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  Gibbs, W. Shawna
NameW. Shawna Gibbs
Address2331 Argyle Dr.
Columbus, Ohio , United States
Website [Link]
Born 00, 1974 (43 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedThomas Walker
Oct 09, 2007 12:20am
Tags Single - Christian -
InfoW. Shawna Gibbs, 2331 Argyle Dr., a public relations manager for the Girl Scouts Seal of Ohio Council.

A graduate of Columbus Alternative High School, Gibbs is public-relations manager for the Girl Scouts Seal of Ohio Council, which oversees 26,000 children. She is a Democrat and graduated from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

"Without Columbus Public in my life, I would not be the woman that I am now," Gibbs said. "To the district that has given me so much, I want to give back and create an atmosphere for educational improvement for all students."

Gibbs said she doesn’t arrive with a specific agenda.

She does not have any birth children but district officials said she is helping to raise three — a first-grader and two toddlers — that she has made part of her family.

She would not comment on her relationship to the children other than to say that she is "taking care of them."

Gibbs’ mother passed away a little over a week ago with breast cancer, but she would have been proud that Gibbs had been chosen, said Norm Wernet, who has known Gibbs since she was 6.

"I’m so happy this community has been able to see the leadership skills and inquiring mind that we have always known she had. She came back here after college and is so committed to the community. I know she will do great."

Age: 33

Residence: 2331 Argyle Dr., Columbus

Web site: [Link]

Occupation: public-relations manager, Girl Scouts Seal of Ohio Council

Education: graduate of Columbus Alternative High School; bachelor's degree, Clark Atlanta University

Experience: school-board member since being appointed in December; volunteered with I Know I Can, YWCA Bright Futures and Columbus Youth Commission

Family: single

Religion: Christian

Why she's running
I am a candidate for Columbus Public Schools because I want to advocate for equal opportunity for all students through policies that support diverse urban students through innovative teaching and learning environments, motivational and supportive strategies for parental involvement, and constructive policy governance of the administration.

Have you run for public office before? When?

This is my first time running for public office.

What are the three biggest issues?

Kindergarten preparation/early learning initiatives; need to increase parental involvement; need to innovate vocational/entrepreneurial training choices for students not going directly to college.

What makes you the best candidate to address those issues?

As a graduate of Columbus Public Schools, youth and family advocate and mentor, I bring a firsthand perspective on issues affecting our students, families and the district. I will use data, community feedback and emerging trends as tools to continually improve the district.

What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to finish building the new schools proposed in our Facilities Master Plan, continue to improve on the state report card, build stronger communication with stakeholders, launch innovative programs with new strategic partnerships, and support policies that move us closer to our goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2012.

Financial issues
Should the Columbus school district continue to hold spending increases to 3 percent a year?

Yes (for the current levy). Under the new levy I do not want a 3 percent cap. I believe we should honor the existing promise and under the new levy I would not support putting a cap, because I feel that there are many unexpected costs like the rise of fuel and gas prices that really put our district in a bind. We can manage our budget efficiently without a cap.

In what areas should the district reduce spending? In what areas should it invest more money?

Due to many factors, the district has been forced to continually tighten its fiscal belt. It's our responsibility to eliminate waste and monitor that accountability. We should invest in curriculum areas covered by the OGT (Ohio Graduation Test), early-learning initiatives, vocational education, innovative programs, and fine and performing arts.

The district might ask taxpayers to approve an operating levy and a bond issue in the next couple of years. Should the district seek these and should they be on the same ballot?

I support the passage of the bond issue and operating levy to continue to provide more students 21st-century learning environments and to restore much needed staffing and services such as the longer school day and transportation that will allow us to better serve our students and families.

Did the district close the right number of schools, too many or too few? Should closed schools be sold or should the district keep those properties for future use?

While it's rarely a good time or option to close schools, I believe the district and the steering committee provided the best solution to a difficult problem. We chose to affect the least amount of students to achieve operational efficiency.

Should nonclassroom operations, such as food services and busing, be privatized?


Climate/competitive issues
How can the district improve student discipline? Would uniforms help, and should they be mandated?

Discipline is a shared responsibility of parents, students, the board and administration. I support developing more innovative partnerships and strategies to effectively provide the additional social, academic and behavioral intervention and supports for our students and their families. I believe that more parents can and will explore the dress code option, but it won't address all the complexities of managing discipline. I believe our Student Congress will provide valuable leadership in this area.

How can the district better compete with charter schools?

Based on the state report card, most Columbus City Schools are outperforming charters. However, I do believe that we can learn something about parent's desire for innovative programs, as well as the need for all employees of the district to refocus on good customer service.

Should the district create more alternative programs and/or charter schools? What kind?

District-sponsored charter schools are in the early phases and can prove to be a viable option for specialized programs and curriculum. I would like to explore gender-based programming and schools that focuses on fine arts.

Do residents trust Columbus City Schools? What should the district do to improve its public image?

Another role of a board is to serve as ambassadors in order to increase public support and resources. We need to develop a stronger voice to tell these successful stories of CPS. While we're building more trust and relationships that will ultimately benefit our children, we still have work to do.

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