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Red Clay Consolidated School Board - District F

School boards are elected trustees who oversee the local school district and represent the community in matters affecting education. In Delaware, school board service is an unpaid position with a term of 5 years. School board elections are nonpartisan, and are held on the second Tuesday in May each year.The school board…Sets the vision and goals for the school districtEstablishes policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve its goalsHires and evaluates the superintendentAdopts and oversees the annual budgetManages the collective bargaining process for district employeesSets student performance standardsApproves curriculumApproves the school calendarSelects transportation systemsApproves contracts with outside vendorsManages facilities/construction issuesSeven citizens elected by the residents of the Red Clay Consolidated School District serve as the Board of Education. Collectively they set the direction and develop policy for 29 schools that serve approximately 17,000 students. Each board member lives in a separate nominating area, but serves (and is elected by) the residents at large. Terms are staggered; one or two seats are open each year.

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  • Janyce Ann Gill Colmery

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    Kecia Nesmith

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    Rafael Ochoa

Información Biográfica

What is your vision for education in your community?

What is your background and how do/would those experiences and skills allow you to be an effective school board member?

The biggest dilemma in Delaware public schools right now is the reopening of public schools. When should your District resume full classroom instruction, and what is the school board's role in the safe return to physical buildings for students and staff?

Are you satisfied with the education outcomes in your school district such as literacy, numeracy, and graduation rates? If yes, please elaborate. If no, please explain.

What do you believe is a school board member’s role and responsibilities? Please elaborate.

How do you view the Education Equity Lawsuit Settlement currently on the table before the General Assembly?

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Residence (neighborhood/area): Linden Hill Village
Campaign Phone: (484) 693-0040
Related affiliations and roles: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Girl Scouts of America, ASCD, AERA, NAESP, PA Principals Association, NAACP, West Chester University Alumni Association, DASD Diversity Recruitment & Retention Committee Chair
Are you currently a school board member? (Y/N) No
How many school board meetings did you attend last year? Attended several school board meetings for Red Clay & CSW last year.
Brief background bio (a single paragraph): Kecia Nesmith is an active parent, experienced educator, and effective advocate for Excellence & Equity in education. Driven by a passion to serve, she takes pride in collaborating with the stakeholders to provide the best education possible for all students. As a Red Clay Consolidated School District Board Member, her goals include ensuring effective support is provided for students and educators to achieve success, working together to ensure welcoming and positive school environments where all feel emotionally and physically safe, and galvanizing the school community to work together to bridge the gaps of opportunity to ensure that the diverse school community has a voice and influence in the school and district’s decision-making processes.
Website or social media link: http://www.kecianesmith.com
Education within the Red Clay Schools is characterized by Excellence & Equity!

All students, staff, families, and community members work together to provide support for the diverse needs within the schools, create positive, welcoming, and safe learning and working environments, and have high expectations for achievement!
As an parent, educator, advocate, and leader, I am driven by a passion to serve! I have over 22 years as a bilingual English/Spanish educator and have served as a middle school teacher, ESL teacher, assistant principal/principal, and currently as a K-12 Cyber Program Principal. My experience as an educator/leader and University of Delaware doctoral student have helped me to understand the inner workings of the school system and how to galvanize others toward ensuring excellent learning opportunities, creating equitable policies and practices for all, and how to manage resources effectively. As a parent and community member who has lived in various areas in Delaware, I understand the needs of students and families during these times and can empathize and advocate accordingly. Moreover, I work well with others and believe that I will bring a spirit of collaboration, innovation, respect, sound decision-making, and professionalism to my role as a school board member. I'm ready to serve!
Delaware public schools continue to face challenges of meeting the needs and desires of the diverse stakeholder groups with the reopening of schools. The school board's role is to provide opportunities to hear the voices of these stakeholders and take their perspectives, needs, and wants into account as they work to ensure a safe and supportive full school reopening where all students can achieve and feel safe and supported. The School Board must work with the Superintendent to adhere to the guidance provided by the governing bodies and listen to the community's desires in order to provide for all to have a safe return to school buildings. This requires a high level of collaboration, innovation, empathy, and allocation of equitable resources to ensure the success and safety of all who attend or work in the schools during this Pandemic. When we are able to meet these standards, we can safely resume full classroom instruction and should monitor conditions and adjust accordingly.
As an educator, parent, and advocate in education, I understand the challenges that our school system faces with attaining high levels of achievement in literacy, numeracy, and graduation rates. Some of these challenges have been perpetuated by systemic issues and inequities that have been in place for decades. Nevertheless, we must do better. Every student must be able to read, write, understand and apply mathematics skills, and graduate from high school. It is an urgent priority to ensure that we work together with the entire community to motivate, empower, and support our entire school system and community to raise the literacy, numeracy and graduation rates for all students and allocate the resources where they are most needed. I am ready to support these efforts and will not be satisfied until all students achieve better outcomes!
As a school board member, my roles and responsibilities will be to collaboratively set the vision for the success of the district, hire the superintendent and ensure accountability for success of the strategic plan, ensure good stewardship and fiscal responsibility of public funds, and work with other board members to respond to the needs of our students, teachers, support staff, administrators, families, and community members. However, I believe that it is most important for me as a school board member to exude character, communicate with honesty and respect, and keep my 'why' at the forefront of decision-making, which is to serve. I plan to bring a spirit of collaboration and an ethic of care in all that I do. I will answer the tough questions, be responsive to the community, and advocate for policies and practices that will help our schools to thrive! Most importantly, I will celebrate the successes of our district and work towards more excellence and equity!
Equity in education has been a long-standing dilemma and with comprehensive reform to our school funding formulas, policies, and practices, we may move closer to achieving equity. In short, I believe that the Educational Equity Lawsuit Settlement that is before the General Assembly may be a small win for education equity in Delaware, but without changes to the antiquated way in which we fund our schools, these inequities will continue to permeate and further thwart progress for all students and ultimately, impact the strength of our community. It is my hope that there is a collective agreement among all to address the concerns of the community as it relates to equity in schools and how we can ensure proper funding while taking into account how it may affect our community's ability to withstand the financial impact. We must work together to do better! Our kids are depending on us!

