Hilliard Board of Education
Kelley Arnold brings a wealth of experience to Hilliard School Board. She is a parent of two Hilliard Darby High School graduates and has a proven record of dedication, problem-solving, research, community involvement, and public service. Kelley has served on several of the district’s committees, including the Student Housing Project, Technology Task Force, and Master Facilities Plan Committee. She was also a foundational member of the Far West Side Task Force and serves as a Far West Side Area Commissioner that gives residents a voice in development of their community. If elected to Hillard School Board, Kelley Arnold’s extensive involvement in the district over many years will provide a sound knowledge base to further better educational opportunities for our kids and strategic growth for the community.Arnold for Hilliard School Board
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
As an active volunteer, advocate, and leader in our school district for many years, I have often heard from folks, “When are you running for school board?” All of my past experience, whether serving as a PTO treasurer or on a variety of district committees, has never been about running for a seat, but learning and working to be a better parent, a better officer for our PTO groups, or in service as a local Area Commissioner. It is about helping others understand the how and why of district decisions and their impacts on our children, families, and community groups. It is about advocating to help the district administration make better decisions with respect to those stakeholders, by helping inform, discuss, and guide.
So why run now? This fall, three seats will be up for election, and for two of those seats, the incumbents are stepping away. They represent a collective 26 years on our school board. That is a huge loss of institutional memory within our leadership. I believe my deep and broad involvement within the district over these many years will help fill that gap to some measure. The district will be challenged over the next few years. These challenges are shaped through many lenses – whether they be the repercussions from COVID; our overdue introspection of equity, diversity, and justice within our district; or the potential growth on the horizon. We will need leadership that can move forward against inertia but is also balanced with the institutional knowledge to understand where we have been. This is a world I have been steeped in for many years as I have been committed to helping provide great educational opportunities for all our kids in addition to understanding the policy decisions and impacts that have framed and influenced them. I believe that I have a sound foundation to hit the ground running for the challenging work ahead.
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?
While schools across the country continue to experience difficulties due to the ongoing pandemic, including keeping our kids safe and learning delays, our school district faces two additional significant challenges: growth and issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.
As a reflection of the anticipated population growth in Central Ohio, our district is also poised for another surge over the next few years. Already over 3,000 new residential units are in varying stages of zoning processes or construction. How our district responds will be crucial to ensure continued quality education for our kids while balancing the needs of our community. Additionally, as our existing buildings age, repair and replacement responsibilities will require long-range planning including funding considerations. I am committed to continuing my past work, not only as part of our facilities committee developing planning and communication with our community, but also as an area commissioner advocating for responsible development.
Reflecting the national conversation in the early summer of 2020, a student-driven Instagram account highlighted experiences of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, homophobia, bullying and harassment within our district. This led to the creation of a task force, and ultimately a standing Board committee, examining our practices with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion. It will be crucial to ensure this work continues for the education and health of all our students, despite misinformation and disinformation campaigns to discredit district efforts. I am committed to continual review of our policies and practices to ensure the necessary support and resources are available to our teachers, staff, and students in this important work.
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
As a candidate for school board, “access to education” within the Matriots’ values resonates as an absolutely essential component for women’s prosperity. Education provides the necessary knowledge and skills to attain the economic empowerment and independence – also part of the Matriots’ value system – leading to gender equality. However, that cannot be accomplished without examining the role our schools play in providing equitable access to the opportunities available both within our classrooms and extracurricular options.
What does a Matriots PAC endorsement mean to you and your campaign?
The Matriots PAC endorsement, especially as a non-partisan organization looking at candidates in a non-partisan school board race, is a significant signal to our community of my values. We need strong females on our school boards to support our shared goal to create safe communities, and that starts with a strong education foundation. I am both proud and humbled by the recognition of this amazing group of women supporting women.