BY JACKIE PRESTOY
SC Staff Writer
As November approaches, Election Day, on the fifth will rear its head once again.
The East Stroudsburg School District will elect four new members to serve on the school board.
Seven candidates—two of whom are incumbents—will run for the four open spots on the school board.
One of the six candidates is Ryan Stevens—a current East Stroudsburg University Senior.
He is a Political Science major, with a minor in German and Economics.
At a mere 21 years of age, Stevens believes he can bring a fresh take to the board, and can offer a realistic point of view on issues.
He attended East Stroudsburg High School south just three years ago, and attended East Stroudsburg School District schools for eleven years.
As the conversation on the upcoming election began, Stevens sat in the Political Science and History department office—located on the fourth floor of ESU’s Stroud Hall.
Why are you running for school board?
About a year ago, when I first heard that there were four seats open, I thought back to my time in high school, and how I felt about the educational experience.
I thought about how the quality of test scores has been decreasing, and how I want to improve the quality of education students receive.
We need to better prepare students for the real world—whether that is college, trade school, or straight into working.
Another big problem our community deals with is the increasing property taxes.
So, what we need to do is figure out a way to reduce taxes yet still improve education, and I’d like to help make that happen.
What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the school board?
Something I really want to accomplish is to open up the line of communication between the faculty and school board.
If you do not get elected, will you still be a part of the school board meetings or will you plan to run for the next election?
If not elected, I still plan to attend meetings because it’s important to attend town supervisor meetings, and school board meetings to know what’s going on in your community.
Over the summer I began to regularly observe and get more involved in the meetings and noticed the benefit of attendance first hand.
At this time, I’m not one hundred percent sure if I’ll pursue the position again if I don’t get elected; this is due to the fact that four years is a good amount of time away, and I’m not sure where exactly I’ll be with my life and my career.
Have you always had an interest in politics, and more specifically local politics?
No, I actually have not always had an interest in politics, but I always had an interest in government.
When I voted in the 2012 election, I voted myself in for committeeman—actually as sort of a joke— and didn’t expect anything to come of it.
Surprisingly, I ended up winning the position. It was with the advice of two political science professors—Dr. Eliasson and Dr. McGlynn— that I decided to accept the position.
That’s where I discovered the school board, and gained an interest in getting further involved in my community.
At the age 21, you’re significantly younger than the average school board member. If elected, how do you think your age will affect your stance on issues?
Since I only graduated three years ago, my perspective is closely related to the students’ perspectives.
I’ll be able to improve and refine the quality of their education, because I still have a rather clear recollection of the curriculum; and the ups and downs of East Stroudsburg School District’s educational system.
I also will be bringing an uncommon view to the school board, due to the fact that most of the other members are older and tend to be businessmen. My perspective is a different one.
Do you think your young age may affect your chances of getting elected in some way?
I believe it may actually help my chances of getting elected.
A lot of voters in the district expressed their faith in having a different sort of school board member.
They told me it’s time for a fresher perspective—which is exactly what I’ll be bringing.
On the other hand though, it must be mentioned that of course there are some community members who have negative opinions on my age—due to my lack of experience.
Overall though, I believe my age may give me an edge in the election, and will subsequently help my chances of being a member of the school board.
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