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Board of Education appoints Tonya Wright to fulfill vacant seat at busy meeting

It was a busy night at the Jackson Local Schools Board of Education meeting Tuesday night at Jackson High School. The school board took action to build a bridge to seating a new board member, a tunnel to the North Park and saw a roadway to one of the models being considered to start the new school year.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the board meeting. The board, with four members seated — President Thomas W. Winkhart, members Kenneth J. Douglas, Scott Gindlesberger and Christopher V. Goff — took action to:

• Appoint a new board member to fulfill the seat of Katrina Barton, who resigned in May because of out-of-state employment;

• Approve a collaborative agreement and partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation, Stark County Parks and Jackson Township to build a tunnel under Fulton Drive NW to connect Jackson High School and North Park with most of the costs being paid for by the state;

• And watched a presentation on what ONE of the models for returning to school could look like in August.

• Learned Monica Myers, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, received the 2020 Outstanding Administrator Award from the Ohio Educational Library Media Association. The award recognizes an administrator who has made significant contributions to the support of school library programs.

The board unanimously approved appointing Tonya M. Wright to fulfill the rest of Barton’s term. The board thanked the other 11 members of the community who applied for the position and went through the interview process. In all, there were 13 applicants for the vacant seats, but one candidate dropped out. The board spent more than five hours in a special session earlier this month interviewing applicants.

“I am honored to have been appointed to the board," Wright said. "Giving back to this community has always been important to me, and there’s nothing more important to the future of any community than having successful schools educating and shaping our students. We’re so fortunate to have such a dedicated team here at JLSD, and I look forward to contributing to the long tradition of excellence our families expect at Jackson.”

Wright has served in many roles in the community, including as co-chair of the United Way of Greater Stark County’s annual campaign in 2019, along with her husband Mark Wright. The Wrights have two daughters in Jackson Local Schools. Tonya Wright will be sworn in at the July board meeting.

In addition to her work with United Way, Wright served on the Women’s Board of Aultman Hospital since 2000. She has helped various booster clubs in the school district and served on the Sauder Elementary Parent-Teacher Group. Wright has her master’s in business administration from Kent State University.

The tunnel project is a $1.3 million project with more than half of the funding coming from the Ohio Department of Transportation. Stark Parks, Jackson Township and Jackson Local Schools each will provide $205,288 to complete the project. The school’s share will come from permanent improvement monies and not affect the district’s general operating fund.

“This is true vertical collaboration among all levels of government in Ohio,” Jackson Local Superintendent Chris DiLoreto said.

About 11,000 vehicles travel that stretch of Fulton Drive near Jackson High School every day.

DiLoreto stressed to those in attendance the “proposal and considerations” presentation on a Restart Jackson Plan was just one of three models being considered. DiLoreto said the district is considering three options: a full return to school as it was at the start of the 2019-2020 school year, a hybrid model (which was presented Tuesday night) and a complete online learning model.

The Jackson Local School District awaits more guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education for a return to school for the 2020-21 school year.

Meanwhile, parents, students and staff at Jackson Local Schools are encouraged to take the district’s survey about their thoughts on returning to school in August to help shape the district’s plans. That survey can be found here.