Four new candidates run to replace current school board members

The Primary Elections will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Matthew Levenson

The Primary Elections will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Natalie Dubovi, Staff Writer

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Most high school students don’t know about what goes on at school board meetings. The decisions made at those meetings directly affect the student body. Personnel, budget, sports, building projects, scheduling and policy issues are all decisions made by the school board.

There are six open spots on the board for this upcoming election, and there are currently four new candidates running for school board, which are Emily Evans, Sharon Geibel, Lynn Patsiga and Leslie Rizzi.

Emily Evans graduated from Freedom Area High School  in 2000 and now lives in New Sewickley Township with her husband and four children. Her kids range from age two to fifth grade. Not only is Evans a Freedom graduate and parent of four, but she is also a taxpayer, certified teacher, former assistant teacher and a current substitute teacher in the district.

She chose to run for a school board position because she believes that sometimes a change is needed and that change comes with a fresh perspective. Evans hopes to have an opportunity to discuss and elevate programs, policies and curriculum to provide a greater opportunity for all students. She promises to work hard and responsibly for this community.

“Running a school is a business, but it is one where we are talking about the future success of our kids. I promise to work hard and responsibly for this community,” Evans said.

Sharon Geibel is a Brookville Area High School graduate and now lives in New Sewickley Township with her husband and three sons. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education at Westminster College. She then went on to Duquesne University School of Law, were pursued and completed a Juris Doctor Degree. She’s a Certified Mediator as well as a Certified Life Coach.

Geibel chose to run for a school board position because she believes that it will be a great opportunity for public service. She believes it will be an opportunity to be a voice in making educational and administrative decisions that are in the best interest of students, teachers, administrators and the community.

“I hope to create lines of open communication between all stakeholders, from the students and teachers to parents and community members. We have to work together to strengthen our school district,” Geibel said.

Lynn Patsiga graduated from Freedom Area High School and now lives in New Sewickley Township with her husband and two children. She graduated from Chatham University with a Bachelor of Science and a minor in Biology. Patsiga has worked for three multinational corporations spanning 15 years. She began as a chemist, then a quality engineer and lastly as a quality manager.

Patsiga chose to run for a school board position because she has many goals for the District. Some of which are improving the educational environment, enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against bullying, improving the support structure for teachers, increasing the opportunity for students’ voices to be heard, implementing an effective system of checks and balances regarding the superintendent and improving communication and transparency regarding budgetary concerns and decision-making processes.

“I love this school district and want to do everything in my power to support and improve our educational system,” Patsiga said.

Leslie Rizzi graduated from Quigley Catholic High School and now lives in New Sewickley Township with her husband and daughter, who graduated from Freedom in 2017. She currently works for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Third District Office in Moon Township and Rizzi Insurance in New Sewickley. She attended Carlow University and has extensive non-profit management experience.

She chose to run for a school board position because she’s been an advocate for the special education program at Freedom for many years and she’s served as a volunteer in the District in many capacities. She desires to continue to serve and be a positive voice for all of the students and district.

“We are currently facing such issues as significant budget deficits, declining test scores and declining enrollment. I will listen and weigh all sides of each issue and keep the needs of the students and district as my top priority by continually asking questions and considering input from all stakeholders. Freedom Area School District has much to be proud of. Let’s remember that as we continue to highlight the positives and work together to make strides in our challenges,” Rizzi said.

It is important to research the candidates before voting because these are the people that will directly influence many aspects of the school district in the upcoming years.

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