Surrounded by about 15 people holding signs of support, Lisa Sobecki yesterday announced her candidacy for the Toledo Board of Education, calling herself a "mom on a mission."
The 39-year-old mother of two said as a parent, she has a vested interest in Toledo Public Schools and can appeal to others within the district.
"I'm able to reach out to them to have a clear understanding of what some of our roles are - like opening book bags, communicating with administration, and communicating with teachers," said Ms. Sobecki, a Point Place resident. "We need to communicate with our parents in order to communicate with our kids."
Chris Varwig, mother of a Byrnedale Junior High student, strongly supports Ms. Sobecki's mission.
"I truly believe in it," the South Toledo woman said. "She's going to make a difference and bring a parent perspective to the district and bring about a positive change."
Standing in front of Woodward High School on Streicher Street, which has been plagued by low test scores and low attendance, Ms. Sobecki reassured supporters she is ready to face the obstacles involved in turning the school around.
"I'm willing to work," she said. "We've got to get moving."
Ms. Sobecki has become one of the district's most visible volunteers in recent years, holding positions as president of the Ottawa River Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization, chairman of the district's Parent Congress, a member of Point Place Educational Task Force, and a representative for the Lucas County Family Council.
Ms. Sobecki is endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party and the Toledo Federation of Teachers.
Improving schools within the 29,000-student school system is essential, but Ms. Sobecki said it can only be accomplished if egos and personal agendas are set aside.
Joe McNamara, a member of Toledo City Council, was among the supporters holding red signs touting Ms. Sobecki for a position on the board. He said she is a "new, fresh start."
"There's been a lot of acrimony among the board," he said, adding that Ms. Sobecki can move the board in a new direction.
Ms. Sobecki said the members of the Toledo Board of Education need to eliminate the division that exists among them and focus on what's best for the students within the district.
"I think we forgot about them," she said.
Ms. Sobecki said she will continually ask herself how her decisions as a board member will impact children's lives at school and at home.
"I'll fight for them every day," she said.
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