Pickerington Board of Education
Tezlyn Reardon is running for the Pickerington Board of Education. Tezlyn and her family have lived in Pickerington for seven years and has a son in the school system. Tezlyn believes that students should be able to learn in ways that will work for them. Tezlyn wants to support a school system that will set students up for success in secondary education and beyond.
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
In 2018 I served as campaign manager for a woman who was running for Ohio State Representative in her home district. I had never imagined that I would be involved in politics, but I took on the opportunity to further stretch and hone my networking and management skills while helping someone else fulfill a dream. We were unsuccessful in our bid for election, but I learned so much about the political system, how to run a successful campaign, and just how much work there is to be done out there to improve our local communities. I had always considered running for school board because education is one of my passions that I feel very strongly about, but after the 2018 campaign, it wasn’t long before I declared that I would throw my hat in the ring for the 2019 election. I was so excited and ready to go that I turned in my petitions in March and the deadline wasn’t until August! I have an 11-year old son in the Pickerington Local School District and we have had a great experience with the teachers and administrators from the moment he entered Pre-K, but there are many opportunities to improve the way the district supports our students and I want to use my problem-solving skills and my knowledge of what is happening in the schools to help keep up with the changes that happen so quickly in our schools these days.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
I was fortunate to grow up with two extremely supportive parents who always encouraged me to be my best and provided opportunities for me to follow my dreams. My father, who passed away in 2011, was the first male in my life who told me I could do whatever I wanted to do in life, no matter if I was male or female. I went on to play college basketball at a high level and I know the confidence I have today in my career and in running for the Pickerington School Board comes from the unending support I received from my dad. My mother is the reason I seek out leadership opportunities, as I saw the same characteristics in her from a young age. She owned two businesses of her own as I was growing up and has been involved in community organizations in leadership positions for as long as I can remember. In 2017, she was the first African American to be named the President of the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary for the state of Ohio. It is hard not to want to follow in the shoes of an amazing role model who continues to serve her community in any way that she can.
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?
My early growth experiences evolved from being an athlete and learning valuable team working and collaboration skills that I have used continuously throughout my career. Being a part of a team, working towards a common goal is something that gets my juices flowing whether it be in my daily career, on an athletic field, or working with a local non-profit. I have been fortunate to be involved with many great organizations and programs across the Central Ohio area that have aided in my growth as a leader because of relationships I have built with others. Although I enjoy taking on new opportunities in leadership roles, I have learned a great deal about driving success in an organization from those before me who I was able to work with prior to taking over a project or a role. I enjoy seeing the approach others take in solving a problem, but then I’m able to take what I have learned and apply my own experiences to continue to improve upon what has already been built. There is usually no reason to completely reinvent the wheel, but there is always a way to make something better and I try to find those improvement opportunities.
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?
One of the biggest issues in Pickerington is the perceived lack of transparency between our at-large community members and our elected officials, whether it be the school board, city council, Mayor’s office, etc. I do believe it is the fault of one party, we all need to do a better job of asking the right questions to the right people, which includes soliciting feedback from residents about issues that have come up or attending public meetings where plans are being presented. The role I would like to fill as a member of the Pickerington school board is to bridge that gap that exists to ensure that all parties have a seat at the table and are working together to find solutions to decrease the discord between groups. I want to work with the other offices to be creative and thoughtful in how we identify and approach problems. You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can educate those who want to be educated in order to create advocates for new policies or funding who can then share their experiences with others to gain more engagement and approval. I have found that while everyone may not know how to solve a problem, they do like to be asked and to feel that they have some role in the process for decision-making, even if it is just having their voice heard. Pickerington is a fast-growing community and in order to sustain positive growth, we will need to find better ways to work together to support our existing local businesses, residents, students, along with potential new community members that we hope to attract.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
There are so many things that we must improve upon in order to keep our younger generations moving forward to take over for us someday. One major issue that drives my campaign for school board is the disservice we have done to our children by increasing the amount of standardized testing that is done each year, starting at the very earliest levels of elementary school. There are fundamental learnings that each child needs to accomplish in order to keep progressing in their personal growth, but our teachers have become handcuffed by the mandates that they are required to follow in order to make sure students are passing tests that may no longer be the best way to accurately assess achievement and mastery. I would like to use my experiences and creative thinking to drive change in this area to help set our children up for future success and decrease our reliance on a “one-size-fits-all” testing model.
To stay in the flavor of education, I believe we must do a better job of educating our young people about the many different career and vocational opportunities that exist. Not every child is equipped for or has the desire to attend a 4-year college and that’s ok. There are so many careers out there for students to consider that are more in line with their interests and skills and many that you don’t have to take on student loan debt before securing a job! I believe in incubators or mentoring programs for students or anyone who wants to learn more about career options like apprenticeships for trade careers, entrepreneurship opportunities, and non-profit engagement, areas that are not always talked about when considering career possibilities.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
In 2018 I published my first book, “Forty Years of Practice” which is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. I always had a feeling since I was in college that I had a book on my heart to write, to share my experiences for others to be encouraged in whatever circumstances they are going through in their life. After a rough season in my life, the subject of that book came to life and in January 2018, I officially became a published author! I do believe there are other books to come in the future, maybe even one about my campaign experiences!