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Published: Thursday, 8/11/2011

3 to compete for Toledo school board seats

2 last-minute candidates file petitions to join incumbent Sobecki

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Adams Adams
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Cecelia Adams, a former administrator for Toledo Public Schools, and Ashley Traynum, a graduate student at the University of Toledo, filed signatures Wednesday to run for the Toledo Board of Education.

The two will join board vice-president and incumbent Lisa Sobecki in pursuing two seats on the board. Incumbent Jack Ford is not seeking re-election.

Ms. Adams' mother, retired chiropractor Dr. Samantha Adams, was the first African-American woman elected to the school board.

Ms. Adams, who holds a PhD in education administration, came forward late this week after few other candidates had emerged, and with the deadline fast approaching.

Her petition campaign was coordinated by the Lucas County Democratic Party.

Ron Rothenbuhler, Lucas County Democratic Party chairman, said he has high hopes for Ms. Adams.

"She will be a good candidate even if it was a last-minute call," Mr. Rothenbuhler said.

Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to file petitions with the Lucas County Board of Elections to run for seats on school boards, township boards of trustees, and village councils.

Traynum Traynum
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Mr. Ford, a former Toledo mayor who nearly died recently because of kidney and respiratory complications, has decided not to seek re-election.

School board candidates were required to file at least 300 signatures of registered voters living in the school district.

A native of Toledo and graduate of Bowsher High School, Ms. Adams, 60, received her graduate degrees in education from the University of Toledo and a bachelor's degree from the former Mary Manse College. She lives off Heath erdowns Boulevard.

A former middle-school science teacher, she also served in the administration and retired in 2008 after 35 years with the school district. Her administrative positions included Start High School district improvement leader and assistant superintendent for middle schools.

In 2000, she put her name in for consideration during a search for a superintendent.

Her mother was elected to the Toledo Board of Education in 1977 and was the board's president from 1979 to 1981.

Sobecki Sobecki
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"This is a critical time for the school district. I feel that I can make a difference," Ms. Adams said. "I think that the district is in a period of transition. It's an important time for the community to become more confident in the fact that the schools can be successful and our students can achieve to the greatest of their ability."

She said one of her interests will be in helping to implement the transition back to K-8 elementary schools and 9-12 high schools -- the arrangement in place when she started working for the district.

Ms. Traynum, 29, a Democrat who lives on Independence Road, said she is a graduate student in public administration at the University of Toledo. She graduated from Notre Dame Academy and Howard University in Washington.

"I think that leadership starts at the top and trickles down. I want to be part of the leadership team to advance the district," Ms. Traynum said.

Ms. Traynum had taken a petition out awhile ago and decided not to file to run, but said she changed her mind at the last minute after talking to family and friends who encouraged her to pursue a seat.

She works as communications and development coordinator for the Sisters of St. Francis in Sylvania and previously has worked in television journalism as an on-air reporter and assignment editor.

Ms. Sobecki, a Point Place resident and Navy veteran, was first elected to the school board four years ago and has been the board's vice president since July, 2009.

She and her husband are parents of two Toledo Public Schools students, and she was a prominent school volunteer before she took office.

Contract Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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