Candidate profiles: BW, Westerville School Boards


Compiled by Gary Budzak -

Editor’s Note: We asked each candidate to provide a brief biography of yourself (age, professional info, family, years lived in district, etc.); and answer the following questions: Why should you be elected to office? What are the most pressing issues your school district is facing? What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

Here are their responses.



Douglas P. Crowl, Sunbury

Age: 61

Marital Status : Married 29 years to my loving wife DiAnna

Family : Our family is comprised of 5 adult children , all 5 are Big Walnut Graduates, 3 furthered their Education and are graduates of OSU , and 6 grandchildren , 3 of which attend Big Walnut Schools.

Number of years in community : Life long ( fifth generation ) resident of Eastern Delaware County.

Education :1974 Graduate of Big Walnut Local School District

Reason for Candidacy : I believe that currently there is a lack of representation, on the Big Walnut Board of Education, of a large segment of residents and taxpayers living in the School District. There are those of us who do accept our responsibility to provide our tax dollars for the education of the next generation of children. However we believe that this responsibility has a monetary limit and the current Board of Education apparently does not. My election to the Board of Education will bring a much needed conservative approach to the issues facing the Board over the next 4 years and provide representation of a large segment of residents who are presently being ignored.

What are the most pressing issues your school district is facing?

The number one issue facing the District in 2018 will be the lack of trust in the Board of Education by a large portion of taxpayers of the District.

We will know on Nov. the 8th if that portion is a majority of the taxpayers or not. After all how much trust can anyone have in a Board of Education that when the voters said no to a $133.9 million dollar bond issue last year turns around and asks the voters to approve a Bond/PI levy issue which over a 37 year period will cost the taxpayers over $149 million dollars, 13.1 million dollars more and is considered frugal by the Administration.

The number two issue facing the district in 2018 will be any enrollment growth and how the Board approaches that increase.

If the Bond /PI levy Issue fails on Nov. 7th the Board of Education will need to do what they should have done after last Novembers ballot loss of the 1st bond issue, and completely reevaluate their approach to adding capacity to the district, Before presenting any further requests to the taxpayers.

Allison Fagan

Term expires 12/31/17

Background Information

I have been married to J. Barry Fagan, M.D. since 1985. We moved from Columbus to Big Walnut in 1993 to raise our family. Barry and I are proud parents of 2 sons who have graduated from Big Walnut High School, in the classes of 2017 and 2012. We live in Genoa Township, on the east side of Hoover Reservoir.

Education: Licensed Psychologist since 1998, Ohio License #5407

Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1996; M.A., Counseling Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1993; M.A., Educational Policy and Leadership, The Ohio State University, 1985; B.A. with Honors, Wesleyan University, Middletown CT, 1982; Long Beach (Public) High School, Long Beach, NY 1978

I worked as a student affairs professional, focusing on the education of college students outside of the classroom at Ohio State University, Ohio Wesleyan University and Denison University, from 1983 through 1991. After returning to Ohio State for my doctoral degree in psychology, I worked in private practice for 4 years before setting my career aside to focus my attention on raising our 2 sons. In 2008, I returned to the paid workforce as a staff psychologist at Columbus College of Art and Design.

In 2013, I opened my private psychology practice in Westerville. I have experience owning a small business, working in health care, working in education, and being a full-time stay-at-home parent.

Throughout our sons’ experiences in Big Walnut schools, I was actively involved as a volunteer at their schools, in associated PTO’s and in booster groups, and I served the district on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee.

I was encouraged to serve on the Board of Education and ran for office. I have served on the Big Walnut Board of Education since January 2010.

Why should you be elected to office?

I am seeking a third term on the Big Walnut Board of Education because of my commitment to a strong public education for every child and for the health of our community.

Now that my younger son has joined his older brother as a Big Walnut alumnus, this might be an opportune time for me to step aside. However, I believe deeply in the importance of public education for the functioning of our democracy, and I would like to continue to serve our community.

I wholeheartedly support the Big Walnut Schools’ mission – “to inspire and guide each student to his or her maximum potential” — whatever their passion.

In the past 2 terms, I have gained valuable experience as a Board member, Vice President and President of the Board.

I joined the School Board in January 2010, in the wake of a failed operating levy.

I was called upon to make the painful decisions to reduce our staff, reduce programming, and freeze administrator salaries while advocating for the essential need for the Arts and Gym in our curriculum and sports and extra-curricular activities. It was a privilege to work with the other Board members and the then-superintendent and treasurer through the next few years to restore the reduced programs and staffing levels. It was gratifying to see our district develop and, more importantly, work to live our mission statement. In the present, it is exciting to be a part of this current period of community growth and support the evolution of our Big Walnut 2020 Vision.

