October 4, 2021
Pickerington Online’s Meet the Candidates
Pickerington school board candidate Ryan Holstine believes that the top priority for the Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) should be to communicate better with the community and that to deal with overcrowding the district needs a bond issue which would strictly address additional classrooms.
He believes that parents should decide whether or not their child should wear masks, and that there is no place for Critical Race Theory in the school curriculum. He wants to change the school calendar to avoid two-hour delays and to eliminate virtual learning on calamity days.
Community member Tom Jones said that he knows that Holstine is good on his word.
“I’ve only known Ryan a year or so,” Jones said. “but in that year, I’ve learned that he is a principled man. A man with principles will make the right decisions regardless of any external influence. I also know Ryan as a loving father of three amazing kids and will do everything in his power to make their experience as amazing as possible. I’m going to vote for Ryan for all these reasons, but mainly for my own child.”
John P. Colbert, Master Chief Petty Officer, USN, Retired and his wife Terri also speak highly of Holstine.
“Ryan Holstine does not just set expectations for his children – he models them,” John Colbert said. “He walks the walk WITH his family. He enthusiastically leads his family by example in exercise, team spirit, civic involvement, education, the rewards from hard work, church involvement and the importance of family. The pride we feel for him is only slightly less than the love that fills our hearts.”
“Most people use social media in some form and while it will not encompass everyone in the community, I believe that our board members should be using this to communicate with the public with some consistency,” Holstine said. “Simply providing updates on what is going on in the district should be the standard. These updates can be policy decisions the board makes, reminders about deadlines or the school calendar, promoting our amazing students and their accomplishments, or even athletic events or school productions like plays or concerts. PLSD has enough content to fill up social media for days on end.”
As a board member, the community would hear from Holstine daily about what is going on in the district and he intends to respond to as many comments as possible and “either help the individual myself or direct them to who can help them”.
Additionally, Holstine promises to respond to anyone who addresses the board at their meetings.
“If a parent or a community member takes time out of their day to come to a meeting and address the board, they are owed some sort of a response,” Holstine said. “Perhaps the response is an acknowledgement of the situation/issue or the response is to take an action item with a promise to follow up on the issue discussed but everyone should get some sort of feedback. During the agenda time for board comments, I will reply to those that spoke.”
- Improving the school calendar
Holstine said that the school calendar is consistently requiring parents to shift their work schedules around which can be “overly cumbersome”. To help alleviate some of these concerns, he would like to eliminate two-hour delays and end virtual instruction on calamity days.
“Professional development is extremely important to our teachers and administrators, but this is better attained through giving a full day for professional development rather than a two hour late start,” Holstine said.
Furthermore, he said that parents scramble to find suitable arrangements for their kids on calamity days and requiring virtual school only complicates those arrangements.
“If we have a calamity day, the kids should get the time off and we can adjust our school schedule as we have in previous years,” Holstine said.
- Alleviate overcrowding with a bond issue for classrooms only
“School overcrowding is so important,” Holstine said. “Even if we start building schools right now, we will not feel the relief of that for several years. Those will be very challenging years because so many of our classrooms are already at capacity or getting very close to it. Regardless of the election outcome, I have pledged to go door-to-door to gather the necessary votes to get a bond issue passed. Our children need the space, our teachers need a lower student to teacher ratio and I believe our community will step up to support the schools.”
Holstine said that the district no longer has time to try multiple attempts to pass a bond while ignoring the feedback from voters.
“We need to reconfigure the proposal to focus solely on adding additional classroom space and improving the safety of our current buildings,” Holstine said. “Everything else is truly ancillary as the primary goal of our schools is to provide the scholastic education for which Pickerington has long been known. I am very open to asking voters for more funding for the other items that we need to address as a district, but classroom space must come first.”
- Parents should decide whether or not their child should wear a mask.
Understanding that the superintendent and not the board determines the mask policy, Holstine still would like to see the PLSD policy realigned to comply with guidance from the health departments, doctors, WHO, NIH or the CDC with no exceptions. However, given that the district’s current policy is “subpar at best” he said that parents should make the decision based on their individual children.
