A Message From 2020 Board Candidate George Gross

On Tuesday, June 9th the Jamesville-DeWitt community will elect three new school board members, with seven candidates running for these positions. These candidates are Kerry Coleman-Herrick, Michael Gilbert, George Gross, Michelle Kielbasinski, David Leach, Steve Theobald and Christine Woodcock Dettor. The school budget vote and Board of Education election, typically held on the third Tuesday in May, was postponed and then ordered to be held via mail in ballot. RamPage has invited all seven candidates to use our publication as a platform to directly address our readership and share their qualifications as well as what they hope to accomplish if elected.

My name is George “Joe” Gross, and I have lived in the Jamesville-DeWitt school district for almost two decades.  I am the father of three daughters, with two in high school and one finishing her first year of middle school.  As parents, my wife and I feel privileged to live in a community where the schools have offered so much opportunity to our children.

I am a person who feels strongly that I should be of service to others.  That is what led me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, concentrating on healthcare policy.  And, that’s why I have spent the vast majority of my career working in the not-for-profit sector.  For the last 13 years, I have worked at AccessCNY where I am an Associate Executive Director.  My agency works for children and adults with mental health issues and physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities.  I oversee a rehabilitation therapy clinic (Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy) as well as a large home health care program.  

I am running for a seat on the Jamesville DeWitt Board of Education because I feel that my background and experiences will be an asset to the School Board, especially in the next few years. There are some immediate challenges for the Jamesville DeWitt school district, like how and when to safely open schools again to in-person instruction.  And, if that cannot be done in time for classes to resume in September, how to support our parents, students, faculty and staff in engaging in meaningful education outside of the four walls of a classroom. It also seems obvious that our state will be dealing with major budget challenges as we fight and overcome the COVID 19 pandemic.  That budget pressure will certainly affect our schools.  We will be faced with difficult choices about what programs are most important, and potentially, what we must decide to do without.  I have made these kinds of decisions before, and they are never easy.  But, if we start with a vision of our schools that includes everyone, regardless of their abilities or background, we can both retain what makes our schools exemplary, while addressing areas where we are lacking.  

As the Board of Education tackles issues over the next few years, it will be more necessary than ever to engage our community in productive dialogue. We must build trust with all of the stakeholders, and build consensus as we move forward.  I believe that I bring unique insight, having worked professionally with vulnerable populations on many issues.  On a personal level, I am a great listener.  I know that my perspective is not the only one that is important. During this campaign, I have benefited from hearing of the concerns of many of you, and I look forward to more critical conversations over the next few years. I hope you will join me in supporting our schools and our community as we work together to build on our solid foundation.

More Information:

Other candidate articles are located at https://jdrampage.org/

Detailed copies of the budget are available by contacting the district office. Residents are invited to attend the virtual budget hearing scheduled for Monday, June 1, 7:00 PM. 

 Voting Ballots are available through the District Office and Due Back by 5:00 pm, June 9th, 2020. For more information call: (315) 445-8304 or email thauser@jd.cnyric.org

Complete candidate biographies and details of the budget proposal are available in the special edition of the JD Journal mailed to all district homes in April and reprinted online at:

JD 2020 – 2021 Proposed Budget inside Vote!

Max Fagelman is the News Editor for Rampage. When he's not working on the paper you can find him doing photography or running on the track.