Four seeking seats on Newton school board

PLEASANT HILL — Four are vying for three open seats on the Newton Local School District Board of Education.

The following are information about each of the candidates, starting with the incumbents:

• Lane Robbins

Family info: Lane has been married to his wife (Sherry) for 23 years. He has three daughters, one a junior at Wright State, one a freshman at Miami University, and his third daughter is a junior at Newton. Lane attended Newton schools growing up and is a longtime resident of Pleasant Hill.

Occupation: Reliability Engineering Manager, Collins Aerospace, Troy. Lane has been employed with Collins since 2007.

Previous Political Experience: Newton school board member since 2010. Board Vice President last two years.

Qualifications: I have a BS degree in Physics from Miami University (1991) and MS degree in Nuclear Engineering from The Ohio State University (1992). For the last 29 years, I’ve been privileged to work for two larger corporations and was also a small business owner for 16 years. I’ve also been the fiscal officer for the Joint Fire District for the last five years with the opportunity to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and compliance to the state and county auditors.

Reason for Seeking Office: The past 12 years as a school board member has been a positive experience. I believe the administration is doing an excellent job and their hearts are in the right place for the students, faculty, and community. This is a group of people I am glad to be associated with for the next four years.

Goals for office if elected: My goal as a school board member is to continue to support the administration in the tough decisions that are made daily. At the same time, that includes assuring those decisions align with what is best for our students, faculty, and our community.

What do you see at the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek?

One continuing issue facing Newton schools will always be the uncertainty in state funding. In the past 12 years, I’ve seen a proactive administration that is always looking beyond the next one or two years. The challenge in the next four years will be to maintain non-deficit spending and requiring the district to be resourceful in its expenditures.

• Matt Downing

Family information: Married to Nicole (Bledsoe) Downing of Pleasant Hill. We have a daughter, McKenna, who is a senior at Newton High School. We also have a son, Brady, who is a sophomore at Newton High School. Our family has lived in Pleasant Hill since 2009.

Occupation: Manager of Purchasing at American Honda, Troy.

Previous political experience: One prior term on the Newton Board of Education.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Wright State University, Masters of Business Administration from Brandman University.

Reason for seeking office: It is a privilege to serve the students and community of Pleasant Hill. I am seeking re-election to help maintain Newton’s strong fiscal position and high levels of student achievement.

Goals for office if elected: Help our district navigate budget and funding issues, ensure that our district maintains its excellent facilities, and work with our district administration to continuously improve our academic standing.

What do you see as the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek: The greatest need is making sure that all students have a safe and positive environment at Newton, and further building upon the connection between the school and the community.

• Anne M. Case

Family information: Married to Joshua Case with three children: Evelyn, William, and Lucia.

Occupation: Private Practice Mental Health Therapist, social worker

Previous political experience: This is my first time running as a candidate, but I have been a Republican all my life and an active voter.

Qualifications: I have a Bachelor’s Degree and an Ohio license as a social worker. I have 16 years of child development experience. I have worked for Help Me Grow, Community Mental Health as a hotline worker and mobile crisis therapist, worked in education as a Social, Behavioral, Academic Support Consultant, and in mental health private practice. My career focus is on child/adolescent development and trauma. I have experience working with families to navigate the IEP process and utilize community resources. I am on the Tri-County Crisis Response Team, active at our church, and a 4-H advisor.

Reason for seeking office: I am running for the Newton School board to be able to give back to the community and schools. I benefited from attending Newton Schools, and I want to be a voice for the parents, students, and staff. In the next four years many tough topics will be coming up for school boards across the state. I want to be a voice of reason and support all Newton families, staff, and taxpayers.

Goals for office if elected: One of my goals is open communication with Newton families and to bring their concerns for the district to the board. I also want to support taxpayers and make sure the district is fiscally conservative with its finances, as well as provide support for Newton’s families, staff, and taxpayers.

What do you see as the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek:

I see needs with special education students and students that are struggling socially and emotionally. Students are falling behind from school closures, quarantines, and mask mandates. This will be a long-lasting problem that will need direct support in making sure every student succeeds. School staff also need extra support as they are working overtime to provide an appropriate educational program and learning environment, which will effectively meet the educational needs of their students.

• Jason Tippie

Family information: I have been married to my wife, Heather, for 20 years, and we have a son, Austin, who is 13 years old in eighth grade and he attends Newton Junior High.

Occupation: I am a physician assistant for the past 22 years, and I work for Premier Gastroenterology Specialists.

Past political experience: I do not have any prior political experience.

Reason for seeking office: We have lived in the Newton school district for the past 16 years and have been very active within the community. I have been a volunteer youth baseball coach for five years, youth basketball coach for four years, and head of the elementary boys basketball for Newton for two years.

Goals if elected: I would like to continue and further promote the high academic standards that exist at Newton local schools. I would to continue to build strong relationships with the school and community and to further see our students excel in their academic, athletic and artistic goals and pursuits.

What do you see as the greatest need to be addressed in the position you seek: The greatest need I see in this position is to have an honest and consistent voice that is able to work well with the other members of our school board, administration, and community to continue the great tradition at Newton local schools.