Dr. Jim Shaffer has announced he is a Republican candidate for school board director for the Indiana Area School District.

The school board consists of nine members elected from the community whose task it is to ensure the education of every student in the district. Shaffer plans to cross-file for both parties for the May 18 primary election.

Shaffer has been a resident of Indiana Borough since 2016 and grew up in Marion Center. He attended Marion Center School District and went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. He earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he received the Angus Gordon Cathie Scholarship. Board certified in family medicine, he has devoted the majority of his career working in emergency medicine.

Dr. Shaffer began his career in 2007 at the Punxsutawney Area Hospital emergency room. Serving the community through everything from delivering babies to resuscitating and stabilizing the critically ill. He currently works at the emergency rooms at Clarion Hospital, Armstrong Center for Medicine & Health and Indiana Regional Medical Center. During the coronavirus pandemic, Shaffer has been on the front line diagnosing and treating some of the sickest patients in the area.

Along with his wife, Randi, who is a registered nurse, they have made advocating for children a main focus. Together they have hosted multiple foreign exchange students through International Student Exchange who attended Indiana Area Senior High School. Since 2016, students from China, Brazil, Serbia and Spain have shared their customs and beliefs with the Shaffer household. Opening their home also benefited the Indiana district and the surrounding community by enriching the diversity of the student body. They also share their home as foster parents through Children and Youth Services.

Their experience working in emergency medicine has given them keen insight into the lives of children who have been neglected and abused. Opening their home to some of these children, even for a short time, helps to improve their social emotional learning. Shaffer said he hopes to use this experience to the benefit of all of the Indiana-area students. Shaffer has both a personal and professional interest in improving the local school system. As a father of five, he has one student enrolled at the junior high school and one enrolled at East Pike Elementary. With a 4-month-old at home who they are actively in the process of adopting, Shaffer said he wants to do his part to ensure a robust school system for years to come.

“A sound education is a cornerstone of the health and well-being of children. I believe my experience in dealing with the current pandemic on the front lines can be beneficial in overcoming the challenges our school system is facing.”