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Jason Simmons

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Jason Simmons: TeamMember

Q & A

- All candidates received the same questions.
- Answers were copied directly from each candidate's response.

Jason Simmons: FAQ

What are your reasons for seeking a position on the Board?

I am running for a seat on the Forest Hills School District Board of Education because I am invested and engaged in our community and public education. My son is a fifth grader in the district and Anderson Township is our home. I am a career educator, having been a faculty

member at the University of Cincinnati since 2014.

Following the 2021 school board election, I felt a need to “do something.” Politics have no place on our school board. Governance and policy decisions should not be made based on anecdotes, stories, or personal biases. My family and I value community. We value collaboration. We value belonging. Forest Hills School District is a public school district – all students are welcome. My

campaign has been about communicating these values and why they are important for the school board.

Our teachers, staff members, and most importantly, our students must be supported. Schools are a place where children go to learn, to grow, to develop their critical thinking skills, to explore their passions, to socialize and meet new friends, to feels safe, and to be kids. Our teachers are caretakers of our community’s youth and should be trusted in that role. As a member of the Forest Hills Board of Education, I vow to collaborate with our teachers, administrators, students, and community members to support our district as best I can. I vow to be an advocate for fair school funding at the state level and be a responsible steward of the community’s tax dollars. Finally, I will never support a policy that serves to exclude or marginalize any member of our school district.

What specific strengths would you bring to the board table?

I am a career educator. I earned my PhD in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development with a concentration in Sport Administration from the University of Louisville in

2011. In 2014, my family and I moved to Cincinnati where I have been on the faculty in the Sport Administration program ever since. As an educator, I have experience teaching students

with a variety of learning styles and understand the importance of accommodating different learning styles in the classroom. Likewise, I’m also well-versed in developing and assessing

student learning outcomes.

Education is my passion, both in terms of preparing the next generation of leaders and continuing my own education. My scholarship activity focuses on sport consumer behavior. As a researcher, I understand the importance of data-based decision-making. While I will never profess to being an expert on all matters related to the school district, I am committed to learning, researching, and collaborating to make educated decisions in the best interests of our students, teachers, and community.

I’m also an administrator. For the past five years, I’ve served as program coordinator for the sport administration program, and I am in the second year of my appointment as a college representative on faculty senate. In these roles, I have learned the importance of communication in consensus building and conflict resolution and served as an advocate and representative for my peers and team members in discussions/decision-making with upper administration and faculty leadership.

In what school or community activities have you been involved?

My son is the most important thing in my life. I strive to be a positive role model for him and set an example for how to help better your community. That’s a big part of why I’m running for school board. Beyond this campaign however, I have been very involved in our local community since moving to Cincinnati. I’ve coached my son and his buddies since they were three years old in soccer, basketball, baseball, and flag football. Few things are more rewarding than introducing sport to children and teaching them the life lessons sport can provide. Lessons such as working hard to achieve goals, learning how to cope with defeat, personal sacrifice for the betterment of the team, and social development with peers from various backgrounds.

I also volunteer in our schools. Whether that be working the prize tables during the school carnival, supervising field day, or reading to kids in the classroom; I enjoy being a part of extracurricular activities in our district. Earlier this year, our community also passed a much-

needed levy. My son and I canvassed and distributed literature in multiple Anderson

neighborhoods, I wrote postcards encouraging community members to vote in favor of the school levy, and I worked the polls on Election Day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that we are animal lovers. Our son, in particular, loves dogs and has a desire to help animals in need. We’ve fostered many dogs with Cincinnati Animal Care, and he raised over $800 for the shelter for his tenth birthday. We have our own den of furry friends, having rescued three dogs ourselves. Our house is a disaster in the most amazing way possible.

What are 2 strengths of which our district can be proud? Why do you see these as strengths?

While standardized tests have their flaws, data from these tests show, that from an academic perspective, students in FHSD are among the top performers across all school districts in SWOhio. Both Turpin and Anderson high schools rank in the Top 40 out of more than 1,000 high school in the state according to the 2023-24 U.S. News and World Report Best High School rankings. These data points are a testament to our students, our teachers, and the parents/guardians in our community that prioritize education.

What makes these performance markers even more impressive is that FHSD spends less per pupil than both the state and county average. Under the stewardship of our treasurer, Alana

Cropper, FHSD was recognized with the Auditor of State Award earlier this year following a clean audit report of the district’s financial practices. Despite the financial challenges facing

public school districts statewide due to an outdated state funding model, FHSD has demonstrated fiscal responsibility in recent years, rewarding the community’s support for school levies.

What do you see as the major issue facing our school district?

The biggest issue facing our district in the politicization of public education. Identity politics have no place in our schools, and the divisiveness sewed by our existing school board has fractured our community. The board must refocus its priorities on things that make a difference in our schools. Things like school funding, continuing education, programming, and facility improvements. Our children are not political pawns, and they did not ask to take part in the culture wars poisoning our district. Elected members of the board of education have a responsibility to act in good faith in governance and policymaking decisions on behalf of those they represent. And most importantly, they have a responsibility to our children – to ensure our schools have the resources needed to educate, develop, and prepare our community’s youth for life after high school.

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