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APS board selects new member

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Veronica Sims filling remainder of Ginger Baylor’s term

Veronica Sims was sworn in as a new member of the Akron Public Schools Board of Education March 25.
Photo: Becky Tompkins
DOWNTOWN AKRON — There is a new face on the Akron Public Schools (APS) Board of Education.

Veronica Sims was chosen by the APS board March 20 to fill the remainder of the term of Ginger Baylor, who recently resigned to accept a position with U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-District 11).

Sims bested a field of 23 who applied for the open seat, a group board President Jason Haas called “a deep and strong pool of qualified applicants.” It took two nights for the board to interview all of the applicants.

Baylor, in her first term, was elected to the board in November 2009, taking office in January 2010. The term Sims will fill runs through Dec. 31.

Sims is an Akron native, West Akron resident and APS alumna, having graduated from Garfield High School. She is also an APS parent, with a daughter who is a middle school student at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® School for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Learning.

The new board member also is a University of Akron graduate, where she earned a bachelor of science in political science/criminal justice, with a minor in sociology, and a master’s in public administration.

For five years, Sims has been an administrator of special projects and government affairs for Akron Summit Community Action Inc. (ASCA), a nonprofit corporation and social service agency that provides services to low-income residents of Summit County.

Previously at ASCA, she was the director of outreach and community development, and before that, administrator of emergency services. She also held the position of regional facility manager, adult services, at the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board.

Sims also has served as executive director of the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus, where she worked with legislators, governmental agencies and public officials across Ohio, she said.

This past fall, Sims served on the levy campaign committee to help pass the district’s operating levy. She said she has long been interested in education, coming from “a strong heritage of educators.”

Sims said she sees the most pressing issue for the school board to address is “creating environments where kids can thrive, places where kids feel safe, even if they’ve been in trouble.”

She added, “The school system does a good job with this, and I believe my skill sets will only help to enhance that.”

She believes that “to discredit or underestimate environment in children’s learning abilities is a mistake. It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry or homeless, or worried about your family.”

She said she sees education as a continuum, going beyond 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in school.

“Every child has the right to learn, live and play in a safe environment,” she said.

Sims was sworn in at the APS Board of Education meeting March 25 by her pastor, Diana Swoope, of the Arlington Church of God, in front of a large crowd of family, friends and well-wishers.

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