Six seek seats on Waynesboro school board

April 29, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Six people are vying for four open seats on the Waynesboro Area School Board in the May 19 primary election.

Waynesboro-area voters select school board candidates by region. Incumbent Leland Lemley, a Republican, is running unopposed in the North End, but there are contested races in the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township.

In the borough, political newcomers Bonnie Bachtell, Stephanie Kober and Brenda Lucas are running for two open positions. Two current board members from the borough, John Fitz and Chris Devers, decided not to seek another four-year term.

Gregory Ochoa was appointed to a vacant Washington Township seat in January. He's running for a full term, as is challenger Chris Lind.



Bachtell, 62, of Reservoir Avenue, said her experiences as a retired kindergarten teacher prepared her to serve on the school board. She highlighted her knowledge of curriculum writing as well as service with organizations such as Waynesboro Area Human Services, Renfrew Institute and Waynesboro Day Care Center.

"I want the children of the Waynesboro area to receive the best education to enable them to achieve success in whatever areas their life may take them," said Bachtell, a Democrat. "I also believe in the importance of the school board maintaining a conservative and effective budget."

Kober, 37, of Clayton Avenue, might be better known to Renfrew Institute participants as "Firefly." She teaches environmental and historical programs to elementary school children.

"I have gained valuable experience as a substitute teacher in Waynesboro and have taught in each of the elementary schools, the middle school and the high school," said Kober, a Democrat. "However, my greatest qualification for candidacy is that I'm a concerned parent of two children in the school district."

Lucas, 47, of North Grant Street, said she decided to run for school board in hopes of working as a liaison between students, teachers, parents and the community. One of her children graduated from the high school in 2000 and the other is in ninth grade.

"My goal is to assist the board in making better decisions to benefit students, while balancing the needs of our community," said Lucas, a Democrat. "I think I can bring a level of innovation and new thinking to the school board."


Lind, 53, of Longwood Drive, said current economic conditions prompted him to seek a school board seat, saying "financial expertise and new ideas" are needed to effectively manage public expenditures. Lind touted his accounting experience.

"Imposing more taxes or incurring more debt will not make our schools better," said Lind, a Republican. "But in our district, this seems to be the track record of the past few years."

Ochoa, 42, of Oxford Circle, said he should be elected because he has experience with major budgets, leadership experience and children in the school district. He also said it's important for school board members to be visible in the community and schools.

"I have numerous years of community and school volunteer experience, and as a result, I am committed to reaching out to community, parent and school groups to better understand the issues facing our district," said Ochoa, a Democrat.

All of the candidates cross-filed, so they will appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots on May 19.

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