SIDNEY — For 14 years, Mandi Croft attended board of education meetings with her teacher’s hat on. Or she attended them as the parent of three children who attend school in the Sidney City School District.
On Wednesday night, Croft put on a different hat — that of a member of the board of education when she was sworn into office. She was elected to a four-year term in November 2015.
“I was a teacher for 14 years,” said Croft of her decision to run for the school board. “At the end of the 2013-2014 school year I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue other career opportunities available to me. Being the mom of three Sidney City Schools students, and also a former teacher, I am familiar with the schools and our education system from the parent, teacher and community member point of view.
“It is important to me to see our district succeed by giving students the best educational experience possible that will allow them future success in the career path that they choose. Even though I am not teaching, I still want to be a part of that,” she said.
Croft said she hopes to bring her education background and being a parent of students in the district to improve the communication between all involved with the education of Sidney students.
“My hope is to be able to be a vehicle for communication between the community, teachers, staff and administration,” said Croft. “I taught at Sidney High School for six years and my kids are in elementary and middle school. I have seen our district from various points of view through my own experiences and I want to be able to use that experience and knowledge in the decision-making and discussion that comes before the board.”
Croft commended previous board of educations for helping to bring the district back from financial crisis to a sound fiscal district.
“There will always be financial concerns for all school districts because it is never known how state or federal funding and guidelines will affect a district,” said Croft. “Sidney has done a really great job coming back from a very grim financial picture from just a five years ago. I hope to see that continue to move forward in the positive direction that it has been going.”
Helping students succeed in the classroom and in the future is something every school board member and district wants to see accomplished, she said.
“I think the problems that our district is facing are the same problems every district is facing. How to find the best way to reach our students and see that success in fair and reasonable forms of evaluation,” said Croft. “It is my hope that over time the state and federal government sees how testing, teacher evaluations, and state grade cards need to be re-evaluated to acknowledge the classroom of today. The socioeconomic makeup of our student body needs to be a factor in how we look at schools and evaluations. We need to be able to reach kids no matter their history or background.”
Communication is going to be a big part of her focus for the next four years.
“I think our district as a whole needs to continue to work at making sure there is constant communication across all parties involved in educating our children — the administration, the teachers, the staff, the parents, the community members and the school board,” said Croft. “We need to listen to what is working and what is not working at all levels, and we need to be working together to make our district the best that it can be. We have a very diverse community; we need to make sure we are doing what is best to reach all of our students. We also need to make sure our teachers, administration, and staff members know that they are appreciated and respected for all that they do, and that each and every position is an important part of a whole group of people who are working toward the same goal of educating our children.”
A 1994 graduate of Sidney High School, Croft received her Bachelor of Arts in Art/Marketing and English Education Certification for grades 7-12 from Bowling Green State University. She is currently the marketing and fund development specialist for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County, a freelance writer and education/technology consultant.
Croft, 39, and her husband, Dan, reside at 213 S. Wagner Ave. They are the parents of three sons, Hunter, Logan and Mason.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.