Election Day in Pennsylvania is Nov. 5 – and Patch is providing our readers with a look at the candidates running for office locally.
Todd R. Wolf and Helen Karchner are running for Spring-Ford Area School Director in Region 3; Joseph Ciresi is running on the Republican and Democrat ballot for one of two open positions in Region 2; Tom DiBello and Robert Weber are running for the second seat in Region 2.
Name: Helen Karchner
Running for: Spring-Ford School Board Limerick 2
Party Affiliation: “Registered Republican” sponsored by the Democratic Party – thus one of the best mixes for a school board position
Positions Previously Held: N/A
Why are you running for office? To help improve school board communication to YOU, our community; To provide increased support to the STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math); and to improve student inter-personal communication skills (including Oral, Written, & Presentational).
What are the biggest issues facing your community? Lack of information disseminated throughout the community on multiple levels; ample opportunity for students to engage in “life preparing” activities; lack of emphasis placed on ability for students to communicate across a myriad of situations and venues.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? Design an optimum program addressing each of the above issues, present supportive evidence, create the foundation, then teach and train appropriate leaders to grow these new programs.
Interesting fact about you: Well, there are a couple: I enjoy public speaking. I have personally met/worked with a few iconic people (Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Bernie Parent, Ivanna Trump, Mike Farrell, LeVar Burton, Herb Denenberg, and premier communication advisors Myles Martel and Carolyn Keefe), just to name a few. I am a novice photographer, and enjoy capturing nature at its best.
Name: Joe Ciresi
Running for: Spring-Ford School Board of Directors
Party Affiliation: I will be on the ballot as both a Republican and a Democrat
Positions Previously Held: Current school board member Vice President of the Board
Why are you running for office? My inspiration for being a board member has always been my son and all of the students in our community . I want to continue to keep taxes low while advancing the educational opportunities for all students. We have made great strides in the past four years from the introduction of Global Studies, STEM, to the Spring City Hybrid Learning Center, the National Blue Ribbon 8th grade center, and seeing Spring-Ford move to the top 6% of school districts in the state.
What are the biggest issues facing your community? Our biggest issue is unfunded mandates that are costing our community millions of dollars which is being pushed down from the state. If some of these mandates were removed we would possibly have the ability to move this district forward without raising taxes.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? I hope to continue the work that we have started and by the end of my term see Spring-Ford be in the top 1% of all the districts in the state and nationally and internationally recognized for what education should be in America.
Interesting fact about you: I am a singer and actor in local theater. I also am the Director of Sales at the Kimmel Center for the past 12 years
Name: Todd Ramage Wolf
Running for: Spring-Ford Area School Board Region II
Party Affiliation: Republican
Positions Previously Held: N/A
Why are you running for office? Right here and right now, looking back at 55 years of life lived, and looking forward to contributing to a better future, I want to bring a more disciplined and fiscally responsible approach to the continuous improvement of the Spring-Ford Education system. Having experienced over 35 years in the construction industry, I believe that the construction axiom "form follows function" translates appropriately to most human endeavors. Thinking like an architect and working like a carpenter, I have the vision to define where we need to go, and the practical skills and common sense to get us there. I see this job as an accountability partnership with all of the stakeholders of that system - the parents and their children, the teachers, and those taxpayers supporting and investing in them.
We will get what we value.
So, what do we value? What do we really want, and why do we want it? What do we need to do to make it happen, and how are we going to do it? Do we want a society of standardized and reactive automatons, or a society of responsive and responsible individuals? Do we want a society that is easily manipulated and exploited by "marketing social scientists" who tell us what we should and shouldn't like, and what we should and shouldn't think and feel, or a society made up of individuals with the competence, confidence, and courage to commit to differentiating, discerning and drawing relevant distinctions for themselves? Do we want a society made up of people who employ deception and intimidation to force their agendas on each other, or who respectfully engage in meaningful and productive two-way conversations that matter, deliberating competing ideas for the purpose of finding a better way?
What is necessary and sufficient for a society to do what needs to done to move from the current situation to a better situation? The survival and continuous improvement of the human condition relies on knowledgeable and wise interpretations, and thoughtful and respectful expressions of the way the world is and the way we would like it to become. This is the cause and effect of quality public education.
We will get what we value, how we value it, and why we value what we value the way that we value it ... by thoughtfully choosing what we measure, how we measure it, and why we measure what we measure the way that we measure it.
What are the biggest issues facing your community?
- Individuals, communities, and public education are being sacrificed on the altar of political agendas and special interests.
- The challenges presented by the economic downturn, legislation that was passed in better economic times that is now crippling taxpayers and school districts alike, and a contentious social-political environment demand that we all honestly address these realities and the issues driving them, in the spirit of collaboration.
- The means, methods and measurements that were supposed to serve the purpose of achieving the goal of educating have become the goal. Objectified and standardized teaching reforms that are directly aimed at passing state-mandated machine scored achievement tests are an example of this phenomena. Teaching to the test, for the test, by the test will not stand.
- The powers that be in education, as in many organizations today, are approaching the management of people as if they were things. This condition is the root cause of the problems we face today. Teachers are losing their power and freedom to pursue their interests and passion … losing the joy and the fun of teaching. Students are losing their power and freedom to pursue their interests and passion … losing the joy and the fun of learning. Communities are losing the sense of belonging, power, freedom and fun necessary for them to survive and thrive as individuals engaged, interacting, participating and contributing to the success of the community.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?
My approach to addressing the issues facing the Spring-Ford Schools will be pretty much the same as my approach to any/all issues faced ... engage, interact, participate, and contribute ... observe, orient, decide, brief, act, debrief, learn, and do better.
I am running for school board to answer a few questions that I think are relevant to many of the issues we are facing:
- What resources do we already have that are not being used to the fullest potential?
- What do we have and/or are doing that is not necessary, and therefore not affordable?
- What do we want to accomplish, and what conditions are necessary to accomplish it.
Our Spring-Ford Area Public School System is an extremely important subsystem of our community. Our school system success, like the success of our community, depends on the functional relationships of the general public, parents, teachers, students, administrators, school board members, politicians, and media working together as a system … engaging, interacting, participating and contributing to the system’s value creation ... success. Though the accumulated data, information, and knowledge of this thing, that thing, and the other thing are important, the appreciation for the power found in the relationships of people, places and things … the patterns recognized in all those things relating to each other, is more important. My focus will be on identifying and building those relationships.
The sustenance of relationships is relating. Can we relate? I know that we can!
Interesting fact about you:
In 1963, I moved from Ambler to Limerick Township with my mother, father, and younger sister and brother. I experienced the sixties and early seventies as a student of the Spring-Ford School System from 1st grade through 12th grade. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of moving to Limerick … 50 years of Limerick experiences and perspective.