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Meet the Candidates for the Perry School Board

This article was co-published by Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI as part of a collaboration for the 2022 school board elections. Join Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI to hear from IPS School Board candidates at a 6 p.m. forum on Wednesday, October 5 at the Indianapolis Public Library, Central Branch . RSVP and submit questions here.

Three of the school board’s seven seats are up for election in schools in Perry, a district of about 16,000 students in southern Marion County.

Like other districts, Perry is grappling with the effects of the federal decision to end free school lunches for all children this year. In August, the district announced it would seek a waiver of the community eligibility provision to serve free meals to all students, regardless of income.

The district is also considering longer term plans. In 2022, Perry voters approved the district’s $154 million referendum renewal that funds its teachers, bus routes and popular STEM programming.

This election

In November, seven candidates are running for three seats at large. Two of the nominees, Lee Shively and James Hernandez, are incumbents, while a third current board member, Hannah Dale, is not running for re-election. The new candidates running in this election are Cameron Clark, Chris Lewis, Hre Mang, Samuel Snideman and Astin Vick.

As with other districts, the newly elected Perry Council will oversee the district’s spending of its federal emergency relief money as the funds allocation deadline approaches. They will also provide oversight for operational referendum voters adopted this year.

Who votes and how to vote

Voters can vote for all general candidates. The first three voters will join the school board.

Voter registration closes October 11. Marion County residents can register to vote at indianavoters.in.gov.

Early voting begins Oct. 12 at the Indianapolis City-County Building at 200 E. Market St. Other early voting sites, including one in Pike Township at the Pike Library branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, open October 29 and can be found online at https://vote.indy.gov/early-voting/.

On Election Day Nov. 8, residents of Marion County can vote at any polling center in the county, which is within https://vote.indy.gov/.

Meet the candidates

James Hernandez, seat at-large

Incumbent James Hernandez has served on the board since 2019. According to the board’s website, Hernandez is a native of Gary, Indiana, and moved to the Indianapolis area to attend law school at the University of Washington. ‘Indiana. His two sons attended schools in Perry Township and he held various positions in youth sports. His biography is available at the Perry board website.

Hre Mang, seat at-large

Hre Mang is a pastor at Falam Christian Church in Indianapolis, an assistant professor at Crossroads Bible College, and a founding member of the Chin Community of Indiana, a social service organization. He holds several degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Grace Bible College in India, as well as a Masters in Public Affairs from Indiana University. His website is available here.

Lee Shively, at-large seat

Lee Shively is the current Perry School Board President and has served since 2019. Shively graduated in 2002 from Perry Meridian High School, where he met his wife. Her three children also attend Perry Schools. Shively, a teacher at Beech Grove High School, said her main goal as a council member was to be a voice for educators.

He said he would also prioritize being a good steward of referendum dollars passed by Perry voters, as well as ensuring academic growth and a welcoming environment for students. His campaign website is available here.

Samuel Stewart Snideman, seat at-large

Samuel Snideman is a Perry resident and the parent of a Perry Elementary School student. He is a graduate of the District’s Leadership Academy and a former board member of the Perry Township Education Foundation.

Its goals include attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and support staff by making the district an employer of choice, while diversifying the district’s staff to reflect the diversity of the student body. He would also like to “continue the district’s track record of prudent fiscal management” and use community partnerships to increase the number of students going to college or a professional field. He also wants to advocate with the Indiana General Assembly for more funding for K-12 education.

His campaign website is available here.

Astin Vick, seat at-large

Astin Vick has worked for Perry Schools as a substitute teacher and special education teacher’s aide, and is currently an assistant athletics coach at Perry Meridian High School. She holds a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification and a Ph.D. in sports management, and his research focuses on better understanding the student-athlete experience.

As a board member, his goals include raising the standard of excellence and increasing feedback and engagement from teachers, parents and the community. She would also like to evaluate the programs used by the district and ensure the transparency of her board meetings by providing easily accessible board minutes, meeting notices, and decisions explained in plain language and in multiple languages. His campaign website is available here.

Cameron Clark and Chris Lewis could not be reached for comment.

Aleksandra Appleton covers Indiana education policy and writes about K-12 schools across the state. Contact her at [email protected]

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