Three Pettisville School Board seats on the line

Five people are running for three spots on the Pettisville Board of Education on Nov. 2. A.J. Genter, Brent Hoylman, Justin Rufenacht, Pam Skates, and Todd Sterken are all on the ballot.

Two of the candidates returned questionnaires to the Expositor in time for inclusion in this issue.

Name: Pam Skates

1. Why are you running for political office?

I am running for Pettisville School Board as a way to contribute to the school and community. I have strong ties to the community and school and would appreciate the opportunity to serve both.

2. Why should people vote for you?

I have stated many times that school board members need to be a voice for the community and to do that, we need to actively listen to those around us. We will not always give answers or respond the way that others want us to and that is okay. As board members, we need to look at the overall situation as well as the future of our school and community and seek to find a positive balance.

3. What are your two main goals if elected?

I feel that the board will need to work together as a cohesive group to support the administration, teachers, staff and ultimately, our students. Working together by showing respect, actively listening and seeking the best for our school is important.

Second, we need to look to the future and determine our financial needs both short- and long-term to keep our school financially healthy so that we can retain and attract high-quality staff with the ultimate goal of doing the best for our students.

4. Have you held office before? If so, please provide details.

No, I have not.

5. Do you have anything else to add?

No, I do not.

Name: Todd Sterken

Family: Wife Cara Sterken, two daughters (ages 15 and 13), and a son (age 10)

Age: 39

Education: BA Communication from the University of Toledo – 2004

Civic Organizations: none

1. Why are you running for political office?

I decided to run for school board because I have three children in the district, so I have a vested interest in the quality and content of their educational experience. My family and I love the Pettisville community and I want to serve it the best way I am able. The district is in a time of transition with a new superintendent and two long-standing board members who are not seeking reelection. I believe I have skills and experience that could be valuable for the board during this time.

2. Why should people vote for you?

I am asking the voters of Pettisville School District to select me as their representative on the school board because I will bring the perspectives of our community to the board’s work overseeing and setting policy for the district. I am a communicator by nature and by training. For the past 17 years I have worked in employee communications and fundraising for organizations large and small. Those experiences day in and day out have sharpened my ability to listen well, weigh many concerns, and find the best solutions. An important part of my current work as a fundraiser is to make sure funds are used according to donor intent. This mindset will help me as a school board member because the district is entrusted with taxpayer funds. I want to put these skills to work for students and our community.

3. What are your two main goals if elected?

My two most important goals as a school board member can be summed up in two words: excellence and stewardship. Pettisville Schools have incredible teachers at every level, stand-out programs that are too many to list, and a supportive community. I will use my voice on the board to help the district upon these strengths so our students have a wealth of opportunities to grow as people and realize their God-given potential. Our schools are a trust between the district and the community – particularly students’ families and taxpayers. I will approach my board role with the interest and intent of these groups in mind as we oversee and consider how those funds are being used.

4. Have you held office before? If so, please provide details.

I have not held political office per se, but I served a three-year term on the board for Pettisville Park from 2017 to 2019.