"An investment in education always pays the best returns!" -Benjamin Franklin
Residence (neighborhood/area): Hockessin, Delaware
Campaign Phone: (302) 218-2708
Related affiliations and roles: Serves on Red Clay Community Finance Committee
Are you currently a school board member? (Y/N) No
How many school board meetings did you attend last year? Attended several school board meetings for Red Clay School District last year.
Brief background bio (a single paragraph): I am running for a seat on the Red Clay School Board. I have lived in Red Clay for +18 years, am a proud parent, property owner, and have the interest of the community in mind. I intend to listen and advocate for the highest education for all children.
Website or social media link: http://www.facebook.com/RafaelRedClay
I believe our learning centers (schools) exist to provide a safe, developmentally, inclusive environment for “all” students; in addition, foster an environment in which the culture encourages each child to try new and exciting things and gives them a solid foundation to build on to be their best version on themselves. Our learning centers need to continually evaluate opportunities to improve, solicit input from school administrators & teachers, and parents to focus on opportunities and challenges that support the voice and needs of the community. We should aim to provide high-quality education with safe schools that offer respectful and inclusive environments that build on a foundation for lifelong learning.
I am a proud parent, business leader & property owner within Red Clay. I have completed a Bachelor of Science in Management from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; also completed a Master of Business Administration from the University of Delaware. Most of my career has been spent working for the DuPont company within various business units which has given me a broad perspective to understand various industries and customer segment needs. I have traveled abroad and have visited Europe, China, and Latin America which provide me with a global perspective and have a first-hand view of the importance of education for our children as they enter the global economy. I am the ONLY candidate serving on a Red Clay committee; I am currently serving on the Red Clay Community Finance Committee. My broad background and global perspective are assets to allow me to bring value as a school board member to advance our education goals for all children within the Red Clay School District.
The biggest challenge to reopen is taking input from school leaders, administrators, teachers, and parents to understand their concerns & needs. I have talked with many parents and the majority desire schools to re-open given their children are not doing well with remote learning; this has placed immense stress on my families. Additionally, there are many single parents, both single Fathers and single Mothers who feel the impact even greater given they carry the load independently. I believe the schools can open now safely and still offer a remote offering for parents and students who desire remote learning. We need to be mindful of the logistics, staffing levels and not increase an already huge workload on our current teachers; they will need additional support and additional staff to re-open. Additionally, what works for one school may not for another given the building and layouts are different, so we must be flexible on our approach to support teachers, students, & parents.
I believe the Red Clay School District has some of the best public schools; however, there is still much opportunity to do better. I believe that the Superintendent, Dorrell Green has brought some new ideas and is moving in the right direction, and given time we will see improvement. I also believe we need to move faster to improve the literacy, numeracy, and graduation rates; when you look at the historical data the improvements are nominal and lacking improvement. To make significant improvement we will need a global mindset and think about how to increase parent and student engagement to elevate each student's performance. I believe we need a heavier focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics across all Red Clay District schools; most high-paying jobs are technical in nature and we must prepare our students for these jobs. I am passionate about education and plan to work hard to listen and serve the community while advancing educational goals.
School board member's roles include setting the vision and goals for the Red Clay School District and review and adopt policies that provide the district administration with direction to set priorities and goals for Red Clay schools. I believe the best school board members can make the largest impact when they are willing to listen to their constituents (school administrators, teachers, parents, community members, etc.), communicate and find common ground to achieve things that are rooted in educational outcomes. A school board and school board members should also have a “SERVING” leadership style to always remember they are there to serve the community and the students that the parents have entrusted to the Red Clay School District.
For more information about Rafael Ochoa and his priorities..... vist: https://www.facebook.com/RafaelRedClay