Candidates share why they should get your vote for Hampton School Board

Monday, October 21, 2019 | 12:01 AM

With election day coming closer, the Hampton Journal gave all six candidates the opportunity to explain to the public why they deserve your vote for Hampton School Board. Here are your candidates.

Matthew Jarrell

Resident status: 2000 to 2003 and then again from 2011 to present.

Goals/issues: I saw an opportunity to help sustain the exemplary stewardship that has made Hampton Township School District a top-tier school district and Hampton Township a top-tier community. My choice also stemmed from my own investment in the community by way of my three school-aged sons and the choice my wife and I made years ago to buy property, raise our family, and become permanent parts of the community. Chiara and I want the school district to continue to flourish now and after our kids are grown because it’s good for the children in the district and because it ultimately makes the Hampton community strong, attractive, and sustainable — and that benefits everybody.

Professional/personal: An attorney at a law firm Sherrard, German & Kelly, PC. He has been on the board of a private early childhood education center called Riverview Children’s Center, in Verona, for 15 years.

Married to Chiara Orsini and has three boys in the district including ninth grade, sixth grade and third grade at Wyland.

Joy Midgley

Resident Status: Hampton resident since 2008. Married to Jason, Hampton lifelong resident.

Goals/issues: I am excited and motivated for the opportunity to help support the Hampton Township School District in making good, solid, fiscally responsible decisions for the students, teachers, and taxpayers.

Professional/personal: I am the Lead Nuclear Medicine Technologist at UPMC Shadyside hospital where I have been employed for 16 years. I am a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the UPMC Shadyside Radiology Department. I have my Associates Degree in Nuclear Medicine and will be graduating in December with my Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management from La Roche University. I am also a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success.

Jason and Joy have two sons in middle school and are parent volunteers in many athletic programs including Hampton Junior Football Association, Hampton Athletic Association, and Hampton Youth Lacrosse.

Robert J. Shages

Residential status: Resident in Hampton since 1986, with two sons who went to Hampton Schools kindergarten through 12th grade.

Goals/issues: Assure that all student programs are developed and delivered with sufficient rigor and relevance that address both academic and social development, are adequately resourced, and correctly staffed with highly qualified faculty and support staff.

Hire the best teachers and collaboratively work with energetic, high caliber administrators.

Protect Hampton taxpayers by remaining to be one of the most cost-effective district’s in the county with the seventh lowest millage rate of the county’s 42 districts.

Current challenges include: Develop and implement a comprehensive and cost-effective plan for the Hampton High School renovation over the next three years, doing so with a minimum impact to students and taxpayers.

Assure there are adequate resources and commitment to continue to develop leading-edge courses and programs that address the changing needs of all students.

Assure younger students are adequately prepared to seamlessly move on to middle and high school programs.

Professional/personal: Retired from the General Electric Company but continue working as a consultant at GE for the Legal and Government Contracts groups. Member and officer of the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Mary Church. HTSD Board member since 2004, president for three years, served on various committees; current Board Treasurer having served for the past five years. Serves on Allegheny Intermediate Unit Board. Served previously as the PA School Boards Association’s Regional Representative covering Allegheny County Districts. President of the Governing Board for the AIU’s Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

Trisha Webb

Resident status: Eight years ago she and her husband moved to Hampton. Her husband took a job transfer because the Pittsburgh area has amazing autism resources, and after a number of visits to different parts of the North Hills, Hampton seemed like the right fit for our family.

Issues or goals: She spent the past two years heading up the Parent Teacher Organization at Central Elementary, and it gave the opportunity to work with and get to know many amazing families, teachers, staff and administration. Between that and being involved with other groups such as the Special Education Advisory Committee, she’s learned a lot about Hampton school district and the importance of working together for the success of all students. As a parent of a child with special needs, she wants to advocate for families who have questions or feel overwhelmed about their child’s future. As we make important decisions and changes in our district, more input is needed from parents who have students in the district and other opinions within the community.

Occupation or personal/family information: For more than 15 years, she was an editor and writer in the medical industry, higher education and a creative agency. A few years after her oldest son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, they relocated to Hampton, and she stayed home with their children. Later, she started working part-time in a local preschool and spent more time volunteering in their elementary school and our church.

Bryant B. Wesley II, Esquire

Resident status: My wife and I moved to Hampton in the early Spring of 2008 with our three sons. All three boys have been students in the district since kindergarten. Our youngest son, Emmett, is currently a sixth grader at the middle school. Our middle son, Garrett, is an eighth grader at the middle school. Our oldest son, Brennan, is a sophomore at the high school. My wife and I could not be happier or more impressed by the outstanding educational experience all three boys have had in Hampton.

Professional/Personal: I have served on the School Board since January 2011. I was selected by my fellow Board members to serve as Vice President from January 2012 through December 2012 and as President since January 2013.

I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and East Carolina University. I currently hold the title of Vice President and Senior Associate Legal Counsel in the UPMC Corporate Legal Department. Prior to joining the UPMC Corporate Legal Department in 2004, I served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Cindrich, a Federal District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, for eight years. I am also a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of North Carolina. Prior to enrolling in law school, I was a senior auditor at the public accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers. I grew up in a small farming town called Roxboro in rural North Carolina. I pulled tobacco in the fields during the summers starting at 10 years old. It was backbreaking work but taught me the value of an education. I was the first person in my family and extended family to go to college.

Goals/issues: During my time on the Board, the district has made incredible strides in maintaining and improving upon its tradition of excellence. The high school has been awarded the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award and the middle school recently received a Schools to Watch designation, both prestigious awards that reflect the coordinated efforts of the teachers, administrators, parents, and the board. In 2018, Hampton High School was also the highest-scoring high school on the 2018 Keystone Exams. Hampton has also been consistently ranked as a top school district in the state. The board has also overseen an update of the academic programming to give our students a well-rounded education and the best chance of success in an ever-changing job market.

I am most proud of the cooperation and cohesion that has developed among the Board, administration, the teachers, and parents during my time on the board. Such cooperation and cohesion have been key to the district’s successes. I am also very proud that the district has achieved such great successes while being fiscally responsible. The district has the seventh lowest tax rate of the 42 school districts in Allegheny County, despite the ever-increasing financial pressure the district has been experiencing from unfunded State mandates, such as the $3.6 million increase in the district’s required contributions to the state’s retirement fund over the past nine years.

The district still has many challenges ahead, such as the significant repairs to high school that are needed and a potential major renovation of the same to accommodate academic programs. Most importantly, the district must continue to focus its efforts on creating a safe, inclusive, and caring environment for all students so that all students can achieve their full potential. I hope to continue my service on the board to work with all stakeholders to address such challenges in a meaningful way.

Resident involvement through volunteering is what makes a great community. Hampton is a great community because we have so many residents that devote their time in so many ways, whether on the school board, the PTO, booster organizations, coaching youth sports, boy scouts, girl scouts, etc. Serving on the school board is a way to contribute to this great community and it has been an honor to do so.

Larry Vasko

Residential status: Hampton resident 28 years.

Goals/issues: Continue to improve Hampton’s high educational standards while being fiscally responsible to the voters. Our current issues are the high school renovation project and the increasing unfunded mandates from the state.

Professional/personal: CPA, Registered Investment Advisor, and PA Insurance licensed; father of two Hampton high school grads. Vice President of A.W. Beattie Career Center. Member of Hampton Rotary.