October 17, 2021
Pickerington Online’s Meet the Candidates
“Since the first time my family and I met Charles Newman, he made us feel like we were valued. Mr. Newman has continued to show his passion for families in Pickerington by being willing to show up for the Pickerington community when it’s needed. I didn’t have many resources when I moved here from Michigan in 2019, but the moment I met Mr. Newman that instantly changed. Mr. Newman is very knowledgeable and passionate as well; I feel he is one of the best if not the best to be on the Pickerington school board.” – Tonya Mitchel, Pickerington Resident & Parent
Charles Newman decided to run for Pickerington School Board after recent unrest led to “a great outpouring” from residents for the district leadership to reflect the diversity and growth of the community.
“Currently, the Pickerington Local School District Board (PLSD) of Education is made up of three women and two men, all who happen to be white people and over the age of 40,” Newman said. “Yet, our school district is comprised nearly 50-percent by students of color from young families and will continue to diversify. I’m here to respond to the need for greater diversity in race and personal experience on the board – the type of diversity that is represented across our increasingly diverse student population.”
The opportunity to serve the community as an elected official was a challenge Newman had to “step up and take on.”
“We can march and preach about change, but if we are not willing to be the change, then why are we here?” Newman said. “I want to be the change.”
Newman sees the Pickerington/Violet Township area as a thriving community and a “true melting pot.”
“Communities like ours provide the necessary number of differences in culture, that produce the true avenue of the American Dream, and that is a place where no matter color, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, YOU MATTER,” Newman said.
The greatest issue for the community, Newman believes, is the lack of collaboration between the city, township and school district when planning for growth. He plans to create an intra-body team comprised of members from all three entities which would work together to develop a joint comprehensive development plan.
Newman said that he represents the “Pickerington Dream” in that he was raised here, became a valuable citizen and furthered the legacy by raising his children here. His knowledge of the school district is based not just on data but on personal experience.
“As a 2006 graduate of Pickerington High School North, a wife who is a current PLSD staff member and the parent of three sons who attend schools in the PLSD, the institutional knowledge I have is unique because it is firsthand and that is something other candidates will not bring to the table,” Newman said. “Every time I review or propose a policy, I will get a full sense of its effect because I was the student in the chair, and now I am the parent of the student in the chair.”
As a school board member, Newman vows to listen and examine the issues of all community measures before proposing data-backed, transparent solutions that are backed by accurate data.
“Education is the foundation of success for all,” Newman said. “As a student I had the pleasure of knowing the benefits that PLSD offers, but I also recognized firsthand how implementing positive changes would expand the value of our schools. As a parent, I have the commitment to see long-term growth, stability and progress in our district. My passion for young people and serving all who need a helping hand is what drives my desire to serve as a PLSD board member.”
What is Charles Newman’s Platform?
There are numerous improvements that Newman would like to see for students including diversifying the curriculum to “reflect the history and culture of students of all backgrounds”, mandating drug use prevention and intervention services for Kindergartners through seniors and instituting extra-curricular activities “that build our students’ confidence” such as athletics, arts, cultural and summer programs.
PLSD should also develop “more channels for inclusion of people with disabilities into everyday activities as well as greater access to mental health counseling and resources.”
Newman wants the district to adopt policies that “set priorities and achieve goals that keep our local schools on track to surpass national standards”.
To do this he plans to help the board make decisions that are “more fiscally sound” and he will stand against redistricting which does “not allow for greater diversity and destroys our community”.
Who is Charles Newman?
Newman was born in Richmond, Virginia, then moved to Pickerington in 1993 after his parents who worked for the Department of Defense relocated to Columbus. He was raised in the Park Place neighborhood (“one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the PLSD”) as the middle child of three boys.
“My father chose Pickerington as the community he wanted to raise his sons in because he wanted all of us to have an experience of life that was filled with diverse people, who looked different so that we could understand that at the end of the day everyone is the same no matter of race or color,” Newman said. “Every day before leaving home for school he yelled the same phrase, “’DO THE RIGHT THING!’”
After graduating from the Pickerington North High School, Newman attended Ohio Christian University where he graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration and religious education. He is currently enrolled in Columbia International University, pursuing a master’s in divinity.
In 2013 he married his wife Janna, a duty aide at Toll Gate Elementary, and moved his family to Pickerington as to provide their children with the “same unique experience” that he had as a kid.
“Attending a school and living in a neighborhood where there are so many different cultures from yours, prepares you for success in the everyday world. Pickerington was that for me, and I returned to ensure it was the same for the generations to come,” Newman said.
The couple are raising five “amazing sons who are ages twelve, seven, six, three and four months. Two of their sons attend Pickerington Elementary and the oldest is a student at Ridgeview STEM Junior High.
Newman said that his “favorite hobby (outside of playing with my sons) is coaching soccer. I have spent the last five years coaching high school soccer at Centennial High School, in the Columbus City Schools District.”
How might you have met Charles Newman?
“I have committed my time and efforts to the fight for diversity, equity and inclusion work in our community – working to make a Pickerington where everyone feels welcome and is recognized for their uniqueness,” Newman said.
Currently, he is the Senior Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church, located at 1015 Chambers Road in Columbus. Newman also works for the City of Columbus Department of Public Service as a Community Relations Coordinator and has had a career in social services in various Ohio public and nonprofit sectors spanning more than a decade.
He also served on the PLSD Diversity Leadership Committee (now known as the Pride Committee) to assist the district with the creation and implementation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) programming.
Newman is a 2014 graduate of the African American Leadership Academy and a 2021 graduate of the United Way of Central Ohio Project PRIDE/Diversity program. He currently serves on the board of trustees for the Africentric Personal Development Shop (APDS), a behavioral healthcare center specializing in substance use disorders and domestic violence prevention.
The family has also been active in community sports.
Why do people endorse Charles Newman?
“I’ve known Charles and his family for over 20 years,” said Peg Miller, former assistant principal at Pickerington North. “You can’t have great leadership without great character, and he demonstrates both. He values the truth, accountability, and cooperation which are all attributes needed to be an effective board member.”
Newman listens to all viewpoints to find a common ground, Miller said.
“He will be a fantastic board member because he is in it to improve respect, responsibility and achievement in ALL our students and not just the special interests of a few. We need him to help every student reach their potential and he is capable of that mission!”
Pickerington resident Mark Youngkin, who served on the district’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC), is convinced that Newman would provide the “fresh perspective” that the board needs.
“He is intelligent and committed, and I am proud to support him,” Youngkin said.
Pickerington resident and Pickerington North staff member Lisa DeCarlo also endorses Newman.
“Charles Newman is a wonderful man,” DeCarlo said. “Educated, kind, loving, determined – in my opinion, this man wants to see our community as strong and beautiful as it should be. He appears to have his focus on our students! This is exactly where the focus should stay.”
Tussing Elementary teacher Brian Holland has taught in PLSD for 15 years and has two children currently enrolled.
“We are long overdue for change on our school board!” Holland said. “I believe that Pastor Charles Newman will bring the positive change that we need. He is energetic, enthusiastic, and equipped for the task. He has five children in the district, which makes him vested in the success of PLSD!”
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