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Position papers: Norton City Schools Board of Education

10/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Matt Collier vs. Floyd (Butch) Easterling Jr. vs. Linda Kloetzer vs. Robert Knight vs. Jason Sams vs. Cindy Webel (incumbent)

Voters living in the Norton City School District will vote for three candidates for Norton City Schools Board of Education in the Nov. 5 General Election. The race is nonpartisan. The information provided below was submitted by the candidates, with their responses to our questions printed as submitted.


Matt Collier

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“I am running for the Norton School Board because basically, because I would like to make a difference in my community. It has always been something that has intrigued me. I finally decided that there was ‘no time like the present.’ With my work history, I believe I can offer some unique perspectives. I was born in Norton, I still live there, and I plan on staying there. I have invested 44 years of my life in the community and plan on many more. My parents graduated from Norton. I graduated from Norton. My daughter will graduate from Norton  I would like my daughter to have the best of all opportunities. I want her to want to raise her kids in Norton and send them to Norton City Schools.

“Norton is a city and school system that I am proud of. I would like to see the reputation of the school continue to grow and prosper.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“Make sure Norton’s academics continue to exceed the state standards. For obvious reasons, academics are first and foremost.

“Help Norton successfully build new schools which gives the students the best access to a proper learning environment.

“Help balance a budget that will allow the correct share of funds be disbursed to the appropriate programs. I believe all students benefit from the participation in extra-curricular activities. It helps the student become more rounded.”


Floyd (Butch) Easterling Jr.

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“I have always had a passion working for our young children. While living in Houston, TX I was involved with our son’s schools for several years, PTO President for three years and Treasurer for 2 years. I have been involved as a youth adviser for children at our church in Akron, a Sunday School Teacher. Served as Scout Master and Explorer adviser while living in Houston, and I know the importance to guiding children and have the right guide lines in place.

“Having three sons my oldest graduating from HISD in Houston, TX and my other two sons graduating from Norton Schools. I have four grand children presently attending Norton Schools, now that I’m retired and have the time to devote to our schools. I feel it is time to become involved to supporting them and the entire student body attending Norton Schools. To make sure, that we keep our excellent rating, and to see how to improve other on going issues that face the district.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

  1. “The two aging Elementary Schools, Cornerstone and Grill are a very high priority both needing to be replaced. With the widening of Cleveland Massillon Road it presents a very serious safety issue for Cornerstone with the loss of some of the playground area. With both the school and playground sitting so close to a very dangerous intersection.
  2. “The football stadium which is also used for soccer and band practices has a similar issue as Cornerstone Elementary school. With the widening of Cleveland Massillon Road it also is presented with serious safety issues, and the liabilities it could face staying at its present location. Moving it to another location to preserve the importance of Football and other sporting events to this community only makes sense, but is also a priority for me on how to achieve this.
  3. “I have been receiving a lot of negative responses talking to different Norton citizens about the Bond issue to be voted on in November, there is a lot of false or misconstrued information floating out there.  I hear the concerns that are felt. I would like to be able to address some of these issues. Yes, we have issues within our city that is causing concerns that does not include our school system. It only makes since that we build a New High School with Stadium for the students in Norton, move the students around to the Middle School and present High School and Primary School, when the State of Ohio …” [Exceeded stated word limit.]


Linda Kloetzer

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“I am running for the Norton Board of Education because I still have a passion for education. For 26 years I’ve been involved in the schools as a parent, volunteer, board member, and now a grandparent. I served on the school board from 1998 through 2005, when the groundwork was laid for eight years of Excellent state ratings. All-day kindergarten was instituted in 2001, and I’m extremely proud that we have provided so many kindergarteners with the best possible start to their education. All elementary schools were reconfigured to K-4 buildings so each teaching staff could plan together and collaborate between grade levels. Curriculum and technology were both greatly improved. Board members, administrators, certified and non-certified staff worked together to ‘do more with less.’ And it is still that way today. Norton City Schools continues to provide an ‘Excellent’ education to students while spending the least amount per pupil of all the districts in the county. What an achievement! I think my experience, historical perspective, understanding of school finance and state funding issues, and staying current on various state mandates will be invaluable assets on the Board of Education.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“My top priority would be to help Norton City Schools continue to provide the best possible education for children. The district has been rated ‘Excellent’ or ‘Excellent with Distinction’ for eight years, but state standards have changed and we must continue to search for ways to improve.

“A second priority would be to stay on top of finances and ensure the district is spending responsibly. Norton City Schools has always been at the bottom of the county in spending and at the top in achievement. With constant cuts in state funding and a still-struggling economy, it will be increasingly difficult to stay at the top. But we must continue to spend district money wisely while still always searching for ways to improve education.

“My third priority would be to ensure the quality of district employees. Our teaching staff has been second to none, and with retirements in the past few years and some looming in the near future, I hope Norton City Schools will continue to attract quality teachers. It’s important that board members, administrators, and teachers all work together to make the district successful.”


Robert Knight

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“Being a life long resident of Norton, and a Norton High School graduate (Class of 1989) and a business owner in the city, I believe that we are in a pivotal time in the community and our schools could use a new vision and new leadership. I believe I could bring, to the board, fiscal responsibility and I have a vision for the future regarding the new high school and sports complex.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“To work toward a new high school and sports complex which would bring pride to the community.

“To improve communication and understand between the school and the community.

“Although Norton schools have achieved excellence in education, we need to continue striving for the best education and opportunities for our students which would assist them in today’s competitive economy.”


Jason Sams

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“Through the years I have been asked by many members of the community to run for the Norton School Board to use my training, dedication, and experience to help secure the safety of our schools for the future. I have a vested interest in the Norton School System both as a resident and a Police Officer to continue to improve the safety, security, and sound fininacial responsibility.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“Safety: I will use my experience as a Police Officer and as a Security Director to ensure that we have the right policies and procedures in place to keep our students and faculty safe within the Norton School System.

“Security: As Security Director of one of the largest employers in Summit County I have the responsibility of maintaining a secure environment for over 2300 employees and a very large customer base. I currently oversee the construction layout for camera systems, alarm systems, and preventative measures to secure our facilities. I will use my experience in design and layout of security equipment to make the current school campuses secure.

“Sound Financial Responsibility: I will make sure that I represent the citizens of Norton in a responsible financial way, and be fiscally responsible when voting on a budget or monetary decision. I will monitor the budget throughout the school year and work closely with the administration and the residents to ensure that the best possible educational opportunity and environment is provided to each student in Norton.”


Cindy Webel (incumbent)

Why are you running for a seat on the Norton City Schools Board of Education?

“I am running for the Norton School Board because I want to continue to serve the Norton Schools and community as I have for 14 years. I have the experience needed to work with our administrators, teachers, staff and community to continue to provide our students with an excellent education while maintaining fiscal responsibility. The state is constantly changing the way we educate our children and we need people with experience to lead our district.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were re-elected? Why?

“My top priority will be and has always been to provide the children in Norton with the best possible education. We are an excellent rated school district and our students have some of the top scores in the county. Our district needs to continue to provide an academically challenging curriculum within our budget. To maintain fiscal responsibility is another top priority. In Norton we have always done more with less. We have been able to provide an excellent education while spending the least amount per pupil of the 17 school districts in Summit County. The third priority is to update our facilities. It is very important to provide our students with up-to-date facilities that can help prepare them for their future as a college student, a person entering the workforce or as a member of the military.”

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