With two seats on the Olentangy Schools Board of Education up for grabs this November, candidate races are beginning to take shape. Last week, Felicia Kastle became the latest to publicly announce her campaign to fill one of the vacant seats.
Kastle, who is a six-year resident of Delaware County residing in Lewis Center, currently sits on both the Delaware Career Center Advisory Board and the Physical Activity Collaboration Board. In addition to those duties, she has also chaired events for the Heritage Elementary PTO and has donated her time in service as a youth pastor at Church of the Savior in Westerville.
As the owner of Explosive Ninjas Gym, which assists children with obstacle course training, as well as a coach for youth soccer and hockey teams, Kastle said she would bring a coach’s mindset and a child-first mentality to the board. She said her experience as both a business owner and a coach have allowed her to understand the importance of honesty and expectations in establishing respect for others, as well as instilling leadership on and off the field.
“My team rules are to respect yourself, your family, your team, your elders, and your community,” Kastle told The Gazette. “I believe that a healthy team culture is a crucial part of a team’s success, and it is the responsibility of the coach to create unity through the establishment of a healthy culture.”
A mother of five children in the district, Kastle said she has noted concerning trends coming out of the current leadership in the district, which prompted her to run this fall.
“With a house, you need a good foundation. With a castle, you need a good foundation,” Kastle said. “When I started going in there, I saw there were some cracks in that foundation. It was alarming and got me thinking about how we’re going to fix these cracks and make things stronger. When I voiced (my concerns) to the administration, I felt ignored and distanced …”
Asked if she felt there has been a lack of transparency between the current board and the communities that make up the district, Kastle said she felt it was an area that certainly needs to be improved. Specifically, Kastle said she has been alarmed with some of the ways racial issues have infiltrated classrooms in the district.
“That is a political group whether we want to accept it or not,” Kastle said of the current board. “They’ve made that very clear in the stances they’ve taken, and there is no place in our schools for that. I think that’s something that our parents, if they want to educate their children on some of these things, that’s a parent’s decision. That is not something teachers should be taking a stance on.”
Kastle went on to say the inclusion and promotion of groups such as Black Lives Matter can exist at the high school level, with students who are becoming adults but only in an elective manner where they, themselves, have the choice to partake in it. “I just think when we’re putting those things in front of young children who don’t even understand it, all it’s doing is creating a problem,” she said.
As for what she hopes to accomplish in her time on the board if elected, Kastle questioned the lack of a set curriculum in the district and said establishing “a true, transparent curriculum” will be at the top of her list of objectives.
“I think that it’s due. It’s past due, we should have already had that,” Kastle said of the need for a set curriculum.
Kastle added she hopes to create a platform for parents in the district to truly be heard, while also being a part of a board that makes decisions with the students firmly in the forefront of its collective mind and not what’s self-serving for the administration.
To learn more about Kastle’s campaign, visit her website at www.feliciakastle.com or check her Facebook page at Felicia Kastle for Olentangy School Board.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.