Meet the candidates: Mason County Board of Education


Mason County Board of Education

Staff Report



Jared Billings


Ashley (Thomas) Cossin


Barry Sharp


Dale Shobe


David Lee Siders


Mikey Whalen


Jeff Wittman


POINT PLEASANT — The Point Pleasant Register is providing its readers with an opportunity to “Meet the Candidates” running in contested, local races which will be decided on Tuesday, May 8.

Today, the Register is highlighting candidates running for Mason County Board of Education. Listed in alphabetical order, are candidates running for the three, open seats for four-year terms beginning July 1. Each candidate was asked to provide background material and answer the question “Why did you decide to run for this office?”

Jared Billings

Background:

“I’m Jared Billings and am seeking re-election to represent you as a member of the Mason County Board of Education. My wife Sarah (Kinnard) Billings and I have two children, Makayla (7) and Jace (4), who attend Point Pleasant Primary School. We reside in Gallipolis Ferry and attend, and are members of, the Henderson Church of Christ. I‘m a 2004 graduate of Point Pleasant High School; 2006 graduate of Marshall University with an Associate Degree in Business Management; and 2011-graduate of the University of Rio Grande, with an Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy. I’m employed at Cabell Huntington Hospital and am also a working PRN at Pleasant Valley Hospital.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I am seeking a second term because I want to continue to work diligently for children and to see that they are obtaining the best education possible. I realize the education process begins at home as each of us try to instill the proper values for our children as they grow in the fast pace world we live in. I support those in the teaching profession and service personnel who work hard every day to help educate our children. Educating our precious children is an exciting process that will lead to a better future for each of them.

I will continue to look fairly at all issues and work together with all parties to make sure the right decisions are made for children. I understand we must give the citizens of this county a voice and an opportunity to have their voices heard. I will continue to work to see that we are fiscally conservative in our use of funds and prioritize and make sure that each dollar is spent efficiently. I feel the best way to succeed as a school board is to practice collaboration and respect.

I now ask for your vote and support on Election Day, Tuesday, May 8.”

Ashley (Thomas) Cossin

Background:

“My name is Ashley (Thomas) Cossin, and I am the daughter of Greg and Tracey Thomas. My husband Will, our daughters Reghan and Hadleigh, and myself live in the Flatrock area where I was born and raised. I work as a surgical technologist in the OR at PVH. Our daughters attend Roosevelt Elementary where I am serving my third year as PTO president and sit on the LSIC committee. I have served on several community-minded and charity committees over the past several years, and I also coach youth sports. I’m proud to be endorsed by the Mason County Service Personnel Association.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I’m running for a seat on the Mason County BOE because I have a true passion for the youth of Mason County. I believe that our teachers, service personnel, students, parents, and taxpayers ALL deserve to have solid representation, and I would be honored to be that voice. I am an honest person who stands up for what I believe is right, whether or not that finds me on the popular side of things, and I will proudly carry that quality into office with me if elected.

This is not a position that I will take lightly. I want to work toward Mason County Schools turning the corner to become a front runner and model of education. I want to make Mason County Schools something we can all be proud of. I believe that a quality education system provides invaluable resources that will cause a trickle down of successes throughout our county and state for our children when it comes to being successful students and future adults that are contributing members of society. Let’s focus on what is being done right and vow to work together to improve upon things that aren’t.

Mason County, I am ready to devote myself to serving you.”

Barry Sharp

Background:

“My name is Barry Sharp and I am seeking a seat on the Mason County Board of Education. I am 40 years old and am a lifelong resident of Mason County. I am married to Chrissy and have been for 12 years. We have two daughters, Kallie (10) and Klaire (7) who both attend Leon Elementary. This is the same elementary school that my wife and I both attended. I am a 1996 graduate of Point Pleasant High School. I am employed by the United States Postal Service and have been for 15 years as a Rural Carrier.

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“The reason I decided to run is simple. It is time to put our kids first. This is not a time for politics. We need to put politics aside and focus on what’s important, giving our kids a first class education and meeting the needs of each student. We need to be able to give our kids an education that will set them up for life after school. We also need to be able to provide an education system that will attract new businesses and new families to Mason County and not lose them to other areas. I bring hard work, teamwork, and common sense to see that our students receive the best education.

It takes a team of professionals, who are employed now, to make this a reality. I would love to have the opportunity to partner with our teachers, service personnel and staff to give our kids that first class education they deserve. This is and will never be about me. This is about our kids and employees and helping them succeed. I’m just a dad who wants to make a difference for each and every student in our county. Please vote Barry on May 8.”

