a position to provide the valuable skill set required to fill these jobs. The ongoing renovation project is the perfect opportunity to modernize our schools while bringing STEM and engineering into the classroom.”
Ambos: “I am seeking office because I believe in the importance of education and serving the community. I have been serving the community for the past 7 years as the Athletic Booster President and Vice President. I want to turn my focus from providing Athletic resources to ensuring our Anna youth have the best educational experience available. Anna High School is also in the initial process of a total renovation. I want to make sure that the community approved renovation provides the community with a ‘like new’ school that is completed on time, on budget, and is a school that that the community is proud to call ‘their school’ for generations to come.”
What makes you a better candidate?
Stroh: “Both incumbents and the new candidate would bring unique experiences to the board of education. As the father of children in the district and an active Anna Athletic Booster Member, I see the importance of making advancements in areas that will provide future generations with new opportunities, while not loosing the communities traditional values of dedication, respect and hard work.”
Ambos: “I don’t feel that saying I am a better candidate is the right way to say it. I think a better way to say it is that I have been working with the community and School Administration for the past several years and understand the importance of working together to make improvements. My occupation also has provided me with the opportunity to lead large projects as well as a team of people which I also feel are valuable assets that I can bring as a school board member.”
Fogt: “Past four years of experience and currently have two sons enrolled in the district.”
What ideas/plans would you have to increase the district’s report card score?
Ambos: “Fortunately the Anna School district report card has been given very good results, but there is always room for improvement. I would talk to the teachers and administration to understand where there are deficiencies and work with them to close the gaps and improve the scores.”
Fogt: “We strive to hire the best possible teachers to increase the district’s report card.”
Stroh: “First and foremost, Anna’s report card scores are excellent, especially at the elementary school. We need to focus on ensuring the administration, teachers and staff have the resources necessary to stay on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. The areas I would like to learn more about report card scores are in the middle school and high school language arts.”
What role do you feel parents should play in classroom activities and as a volunteer in the district?
Fogt: “I encourage everyone to stay engaged, and together as a district we can find solutions to ensure every child has a quality education.”
Stroh: “Parents need to play an active role in their child’s education. From my perspective, parent involvement is strong at Anna and the parent volunteers play a vital role in enhancing education. I have witnessed this through my involvement in the athletic boosters and my work with the students through the STEM programs SME Prime, World in Motion and First Lego League. I do however believe it is critical to develop our children’s problem solving skills so they are capable of engaging in conflict resolution as well as advocating for their own values and beliefs.”
Ambos: “I feel that parents volunteering in classroom activities is very important. It shows the youth that someone cares about them and are invested in them. It provides the students with more role models and community support. Not everyone has the time or flexibility to volunteer in the class room, but I would highly recommend it for those who can.”
What kind of relationship would you develop as a board member with the parents in the community?
Stroh: “I believe one of the most important roles of the board of education is to listen to ideas on how to strengthen the organization. Board members should be available for the community to ask questions or voice concerns and should be transparent with the community to build respect and trust.”
Ambos: “I think that the board members need to have a strong relationship with the parents and community. I would do this by being visible and accessible to listen to the parents and communities concerns and take those issues to the board to find ways for improvements.”
Fogt: “If re-elected, I promise the parents of the Anna Local Schools community that I will always be accessible to hear their thoughts and concerns.”
Salaries of teachers and other staff members are always a concern. What do you think the district needs to do to keep the staff members from leaving for better paying jobs?
Ambos: “The Anna School district is blessed to have a very competitive wage system where turn over is not a concern and has an environment where teachers stay. I would like to work with the teachers and School administration to continue to provide the resources and positive environment to keep our high performing teachers long term. “
Fogt: “The Anna Local Board of Education, the administration, teachers and staff all work together, therefore, our turnover rate is very minimal.”
Stroh: ” I am unaware of teachers or staff leaving Anna Local Schools due to salaries or compensation. Through parent/teacher conferences and other interaction with educators, teachers often complement the district and students. The teachers and staff put in endless hours teaching, planning, working on professional development and studying new laws and standards, and the district’s test scores reflect this hard work.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.