I have invested in my own education as a School Board member by attending workshops sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association. I have been involved in contract negotiations and I am proud of the quality of staff we are able to recruit and retain for the benefit of our children. I have been an advocate for public education with our state representative and senator, and have tried to educate them on the impact of the current state funding model on Big Walnut taxpayers.

I believe the Big Walnut community will benefit from my nearly 8 years of experience on the Board of Education, and that is why I chose to run for re-election.

I support the bond issue currently before voters and encourage you to vote for it. Also, in addition to asking for you to vote for me, I encourage you to vote for incumbent Brad Schneider, a tireless advocate for our students and our community, and write-in candidate Liana Lee, who is known to this community as a committed volunteer and a regular attendee at Board of Education meetings. She is qualified to have a seat on the Board of Education and is committed to serving our schools.

Liana Lee

Age: 47

I have been dedicated to and involved in the Big Walnut schools and community since our family moved to the district almost 10 years ago. My husband of 20 years, Dave, and I have one son who is in the eighth grade and attends Big Walnut Middle School. I have been a member of the Community Library’s Board of Directors since 2012. I served as the chairperson for the successful 2009 Library Levy campaign and for the 2015 Big Walnut Schools Levy. I also chaired the district’s bond campaign effort last year. I have been a classroom volunteer and held positions on the executive boards of the PTOs at Harrison Street, GRE, and BWIS.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture with a double major in Economics and Communication from The Ohio State University. After graduation, I served as the Director of Public Relations for The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster and then as Chief of the Division of Markets for the Ohio Department of Agriculture overseeing international and domestic trade as well as the Ohio Proud Program.

Why should you be elected to office?

I have kept myself informed of the issues facing our schools by attending almost every meeting of the Big Walnut Board of Education for the past four years. My involvement as a classroom volunteer, serving on The Community Library Board of Directors, and chairing levy and bond campaigns has provided a solid foundation for understanding the issues facing our district, including school financing for operations and construction.

Our son has five more years at Big Walnut and I want to insure that he and every other child at Big Walnut has an opportunity for an education that prepares them for their future; whether that is college, a career, or a trade. I believe I can work well with the other Board members, school administrators, teachers, and the community to implement the Board’s vision of continued excellence for our schools. My background makes me uniquely qualified to serve as member of the Big Walnut Board of Education.

Some have questioned why I am running as a write-in candidate. This past summer I considered running for a seat on the board. I spoke to the three board members who were up for reelection this November and all of them indicated that they were running again, so I didn’t file to be on the ballot. In late August I found out that because of a paperwork error, one of the current school board member’s names will not appear on the ballot. When I learned about this it was too late to file to have my name appear.

I made the decision to run as a write-in candidate because I believe our students, our community, and our school district deserve to have board members who take an active role in supporting our schools. In the four years I have regularly attended Big Walnut Board of Education meetings, I have never seen the third candidate who is on the ballot at one of those meetings.

What are the most pressing issues your district is facing?

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

The single greatest issue currently facing our schools is how to plan for community growth while being fiscally responsible. However, fiscal responsibility doesn’t always mean not spending money. It means being responsible with every dollar that is collected from Big Walnut residents. As our community grows, our schools must have the necessary classroom space to educate every child who moves into this district. We cannot continue to take money from the operating budget to deal with the lack of classroom space. I want to be part of the decision-making process as our district moves forward with initiatives that help solve our enrollment issues.

Brad Schneider

Term expires 12/31/17

Provide a brief biography of yourself (age, professional info, family, years lived in city/village,etc.).

I’m a fully invested customer of our School District. My wife and I have four children who are enrolled at every level of our District from Elementary through the High School. The business I own, The Growth Coach, and the clients I serve in my day job serve this community and are relying upon our students to be their future workforce. As a taxpayer in Sunbury for the past 9 years, I only need to look out my back window to understand the impact and rate of residential growth coming to our area.

Why should you be re-elected to office?

I am worthy of your vote to re-elect me because I have provided governance that has limited our taxpayer operating requests to renewals only. I have voted twice to ask the Community to consider funding bonds to address the growth challenges facing our district for the next 10 years.

I have not taken any of these votes lightly. I have voted as if the dollars spent and requested were mine. I make spending decisions based on whether I believe the need is justified and that our efforts proactive; not reactive in addressing fiscal needs. I have been and will continue to be proactive in governing the spending and/or restricting the use of your tax dollars as if the District were my own business.

What are the most pressing issues your city/village is facing?

Residential growth and state education policy focused on standardized testing are the most pressing issues facing our School District.

