Garfield Heights Board of Education
Northeast Ohio, Local
Ashley Thomas is a former teacher, coach, and alumnae and wants to bring her experience and love for Garfield Heights to the Board of Education. As an intervention specialist and band director, she has an important perspective on diverse student populations and will ensure that local education funds are focused on students and their needs.
In 2020 Ashley will begin her work as a Garfield Heights Board of Education Member.Website
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I have always been an advocate for my community and for education. I began working in our district and I absolutely loved the encounters I had daily with the students, parents, teachers and administrators in my district. I was called on to become a committee precinct member and I began to get involved in my city’s government. I began to have conversations with various community members, parents and educators that are near and dear to me. I then began to research the role of being a school board member. The duties and responsibilities of the role aligned directly with my experience and my passions. Becoming a political candidate made me a little nervous in the beginning, but the support that I have gained through this process has completely shifted that energy. I am thankful for all of the time and guidance that has been given to me from candidates and supporters in Cuyahoga County, it has helped me to not make some of the first time mistakes in candidacy.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My great uncle Clarence Bozeman has inspired me to be a leader in everything that I do. My uncle is a retired educator in the Cleveland Municipal School District. Graduating from Alabama State and being the driver for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are two of his greatest accomplishments. My uncle has instilled the values of humility, education and leadership in every adult in my family. The legacy that he continues to build inspires me to be the greatest that I can be to every individual that I encounter. He often talks about how he didn’t know the impact and legacy of Dr. King at the time because he was too young to recognize. Being one of the youngest candidates in the county to run for a seat on my city’s Board of Education, I realize the impact that I will be able to have on the youth, my city and the future. I thank my uncle for trailblazing the way for myself and so many others!
Some of you are military veterans, some small business owners, some professionals, some mothers and grandmothers, some homemakers. How did one of these experiences shape who you are as a person and leader?
I consider myself to be a lifelong educator and learner. My career and life experiences have allowed me to be a leader in many capacities. From managing in retail, to teaching in a classroom to working with underserved families, I am always teaching and learning. I believe that learning is a gift, and everyone’s gift is different than the next person’s. I enjoy problem solving and I love working as a team to meet a common goal. Being a leader is something that has always come natural for me, even in high school, I enjoyed leading teams, clubs and my student body. In college, I was able to be a part of a nationally ranked leadership program that provided me with various opportunities to lead, volunteer and impact communities all across the world. In all of these positions, learning, leading and educating have been the main goal!
The Matriots PAC has a goal to see 50% of all elected offices in Ohio held by women by 2028. What is your vision for Ohio in 2028?
My goal for my community by 2028 is for our community to be unified and working together like a brand new vehicle! In order for this to happen, I believe that women must have a seat at the table, our values and opinions matter and will help take every community to the next level. We are creative, thoughtful, and powerful. I believe in the Matriots PAC vision and I am honored to be a part of the CHANGE!
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
I believe the top two issues facing my community today is the need for better community outreach and communication as well as the need for progressive leaders who are ready to get active and create new, innovative ways to move our city forward together.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
Something new and personal about myself is that I am new mom! My daughter, Sevyn, just turned 1 years old and she has no idea how much she inspires me to be a strong, powerful woman! I know that she watches my every move and it is important to me to instill vales in her that will help make our world a better place. She keeps me active and busy, and we have been enjoying this campaign season together!