Resident grateful for public schools and their advocates

Despite Cleveland Heights’ many challenges, I often feel like I live in a utopia, especially when engaging in public-school activities.  

As a parent, I’ve been blessed to work with a vast array of wonderful people to support our schools and uplift all, advancing the common good.  

Those wonderful people include CH-UH Board of Education incumbents Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini and Dan Heintz, and CH City Council candidate Josie Moore.

Malia, Jodi and Dan all have long-standing involvement and commitment to our district as parents of current students or recent graduates (now at Howard University, Morehouse College, and The College of Wooster). For years, I’ve seen them volunteer and advocate on behalf of all children, not just their own. I’ve worked with all in various capacities. 

Malia served on the Fairfax PTA, PTA Council, and numerous committees, and has provided much support to the Heights High theater department, career tech program and cross-country teams over many years.   

A resident of University Heights, and the only candidate whose child currently attends our schools, Jodi’s smarts and skills were apparent at Lay Facilities Committee and other district meetings, and in PTA and extensive volunteer work. 

A public-school teacher and advocate himself, Dan deeply understands the issues and challenges our community's students and our district’s teachers face.   

I was impressed by the special presentation about school vouchers impacting our district’s finances, and was inspired to watch Jodi, Dan and Malia testify on behalf of our students and taxpayers in Columbus in February 2020.   

I’ve quickly come to value city council candidate Josie Moore’s initiative, thoughtfulness, insight, and skills in organizing and collaborating. A keen observer of our community, she seeks solutions that work for everybody. She joined several of us who returned to Columbus to testify in favor of fair-school-funding legislation in May.  

Over the years, I’ve had questions and concerns for district leadership and have learned to ask, listen, learn and work collaboratively before making assumptions, or reacting in frustration. I’ve learned much from this approach, and am grateful for Malia’s, Jodi’s and Dan’s thoughtfulness, responsiveness and deep knowledge of our district and its issues. They prioritize children’s needs, know and value our teachers, and care about the future strength and viability of our community.  

With a learning curve to serving on a school board, and many challenges and changes in state policy, we need experienced leaders to lead us into a strong and productive future.   

Joan Spoerl

Joan Spoerl has been a proud resident of Cleveland Heights since 2004. She is the mother of a Heights High junior, and a former teacher who currently works to advance literacy in Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:59 AM, 10.01.2021