Columbus Board of Education
Christina Vera is an energetic, results-driven servant leader who fights for equity while creating a culture of trust and fosters leadership in others. For the past twelve years, Christina has been working in the non-profit sector orchestrating enrichment programs, tutoring services, and life skill development opportunities for youth. Christina has worked alongside educators from several school districts including Columbus City Schools to provide strategic planning support, curriculum development, career exploration, high school, and workforce readiness programs. Christina, a co-founder of a non-profit organization called Femergy®, strives to equip girls and women with the necessary tools to navigate and soar through gender, economic, and social barriers so that they can grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Christina’s personal, academic, and professional experiences make her well-equipped to be successful on Columbus City School Board.Volunteer with Christina!
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
Hello I am Christina Vera candidate for Columbus City School Board. As a life long resident of Columbus, a Brookhaven High School graduate, and the mother of CCS students, I have seen and understand the need for effective change in our district. As an entrepreneur I have spent 13 years supporting and leading in the non-profit sector serving youth and families. I have had the honor and privilege of co-founding a non-profit organization called Femergy®. Femergy® has an intentional focus on supporting and developing girls and entry level women professionals with the tools they need to navigate and soar through gender, economic, and social barriers so that they can grow up healthy, educated, and independent. I serve as an Advisory Council Member at Otterbein University through the Women’s Leadership Network. Fighting for equity for girls and women is truly at my core. I am an alumni of Project Diversity Cycle 20, the Latina Mentoring Academy Cycle 1, LEAD Ohio Program, Ready to Run, and John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. My personal, academic, and professional experiences have prepared me to be an effective leader, listener, and advocate for students and all stakeholders in my district. With my real world understanding of the unique needs and innovative approaches required to rebuild a large urban school district, especially within Ohio and Columbus, collectively I am ready to bring my passion and skills to the Columbus City School Board. I will encourage educators and community members to work together in collaboration to drive the success of our students and schools. Together, we can create the change our students need and deserve.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top two issues your community faces today and how do you plan to address them?
We have seen an increase of crime and violence here in Columbus and in many of those cases we are seeing youth directly involved. I believe we can start to rebuild our community by creating equity for all 46,000 + students in our district regardless of a child’s zip code. One of the many ways we can achieve this is by making sure all schools have additional wrap-around services. Building a true sense of community at each school site will further prepare our students for not only academic/ real world success, but making them feel valued and important so they can also protect and build up our city. One of the many ways we can achieve the implementation of these wrap-around services is by expanding upon our partnerships with local universities and corporations. Leaning on them and other elected officials to pour into and rally around change for Columbus City Schools. Our facilities are also a huge barrier for our district and city. We have 109 school buildings and a significant amount of our schools do not have air conditioning and even lack adequate heating. Not to mention overcrowding, mold, issues with rodents etc. No student , teacher , staff member, volunteer, family should have to learn in those conditions. Facility conditions can impact teacher recruitment, retainment, and commitment. Not being able to recruit and retain top teaching talent directly impacts the quality of education our students receive. Facilities impact student engagement, behavior, and knowledge retention. All students , teachers, and staff deserve exceptional facilities and the process to fix our buildings is taking entirely too long. I want to do my part in the short -term strategic planning, that includes finding additional funding sources like state aid, grants, capital campaigning projects, etc., to quickly help identify and prioritize our building infrastructure needs. Our students deserve more and together, I believe we can create that change.
What stands out in our values as most important to you and your experience (or expected experience) in public office? Our values are:
∙ Economic empowerment
∙ Equity and independence
∙ Dominion over our bodies
∙ Access to education
∙ Safe communities in which to live and raise our families
The following values of the Matriots, economic empowerment, equity and independence, dominion over our bodies, access to education, and safe communities in which to live and raise our families is directly in alignment with my core values. We have to fight and rally around putting people before politics. Do the right thing, lead with integrity, truly listening and serving others without expecting anything in return. This is how I chose to live my life and how I will lead in public office. It’s imperative that we elect individuals who share our collective vision, to ensure the rights of others are upheld and there is equity in opportunities and access to those opportunities. However, this is not something I can do alone, no elected official can do it alone. We need the consistent and ongoing support of our community members to create sustainable and equitable change.
What does a Matriots PAC endorsement mean to you and your campaign?
This endorsement was special to me for many different reasons. I think about all of the women + allies that came before me that fought to make opportunities like running for office a reality for me and other women. It’s an endorsement and a sisterhood that I will forever believe in, uphold, and be ready to support the next woman candidate. This Hive of supporters is also a reminder of change and how powerful we are together. We still have a lot of work to do to increase female representation across all sectors , close pay gap, and break gender norms. However, with organized partners like the Matriots PAC I know the future is female!