Candidate Questions For Michael Callahan
Occupation: Parks and recreation professional, City of Bedford
1.). Why do you want to be elected, or re-elected, to the Lakewood Board of Education? Why should we vote for you? (100 words or less)
I’m running as an advocate for the Lakewood City Schools.
I am a lifelong Lakewood resident, as is my wife. We have two children currently attending Lakewood City Schools (Grant Elementary and Emerson Elementary). We have a third child (age three) who will attend school in the district. Our children are having a positive experience; however I believe that young families are not sufficiently represented on the Board. If elected I would represent families of young students as a fellow parent.
Also, as a public sector manager and parks & recreation professional, I bring valuable perspective to the Board.
2.) What do you see as the three biggest issues facing the Lakewood School District? Explain how will you address one of them? (100 words or less)
The three biggest issues are the impending operating budget shortfall, state report card rankings, consistency in class size.
Regarding budget shortfall, it is very important that the district have effective communication with the community and meaningful dialogue. An operating levy will be necessary at some point in the future and the district must be clear about reasons for it and the efforts taken to operate as efficiently as possible while delivering the highest quality of education to all students.
I’d also like to comment on the state report card, in that the grade does not tell the story of the Lakewood City Schools; but since it is a metric used particularly by prospective residents, we must strive for improvement.
3.) It seems that every week we hear of another terrible school incident and this year we have been informed of threats in our own schools. What are your ideas to keep our children as safe as possible in our schools? (100 words or less)
Our school district has a great relationship with law enforcement, emergency protocols in place, and has good lines of communication with parents. School buildings are equipped with cameras, automated doors, and other security measures. The district security supervisor and staff do excellent work keeping our children safe.
I encourage district leaders to stay current on school safety best practices so they may be utilized where practical. A city councilperson suggested to me that schools host the offices of Lakewood Police ward officers as a way of increasing police visibility in schools. I support further exploration of the idea.
4.) In a city dedicated to wellness, if elected or re-elected, what will you to do make sports, recreation and extra-curricular activities more abundantly available to Lakewood students and families?
The incoming LHS Athletics Boosters president has great ideas and energy for the expansion of the roles of the boosters organization as more of a sports advocacy model. This would include getting more families involved, particularly those in younger grades. I support these efforts.
Further, the district has seen some extra-curricular programs work with great success at a particular school yet not be made available across the district. As an example, Emerson Elementary School has a service program called Emerson Cares that the entire community could benefit from if it were expanded. I support efforts to do so.
5.) What are your ideas to better address the needs of different learners in Lakewood: the developmentally challenged, ESL students, and at risk students? (100 words or less)
I support inclusion models wherever feasible.
I applaud the efforts of Franklin School of Opportunity to support at risk students and want to ensure the staff there has every resource needed for success.
I am admittedly not an expert in special education. I do believe the district has great administrators and teachers who are experts in this area. I would support the superintendent in convening the great minds of the community to address any deficiencies in the education of these groups. I support collaboration with other districts and the pursuit of any state or federal programs to assist.
6.) What do you see as Lakewood School District's greatest asset, outside of the students, teachers and new schools? How can this be used to make our schools better? (100 words or less)
The diversity of opportunities available within the district would be the next greatest asset. Lakewood City Schools are known for music, arts, West Shore Career Tech, athletics opportunities, and for being a place that welcomes everyone. It’s the comprehensive offerings, the ability for each student to reach his or her potential; that collectively is a great asset. I believe the district could better advertise those strengths. One vehicle to do so would be to utilize the contact that our Community Recreation & Education Department has with nearly every family in Lakewood beginning when children are very young.
Michael Callahan is a lifelong resident of Lakewood. He and his wife, Kristyn (Kadow) have three children. Michael works in the public sector as a parks & recreation professional.