Four candidates compete for three Kent City school board positions

Shamira Fowler

Four candidates will be running for three positions on the Kent City school board in Tuesday’s election. Brian Boykin is running for his fifth term, and Ryan Ferrara is running for his second term. Marlene Dorsey and Michael Finley will be first-time Kent City school board members if elected.

School board responsibilities consist of making decisions on a wide range of issues, such as hiring and evaluating a superintendent, setting policy, goal-setting and long-range planning, adopting curriculum, establishing budget and engaging parents. The position is unpaid, and the term of office is four years.

Brian Boykin

Kent City school board candidate

Brian Boykin is an assistant director at the Portage County Department of Job and Family Services. He is an incumbent seeking his fifth term on the board.

“I’ve enjoyed serving on the board of education, and it’s a great opportunity for me to give back to the community,” he said.

Why he ran

“I believe we’ve assembled a great administration,” Boykin said. “We’ve done some things to help with some cost saving measures, and I just want to continue to build on some of the successes we’ve had over the past several years; I just want to continue the positive direction our district is going.”

Why you should vote for him

“Hopefully they (the voters) view me as someone who’s provided for the district,” he said. “I’m a parent with two children in the district, and I think we’ve really done some good things, and I think that we can continue to do better in academic standards and cost measures. I would hope they would continue to support me in this position.”

Marlene Dorsey

Kent City school board candidate

Marlene Dorsey has a doctorate in educational administration, a Master of Arts in French, and a Bachelor of Arts in French, Spanish and Secondary Education. She is an administrator in Kent State’s department of justice studies. Dorsey has also been an educator for more than 40 years and is the co-chair of Kent City Schools Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Why she ran

“As an educator I’ve worn many hats: an administrator, teacher, advisor, mentor, parent, and all with the goal of helping students learn and achieve their full potential, so the school board offers me an opportunity to continue my life’s work on behalf of student learning and achievement in cooperation with those who share those same goals, like parents, have motivated me to become a candidate,” Dorsey said.

Why you should vote for her

“I’m the parent of Roosevelt High School graduates so I bring the perspective of a parent,” she said. “I understand the importance of education, the importance of communicating with teachers and administrators and connecting with the community as well, so I am a parent. That’s what I really want to emphasize: student learning and achievement.”

Ryan Ferrara

Kent City school board candidate

Ryan Ferrara has a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry. He works as a sales manager at Eastman Chemical Company. Ferrara is an incumbent seeking his second term on the board.

Why he ran

“I have enjoyed learning more about the programs that we offer and helping set the table for kids today so they’ll have the skills they need to be successful and make the community better in the future,” Ferrara said.

Why you should vote for him

“I have kids in the school district, so I feel that I have a good pulse of what’s going,” he said. “I think I’m not afraid to ask questions and to challenge some of the beliefs that are out there, and I think I communicate with people well. I don’t have a particular agenda to push other than I want to see the district improve.”

Michael Finley

Kent City school board candidate

Michael Finley has Bachelor of Science and is president and owner of Hall-Green Insurance Agency. He is a member of the Kent City Schools Strategic Planning Steering Committee and a coach.

Why he ran

“I decided to run for school board because knowing that John Flynn, a long time board member, is stepping down, and I knew there would be a vacancy, and I thought it would be an opportunity to get involved in a very successful school district and do my best to help it maintain its reputation of excellence,” Finley said.

Why you should vote for him

“I’m a business man in town, been around for 17 years, I’ve been in the system, and I look at things a little differently than someone who is entrenched in the business of education,” he said. “I think it’s healthy to have someone from the outside looking in who would just bring a different perspective. I have a senior in high school, a sophomore in high school and a fourth-grader. So yes, I have some skin in the game.”

Contact public affairs reporter Shamira Fowler at [email protected]