“I am a firm believer in standing up for rights that we have this country, even if I don’t agree,” Holstine said. “In this country, individuals have the right to choose what is best for them. Right now, there is no law requiring masks and as such that is a choice people have. This isn’t a commentary on if masks work or following the guidance of health officials, it merely recognizes that the right to choose exists.”
- The PLSD curriculum has no room for critical race theory.
Holstine does not support adding critical race theory to the PLSD curriculum.
“Critical race theory is taught at a graduate level, not to students in K-12,” Holstine said. “With that being said, I do embrace diversity. I would like to review the diversity curriculum to ensure that we can be as transparent as possible with our parents, students and community. Over the past year, significant attention has been shown to metrics that would seem to indicate that there are racial issues within our schools. I believe that deeper analysis needs to be conducted. My undergraduate degrees are in Psychology and Criminology and both degrees required several courses in statistics, specifically behavioral statistics. Correlation does not equal causation. Behavior is more complex than a single factor. To understand the issues, we have to dig deeper and look at all the factors that go into education and discipline.”
Who is Ryan Holstine?
“For the first 12 years of my life, I grew up with my mom and siblings in the working-class town of Clawson, Michigan, just outside of Detroit,” Holstine said. “My mother passed away when I was 12 and my siblings and I were separated to live with other family members. I moved to Chillicothe to live with my aunt, uncle and two young cousins.”
Holstine graduated from Chillicothe High School and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Capital University in psychology and criminology. A few years later, Ryan completed his Masters of Business Administration from Franklin University.
After college, he began his career in human services and worked for the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services as a case manager and supervisor. Holstine also deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a Department of Defense civilian.
Currently, Holstine is an IT project manager for a large financial services company. He routinely monitors budgets and financial performance to ensure that his projects are delivered within the provided budget. This involves actively managing resources and scope to deliver exactly what was asked for and within the budget available.
After college, Holstine and his wife, Jessica, settled in Pickerington because of the “reasonable cost of living and the reputation of the schools for our future children.”
Jessica works at a regional children’s hospital and enjoys volunteering in Pickerington. She has coached PYAA Cheerleading and has taught first grade religious education at Seton Parish for four years.
Holstine said that he enjoys the small-town feel of the Pickerington community.
“Despite being a growing city, we still have many qualities of the village we once were,” Holstine said. “I love the diversity of the community and you can find just about everything you need through a walk in our historical downtown or a drive right up 256.”
The couple have three children; their daughter Brooklyn is in 6th grade at Toll Gate Middle School and their daughter, Cadence, is in 4th grade at Toll Gate Elementary School. Both girls are on competitive cheerleading teams at Cheer Athletics. Their son, Jackson, is in 3rd grade at Toll Gate Elementary School and spends much of his time at Pickerington ATA Black Belt Academy where he has earned his first-degree black belt and is currently ranked in the top five in the world for his age group in four different competitive events.
“Outside of being a chauffeur for our three very active children, I train in Taekwondo at the Pickerington ATA Black Belt Academy, and I compete in taekwondo tournaments all over the region,” Holstine said.
The family welcomed Max, a German shepherd, during the early weeks of the pandemic lockdown. Max quickly became part of the family, specializing in “keeping us safe from invading squirrels and lavishing us with puppy kisses”.
“Lastly, I am a bit of a bibliophile,” Holstine said. “I spend a large amount of my free time reading or locating my next book at the Pickerington Public Library. I am always looking for recommendations for a good thriller, mystery or anything related to history.”
How you might know Holstine:
“I have been involved in numerous activities and organizations,” Holstine said. “Community members may recognize me from Seton Parish where I have served in several different capacities including teaching Religious Education, being elected to Pastoral Council and serving as both a Mass Coordinator and a Eucharistic Minister.”
Holstine has volunteered his time over the course of numerous seasons for PASA, PYAA softball and I9 Basketball.
“I served as a trustee on the Winding Creek HOA, getting to know many neighbors and helping make decisions to better our neighborhood and community,” Holstine said. “I have been very involved in the Toll Gate Elementary PTSO for the past five years as the communications and social media chair.”
Additionally, in 2010 he served on the Charter Review Board for the city of Pickerington.
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