Many of our facilities are currently at or near capacity from residential growth. The District doesn’t seek this growth. It also does not have the power to stop it from happening. But, it is required by law to respond to it and serve every child in our District. If we are unable to raise capital development funds through a Bond Issue, our operating funds will be diverted to meet facility needs.

Our state education policy primarily emphasizes standardized testing and promoting students to the next level of education. My first hand professional experience shows me that advanced degrees are not the only path to success and our employers need young people that can get things done; not just pass tests and accumulate degrees.

I have been a strong proponent of the Big Walnut 2020 Vision which focuses on personalized learning for each student. I will continue to promote educational strategies that push our students to apply their knowledge in the context of the classroom and beyond. I want to prepare all students for success, not just those on aspiring towards advanced academic degrees.

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

The rate of residential growth here is not slowing. My experiences in merging and growing organizations have helped me represent our District and collaborate with Township, Village, County, and Development officials to promote responsible growth strategies that unite rather than divide. Additionally, I will advocate for economic development policy that helps spur commercial and industrial growth and mitigate residential density as much as possible to mitigate the burden our residents feel thanks to Ohio’s unconstitutional school funding scheme.

On the academic front, I will continue to promote the implementation of the Big Walnut 2020 vision. I will drive to provide personalized learning experiences that emphasize hands-on application, collaboration, and engaging with technology.

I also am personally committed to limit operating levy requests to renewals of existing millage only.

I believe that this commitment is sustainable with stable economic conditions and commitment of our community to invest in facilities that not only educate our children but also serve our youth organizations, churches, and community groups that regularly use our resources to serve their constituents.


VOTE FOR NO MORE THAN 3 – TERM COMM 01/01/18 incumbents sent


Nancy Nestor-Baker

Provide a brief biography of yourself (age, professional info, family, years lived in city/village, etc.)

I have 18 years of experience on the Westerville Board of Education, serving from 1991-2005 and from 2014-present. I am currently Principal of Nestor-Baker Strategies, LLC, providing expertise and coaching on education issues, community engagement, and partnership development. I formerly served as the Senior Assistant Vice President, Community Engagement, at United Way of Central Ohio; as Director, P-12 Project, The Ohio State University; and as a faculty member in Educational Administration at the University of Cincinnati.

Early in my career, I taught 7th grade English/Language Arts.

A three-time graduate of The Ohio State University, I hold a PhD in Educational Administration; a MA in Gifted Education; and a BS in English Education.

I serve on the boards of Neighborhood Bridges and Uptown Westerville, Inc, am a member of Central College Presbyterian Church, and live in Old Westerville.

My three children graduated from Westerville Schools and my five grandchildren live in the Westerville school district: those who are school age attend Westerville Schools, making my family a three-generation Westerville Schools family.

Why should you be elected to office?

My vision focuses on student success, fiscal restraint, and community pride.

I bring a strong background of board service, extensive experience in education and engagement, and a deep connection to the community. I have served six terms as board president, three terms as vice president, and have been the board’s liaison in curriculum, policy, strategic planning, personnel, governmental relations, facilities and business operations, and communications. My record shows strong support of programs that are academically successful and cost effective, such as: increased student access to STEM courses, the arts, Advanced Placement, and Career-Technical options; and development of innovative programs and curricula across all grade levels, including All-Day Kindergarten, Educational Options for Success (EOS), and the International Baccalaureate Programme. While improving educational opportunities for students, the board also reduced pay-to-participate fees, added staff to meet a variety of student needs, provided for a huge increase in technology access for students and staff, and invested in facility upgrades.

What are the most pressing issues your school district is facing?

• Continuing to expand opportunities for students, while remaining fiscally prudent

• Addressing the social-emotional needs of our students

• Making sure our facilities are meeting the needs of our students and our community

• Increasing connections with our community

What is your plan for addressing the issues you listed?

The district’s Five-Year Forecast and our Strategic Plan under-gird all our efforts and provide parameters for decision making.

• Whether in developing and implementing new curricula, expanding course offerings, or revamping educational delivery and programming, we must work closely with our teachers and administrators. We use internal committees to weigh information, research, and data; drive the work forward; and develop plans for implementations.

• We have established a district-wide Social-emotional Coordinator position, approved a forward-thinking course of study for guidance counselors, and are implementing new approaches to working with children and young people in all our schools.

• A community Facilities Committee is meeting to develop recommendations regarding our facilities. Community and staff members will be asked to contribute their thoughts and reactions prior to board decisions.

• We continue to increase our involvement with our community, in ways that add value to our students’ educational experience and provide benefits to our community. We are implementing new, experiential partnerships between our schools and area businesses and examining additional opportunities and ways to connect with families, including better use of technology.


Compiled by Gary Budzak