The Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) welcomed its newest member of the Olentangy Board of Education Thursday with the swearing-in of LaKesha Wyse.
Wyse, who is the assistant dean at Chamberlain University, was elected to fill the position vacated by outgoing board member Roger Bartz during last November’s general election, along with incumbents Kevin O’Brien and Mindy Patrick.
Wyse and her husband, Joe, have lived in the district for four years with their three children, two of whom attend Olentangy High School, while one attends Glen Oak Elementary. Having lived in Grove City prior to the move, Wyse said she was drawn to the OLSD at the recommendation of a parent advocate she was working with to find the best path of success for two of her children who have dyslexia.
Specifically, Wyse said she sought out an interview with Josh McDaniels, principal at Shanahan Middle School, which she said was “awesome.”
“Just talking with (McDaniels), the minute I said my daughter is dyslexic, the questions that he was asking I had been trying to get for years for my daughter where we were,” Wyse said. “It was just a great interview, and I cried twice during it because, finally, I was talking with a principal who gets it … I knew this was it, this was where my kids needed to go (to school) and they’ll be successful.”
Wyse said they searched for homes specifically to get her daughter into Shanahan Middle School, and she called the results “night and day.”
As for why she chose to run for a seat on the Olentangy BOE, Wyse said she never had any intentions of serving on the school board when her family made the move to the district. However, when once asked if she’d ever given the idea any thought, and at the urging of someone to attend a board meeting, Wyse said she did so and immediately enjoyed seeing how the board interacted with each other and how everything came together to make the district function at such a high rate.
Wyse said she had a realization in attending the meeting that the very reason she moved to the district was in direct correlation to the quality of work that was being done in those board meetings. She added that in listening to African American students from Liberty High School speak at a board meeting, she felt ever further called to serve.
“It just pulled at my heartstrings, listening to them,” Wyse said. “But I also noticed that, wait, there’s no one that looks like them (on the board) … I had a feeling of, ‘This is it, I need to be a part of this.’ Not just for that reason, but because I can bring something (different), another perspective.”
Wyse joins the board at a critical juncture for the district, which is beginning to spread information throughout the community on its newest levy. However, because she had been a frequent attendee of meetings even before being elected, Wyse said she is well-versed on the immediate challenges the district is facing.
Asked what she is most looking forward to while serving on the board, Wyse said there is always room for improvement and she hopes to play a role in plenty more great things to come in the school district.
In addition to Wyse’s swearing-in, new leadership was selected to lead the BOE in 2020.
Patrick was elected to serve as the board’s president this year, marking the second time she has served in the role; Patrick last served as president in 2017. Julie Wagner Feasel was elected to serve as vice president of the board.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.