Four Candidates Vie For Three Positions On Athens City School Board

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Four candidates, including two incumbents, are battling on Tuesday for three seats open on the Athens City School’s Board of Education.

Current Board President Jeff Dill did not seek re-election.

Newcomers Alan Swank and Kimberly Goldsberry are vying alongside incumbents Bruce Nottke and Chris Gerig for the three positions. The top three vote getters from this quartet will win in this non-partisan race.

Swank, 58, served as an Occupational Work Adjustment teacher for at-risk students at Athens High School early in his career. He also taught social studies in northern Ohio before entering the yearbook business.  He currently is a regional vice-president for a yearbook publisher.

Goldsberry, 41, is a past president of the East Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). She has worked in advertising, marketing and sales for a pharmaceutical company and a television station in Parkersburg. She currently is a part-time stay-at-home mother and a part-time marketing and advertising specialist for Goldsberry Wealth Strategies.

Nottke, 64, has served 12 years on the Athens’ Board of Education. He is semi-retired but still does some project work for RVC architects in Athens. After moving to this area a number of years ago, he worked for Ohio University, Panich and Noel Architects and Sunpower, Inc.  His wife is a retired teacher from the Trimble Local School system.

Gerig, 46, is an alumnus of Athens High School, West Point, and Capital Law School.  He is a local attorney and a life-long Athens resident. He is completing his first four-year term on the Board. He also formerly served as president of the East Elementary PTO.

All of the candidates either have or had children in the Athens City School system.

At a recent League of Women’s voter’s forum, each candidate had a slightly different view of the system’s top challenges. Gerig claims it is finances and funding issues. Nottke complains that the state keeps taking away money from school districts but simultaneously adds extra mandates.

Goldsberry cited the inequity across school buildings as an issue. She claims that the schools are “not equal.” Swank said that one of the issues involves meeting the needs of all students: those who are disadvantaged, those who are gifted, and creating a curriculum that meets the needs of all students.

Although the candidates, during the campaign, have differed on school priorities, each is opposed to hiring armed school resource officers.

The Athens Education Association comprised of the district’s teachers declined “to endorse any of the candidates in favor of allowing individual members to make their own decisions based on their own knowledge and experience with the candidates.”