Beachwood Board of Education
Northeast Ohio, Local
Megan Walsh is no novice when it comes to community involvement. She has 15+ years of experience in planning as well as delivering community programs. Currently serving as Deputy Project Director for MomsFirst at the Cleveland Department of Public Health, Megan frequently works closely with partners and subcontractors to achieve common goals for the organization. Megan is also a polished presenter; she has experience representing MomsFirst both in and out-of-state, and she has been invited to various events to speak on issues such as racial disparity, cultural competence and social determinants of health. With a background in social work, Megan has collaborated with a diverse field of clients, including students through the position of Senior-Lead Therapist at Lincoln-West High School that she held from 2010 to 2015. Megan has a strong drive to make a positive impact on her community through the Beachwood Board of Education and has the well-refined skills needed to do so.
In 2020 Megan will continue her work as a Beachwood Board of Education Member.Facebook
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
Looking back over the last three years especially, I see a number of experiences that set me on the path to run for office. Following the 2016 election, I committed myself to taking action on the things I cared about. Primary among them was civic engagement: becoming an informed voter, registering people to vote, canvassing neighborhoods in my area to get out the vote, etc. I joined the Beachwood Democratic Ward Club; I became Precinct Committee person for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party; I attended every community forum I could; I became a volunteer with Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates. Last fall, when a Beachwood School Board member resigned, several people reached out to me and encouraged me to apply. I was flattered, but caught off guard. It just wasn’t something I saw for myself (yet). A few months later, another School Board member resigned. Again, many people reached out to me and encouraged me to apply. That time, I wasn’t able to say no. I decided to apply, figuring the application and interview process would be a good learning experience regardless of the outcome. I was surprised when my name was announced as the applicant chosen to fill the vacancy, and I was thrilled to share that moment with my 9 year old son who was in the audience with me. As it turned out, my path was forged by people who saw something in me that I didn’t see at the time. Driving home with my son that night I was sworn in, he said, “Of course they picked you. I knew it all along”.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
My sons are my inspiration, in so many different ways. I am driven to lead by example, showing them that they can create the change they seek. I am committed to taking action to ensure that they inherit a healthy planet and a more equitable society. I am inspired by the privilege that they have to speak out for those who don’t.
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 am a social worker, which means that being a “change agent” is part of who I am. For ten years, I worked with families in the city of Cleveland as a therapist and Community Health Worker. My clients taught me so much of what I know about people: there’s good in all of us, we’re all doing the best we can, we all want what’s best for our children. Four years ago, I left direct service for my current position as MomsFirst Deputy Project Director at the Cleveland Department of Public Health. After a decade of helping families in home, school and community settings, I saw how much systems impacted the choices of individuals. I saw that it was systems that needed to change, which would thereby change individuals. In my current role, I am able to impact systems-level change through the management of a home visiting program that serves over 1,000 families per year and through committee work with the goal of eliminating racism. It is this systemic perspective that I bring to my work on the Beachwood Board of Education.
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 vision for 2028 is a more united and equitable community!
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
My family and I are very lucky to live in a thriving, diverse community with excellent public schools. The primary issue I see is the need to move beyond diversity to inclusion. I would like to help foster and nurture an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Another issue we face is the lack of support of public schools at the state and federal level. Funding should not be cut for public schools, while funding for charter schools and voucher programs increases.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I love to read! This year, I have alternated fiction and non-fiction books. My favorite fiction book I read this year is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and the best nonfiction I’ve read this year is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. There are over 60 books in my room waiting to be read (please don’t judge my book-buying addiction!). Reading is also a Walsh family value. My husband first caught my eye because he was sitting outside our honors economics class reading a book before class. My older son can’t go anywhere without a book (or two, or ten!). My younger son and I love to read together every night before he goes to bed.