The Athens City School District Board of Education will have two new members on the board after Kim Goldsberry, Paul Grippa and Sean Parsons won the three open seats Tuesday.
Kim Goldsberry won re-election to the board with 2,504 votes, or 20.68 percent of the vote.
“I’m very thankful to the citizens of Athens for entrusting me with the children of Athens,” Goldsberry said.
Goldsberry attended Morrison-Gordon Elementary, Athens Middle School and Athens High School before studying communication at OU. She has twins who attend Athens Middle School and a daughter who attends Athens High School. All three previously attended East Elementary.
She has served as both president and vice president of the East Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. Goldsberry said she was involved in improving student safety with better security measures at East Elementary, better traffic patterns at Athens High School and more crosswalks near Athens Middle School.
Goldsberry first ran for the board and won in 2013, and she began her term in 2014. During her time on the board, she said the board has made tough financial decisions, tried to not micromanage what happens within the schools and evaluated the current facilities.
Goldsberry hoped to look into grant funded after-school programs that have been implemented at Hilliard Schools near Columbus, as well as “power hours” that would help students struggling with reading if re-elected.
Paul Grippa won one of three open seats on the board with 2,307 votes, or 19.05 percent of the vote.
“I’m proud and honored that people thought that I was an appropriate candidate for the board, and I’m thankful the people voted for me and got me elected,” Grippa said in response to being elected.
Grippa has lived in Athens since 1986, when he came to the district to be principal of the Athens Middle School, a position he held for 28 years. Grippa said he also served as interim superintendent for the district from 1995 to 1996. Grippa had nine children go through the district.
Grippa said his time in the district has helped him become familiar with nearly every issue and all the buildings and some of their limitations. He believes the issues that could come up have always been issues, facilities being the exception.
He believed the district needs to determine if there are enough or too many buildings, rate the quality of all the buildings from top to bottom and figure out which buildings, if any, need repair. Grippa said the board must address the state of the facilities.
“If there are buildings that can be continued to be used, then I think we have an obligation to continue to use these buildings and have them be preserved,” Grippa said.
He thinks the board's role is to be a body that oversees and determines policy.
Sean Parsons won one of the open seats with 2,066 votes, or 17.06 percent of the vote.
"I'm excited to take the energy from campaigning and put it towards improving education for all of the kids in the Athens City School District," Parsons said.
Parsons is an assistant professor at OU’s School of Music. He is the father of two children who both attend Morrison-Gordon Elementary and was a member of the steering committee that developed the three facilities options proposed to the board.
Parsons produced videos that explained what the Athens City School District Board of Education was discussing, especially about the facilities options from the steering committee. He said he created those videos to demonstrate how he would communicate as a board member.
Special needs services and supporting teachers are two aspects of the district Parsons is focused on. The wide range in the district in special needs services is something Parsons believes there is a “societal obligation” to address.
Rather than telling teachers what to do, he wants teachers to tell him what they would want, and he would try to support it. Parsons said he has gone into classrooms in different buildings in the district to see how they were maintained and hopes to do something similar as a board member.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated Paul Grippa had been re-elected. He was elected to the board for the first time. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.