The Jamestown Public Schools' Board of Education has three seats up for election this year, each for a three-year term. There are three candidates on the ballot. Below is more information on each candidate.
Paul Abbott, an incumbent, is seeking his third term on the Board of Education. Abbott and his wife, Jennifer, are JHS alumni. They currently have one child attending JPS and one child who is a JHS graduate. Abbott attended Jamestown Community College and received his associates degree in Humanities. He attended the New York State Zone 13 Police Academy and, in 2003, Abbott graduated from F.B.I National Academy taking Law Enforcement Administration and Supervision courses through the University of Virginia. Abbott is currently employed by the Jamestown Police Department as an Investigative Commander.
For many years, Abbott has coached youth sports, primarily soccer, including the Jamestown Area Youth Soccer (JAYS), Frewsburg Youth Soccer, SC United, and Jamestown High School, as well as softball for the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club. Abbott was a member of the Board of Directors for the JAYS for 10 years and served as their vice president.
"All students should be afforded the opportunity to reach their maximum potential and achieve all that they can during their time in our schools. It is the responsibility of the board to help facilitate this process. Although we are not, of course, involved in any of the day-to-day operations of the district, I think the board sets a tone for what we feel is important to our students and their families. I have gone to school, lived, worked and raised a family in our district. I feel that I have a good grasp on what is important to the people of our district. What I enjoy the most about our board is that even though we may on occasion disagree about particular philosophies, approaches, etc., I know that everyone, like me, is genuinely interested in seeing to it that we are all doing the best we can for our students, given the resources we have. My law enforcement experience has made me a realist about many of the challenges our students and our district face. I have a great deal of experience in the day-to-day operations of a large organization as well as in crisis management. As an administrator, I understand how to work within the confines of a budget."
Shelly Leathers, an incumbent, is seeking her first full term on the Board of Education after being appointed to fill Timothy Thomas' vacancy. Leathers and her husband, Dave, are JHS alumni. Their two children are JHS graduates.
Leathers attended the University of Rhode Island where she received a bachelor's degree in accounting. She also earned a Business Education Certification from Mercyhurst College and a master's degree in education from the University at Buffalo. Leathers is currently employed at L.J. Stein & Company as an accountant.
Leathers has been highly involved in many activities over the past seven years while her children attended JHS including: PTA, president of Girls Soccer Boosters, JHS musical and after graduation parties. Leathers is a member of Saint James Church and a former finance committee member. She also enjoys participating in events to help raise funds for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Organization including a three-day, 60-mile walk in Cleveland raising over $5,000.
"It's important for me to run for the JPS Board of Education because I believe in our community and the education of our youth. A successful community comes from a successful school district, and education empowers young people to be successful in any way they see possible. My experience in financial accounting and education gives me knowledge in two extremely important areas. The ability of our district to provide the most sound educational experience possible, in the most financially responsible way."
Tom Pope, an incumbent, is seeking his sixth term on the Board of Education. Pope and his wife, Tamsin, have one child currently attending JPS and two children who are JHS graduates. Pope graduated from Plainedge High School in North Massapequa (Long Island) in June 1981. He graduated from Cornell University in May 1985 with a bachelor's degree in a dual major of materials science and electrical engineering. Pope is currently employed by CSM Bakery Products as a business analyst.
"I think it is important for community members to take an active role in our school district. Having had two children graduate from JHS and a third still attending JHS, I have a vested interest in the Jamestown Public Schools being the best that they can be. In addition, my educational background and business experience bring an important perspective to the Board of Education. The district is best served by a diverse set of viewpoints on the board, and I believe that I bring a different perspective than most. As a non-JHS graduate, I also bring a perspective from outside the Jamestown community."
Jamestown Public Schools' budget vote and school board elections will be held Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m. Voters can cast their ballots at Jefferson Middle School, Lincoln Elementary School and Washington Middle School. Registered voters can vote only at their designated polling site, which is based on their address. If you are unsure of your polling site, please call the JPS district clerk at 483-4420 for clarification.