Milford Board of Education
Southwest Ohio, Local
Emily Chesnut has served on the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities in addition to serving on the Family Advisory Council for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Cincinnati Zoo. Emily understands the importance of investing her time and energy, as a female leader, into making her community better and making her voice heard. As a working mother of four children, the success of Milford Schools has become her priority. If elected, Emily will leverage her experience to bring the same dedication she has shown to serving her community to serving the Milford Board of Education.
In 2020 Emily will begin her work as a Milford Board of Education Member.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
I’ve always been a regular voter, but it wasn’t until the 2016 election that I realized just being a voter isn’t enough. Our community needs engagement at all levels from all types of people, including me. There are lots of reasons why “waiting until the right time” would make sense, but really that time is always “later”. Since having kids, and especially since my daughter was born with special needs and medical issues in 2011, I’ve felt called to advocating and improving the path of those who go after me. I recognize that my path, especially as it relates to special needs, accessing service and education, has been improved greatly by those who walk ahead of me, it’s now my turn to improve the path for those who come behind me. Until now that advocacy has been on local committees and boards, but never an elected position. When I looked at the elected positions in my community, I felt called to the School Board because schools are the heart of our community, and because I have 12+ more years with my children in the schools, what better voice can there be than a parent.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
I’m not sure it was one person, but rather all the women in my life who’ve taught me along the way. Of course, starting with my mom and my sisters. When I was little, in addition to working full time I always remember my mom being on boards and volunteering in the community, I assumed that is what every mom did. And as we’ve grown I love to hear the ways in which my sisters give back to their communities. I grew up in suburban Chicago, came to Ohio for college and ended up staying because I love the Midwest. Without family here, I quickly found a group of peers to get involved in the community – we had a young adult group and talked about simplifying life (which is funny now to reflect on, I was at the simplest point in my life – pre-marriage and kids). We were leaders getting to know the area and engage in the community – I felt the best reward when I was connecting with others – finding new ways to give back.
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 was inspired to seek employment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital after my daughter had open heart surgery and then a friend started working here. As a non-clinical person, I had never imagined I could work at an organization like this. After two years and applying to 94 positions, I finally was hired in Information Services and love to be part of “Changing the Outcome Together”. I thrive in environments where I am challenged to grow and learn, where I can connect with others. When those around me learn, grow, succeed and fly onto new opportunities I feel especially rewarded.
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?
Specifically, for our school community, I hope that by 2028 we are continuing along well on our Master Facilities plan that was started almost 20 years ago. We’ve made such great progress in building six new elementary schools and updating pieces of the High School. Our next step is a new Middle School and outstanding High School renovations. The community is better when we have a school to be proud of and facilities that enable outstanding education.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
The biggest area my community can grow in is communication and collaboration. In the past few years so many things have become us versus them, making it hard to collaborate. I’ve been partnering with the Milford Schools since 2016 to share feedback on master facilities plan and bond issue to build a new middle school and other building projects. I am working to come together with all areas of the community and get the best school facilities we can for our kids.
As a School Board Member I will also work with the district to continue to improve communication, especially as it relates to policies and processes – things like Ohio Facilities Construction Commission funding and how we foster positive relationships in the schools to combat bullying. The schools work so hard for all 6,600+ students, and their work needs to be shared and celebrated.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I love to sew! While I don’t have as much time to sew these days, one item that I never miss is coordinating family Halloween costumes. This year we’re the Wizard of Oz. I also sew with all my kids (both sons and daughters) I really enjoy the creativity and making things that are useful. They are so proud of the things they make.