Dale Shobe

Background:

“I have been married to my wife, Nina, for 33 years. We have two daughters, Kayla and Brianna, and one grandson, Colton. I am a lifelong resident of Mason County, a 1981 graduate of PPHS, and I attend the Church of Christ. I have served 12 years on the School Board, which has allowed me hundreds of hours of school board training. I am endorsed by both the Mason County Education Association and the Mason County Service Personnel. I was a member of the Carpenters Local 1159. I have also coached the youth in our county for over 30 years.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I chose to run again because I think my experience, leadership, and training is a necessary asset for our School System. I have a good working relationship with the Superintendent, board members, and employees of our county. I represent Mason County with the RESA 2 and the Mountain State Educational Association Co-op. During my 12 years in office, I have served 4 years as President and 4 years as Vice President. Those 8 years have allowed me over 60 additional hours of specialized training with the WV School Board Association on Presidential Leadership, consisting of School Laws, Board Leadership, and School System Guidance. I have worked with, and written the contracts for, 4 superintendents in the last 12 years. I have assisted in writing 2 school levies, and the planning and presenting of several School Board Authority Needs projects. All of which have helped bring millions of dollars in funding to our county. I think this experience, along with my training, is irreplaceable to our school system. I have strived to be honest, hard working, and dedicated to the people of Mason County. I would like the opportunity to continue serving the children, employees, and citizens of our County.”

David Lee Siders

Background:

David Lee Siders is born and raised in Mason County. He graduated from Point Pleasant High School in 1977 and soon after joined the family business, Siders Jewelers. He received his Gemologist diploma from the Geological Institute of America in 1994. “My wife and I currently own and operate Siders Jewelers in Point Pleasant.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I decided to run for Mason County School Board because I love our community and deeply care about our young people’s education. I believe schools are the most important asset for any community. I would work well with other members as I have met and worked with thousands of different people over the last 40 years. I am non-partisan, honest and will put careful thought in any decisions. I would not forget I will be representing the people of Mason County. I would visit a school often to listen to the teachers, service personnel and students, not to criticize but to be visible, learn and stay in touch.

Drugs are ruining our young people’s lives today. There are some good programs in place. But I feel we can never be complacent. The schools are the place to learn the dangers and deadly consequences of drugs.”

Mikey Whalen

Background:

“I’m a veteran with over 50 years of education as a teacher, principal, vice principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor at Marshall. I received my masters degree from Marshall; attended WVU for three years, receiving degrees in Social Studies and English. While in the service, I attended William and Mary College, earning 13 hours. As Mason County Schools Superintendent, I was responsible for dual credit classes for the county’s high schools and college credit. I worked at Wahama High School where my duties were to teach the educators how to be proficient in their job. For 14 years I taught Political Science and History at the MOVC.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I decided to run for a seat with the school board because I believe that a school board must be responsive to students, parents, staff and encourage an open dialogue. The board must take input from all groups and weigh all the facts before making a decision. My efforts as a board member would center on serving all the children in the community, no one child is more important than another. We are a diverse community and have to embrace that. Our schools are here to serve the educational needs of all the children of Mason County without ever consolidating. A board member is a trustee of the community that elects him or her, that trustee must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the community; that includes all district staff. Anyone who comes in front of the board has the right to be heard, not just to speak. A school board member must build public understanding, participation, and support.”

Jeff Wittman

Background:

“Hello. My name is Jeff Wittman and I am running for one of the seats available on the Mason County Board of Education. While not native to Point Pleasant, I have worked in and around the area for the last 42 years. I have been married to my wife, Patty, for 39 years, have one daughter who graduated from Point Pleasant High School, and two grandsons who attend school in Gallia County. I am a disabled veteran, an Elder in my church, and most importantly of all, a teacher and a mentor to hundreds of students throughout the years.”

Why did you decide to run for this office?

“I decided to run for the Board of Education because I wanted to have a voice in the education of Mason County students while at the same time becoming a voice for Mason County teachers and service personnel. I am running for the Board because I understand that the policies put in place today will affect a whole generation of school children in Mason County and I want to have a part in making those decisions. My time as a teacher may be over, but my time in service to my county and to my students may just be beginning.”

https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_3.18-PPR-Graphic-31.jpg

Jared Billings
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Jared-pic-2.jpgJared Billings

Ashley (Thomas) Cossin
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Ashley-2.jpgAshley (Thomas) Cossin

Barry Sharp
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Barry-Sharp-2.jpegBarry Sharp

Dale Shobe
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Dale-2.jpgDale Shobe

David Lee Siders
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Siders-2.jpgDavid Lee Siders

Mikey Whalen
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Whalen-2.jpgMikey Whalen

Jeff Wittman
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_5.1-Whittman-1-2.jpgJeff Wittman

https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/04/web1_3.18-PPR-Graphic2-2.jpg
Mason County Board of Education

Staff Report

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU