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Jessica Clawson

Jessica Clawson, 37, of Clarksburg, is a business owner, wife and parent of two elementary students.

A political newcomer, she decided to run for school board because “there is a need for the BSSD School Directors to realign their decisions and actions with the principles of the PSBA (PA School Boards Association) and their own internal policies,” she said.

Clawson said her qualifications include a having bachelor’s degree in managerial economics and communication arts and a master of business administration degree. She is also a business owner.

She also has professional management experience in the financial field, is a Faith Formation coordinator, Little League baseball coach and mother.

She outlined four areas where she believes the board needs work, saying it needs to “Build support networks within the school community; Utilize appropriate data to make informed decisions; Encourage input and support for the district from the community; and Balance the responsibility of providing educational programs with being good stewards of community resources.”

If elected in the fall, she said she “will work with administrators, faculty and state leaders to enhance our curriculum opportunities and look for ways to increase enrollment.”

In addition, she said she “will advocate for the responsible handling of taxpayer dollars, speak out against unnecessary spending and promote transparency for stakeholders.”

To Clawson, major issues this election season include “reconfiguration, decreasing fund balance, declining enrollment and untapped curriculum opportunities.”

She is opposed to reconfiguration.

“I believe that closing any of the district’s schools is not the solution to the current problems in the district and that this board and administration has neglected to provide stakeholders with specific costs and plans for the reconfiguration,” she said. “Instead, the board should work with administrators, faculty, state/county leaders and community members to enhance our curriculum opportunities, reduce spending and look for ways to increase enrollment while utilizing virtual learning resources and capitalizing on the existing relationships with neighboring technology centers and universities.”

If elected, Clawson said she “will respect all BSSD school directors, administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members at all times and conduct myself in a professional, dignified manner.”

In addition, she pledged to “be accessible and receptive to community comments, questions and concerns, provide timely feedback, and encourage their participation.”

“I will hold myself and other members to a high standard of transparency and accountability,” she said.

Clawson said people should vote for her because of her work ethic.

“I promise to bring my passionate and professional work ethic to our BSSD school board and will work hard to ensure that the students, stakeholders and communities in our district have the brightest future possible,” she said.

“I take this election and position very seriously and understand the commitment it involves. I am willing to put in the work to help move our district forward by enhancing educational opportunities and building up our schools and communities.”

Margaret Weaver has served as a Gazette staff writer since 2006. She covers Clymer Borough, the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District and Blairsville court, and also works in the areas of layout, design and editing.