Malia Lewis for CHUH School Board 2017
- Equity of opportunity and support across our District
- Commitment to balance competing interests
- Work to have all voices heard
- Respect for family choices made in the best interests of their children
- Acceptance of different points of view
Who I am
I am a 13 year resident and home owner in Cleveland Heights who moved here from Chicago with my wife and two children in 2004. We sought and found in Cleveland Heights a welcoming, diverse community in which to raise our adopted African-American children. Of the options available to us, public school was the first choice for our children. They both attended Milliken preschool and are now students at Heights High.
I have been involved in CH-UH public schools in many ways since those early days: from advocating that pre-school at Gearity maintain its NAEYC accreditation and be replicated at other elementary buildings, to helping start the Many Villages tutoring program at Fairfax, and more recently chairing the Career and Technical Education Working Group for over three years.
Why I am running
In my current capacity as a landlord, I am keenly aware of the connection between the quality of our public schools and our property values. I know how hard it is to pay high real estate tax bills. But I am also a firm believer in each person’s responsibility to contribute to the common good, which is why I am running for a position on the school board: my family has benefitted from our public schools and I am ready to give back.
No one on the Board has children currently in our schools. My children are in high school (they began school at Milliken) and I have been active in every level of the District.
My professional background in theatre design and production enables me to: work in a highly collaborative way, manage tight budget and schedules, negotiate personnel issues and union contracts, balance competing interests within limited resources, and maintain a congenial work environment in stressful situations.
Our children should not be pawns in a competition for money and status; they are individuals full of complexity and potential. I know there are no easy solutions when it comes to finances, testing, and accountability. I am not afraid to express unpopular views. As a School Board member, I will ensure that our District does the best we can — given our resources — for all our students. I will continue to lead, that our children may thrive.
What I stand for
I am a staunch supporter of public education as an institution: its embrace of all who enter, its responsibility to forge an engaged citizenry, its commitment to supporting each student’s specific needs, and its training of productive members of the economy. But public education has been undermined by voucher and charter policies imposed on local school districts which siphon off public education money towards private and for-profit institutions. Our hard-earned tax dollars are not benefitting children the way they should. Local School Boards must work together to stem this financial hemorrhage and lobby politicians to change these detrimental policies.
The journey from pre-school to graduation is long and constantly changing. Children’s and families’ needs change over time. Every child deserves the best education we as a society can provide, but each child’s needs are different. Not every child will follow the same path. I am a strong supporter of Career and Technical Education programs which offer students multiple pathways to success: entry-level employment directly after graduation, college credits to make college more affordable, and hands on skills which carry over to any level of continuing education.
Parents know that a single standardized test does not show the range of a child’s knowledge or abilities. Teachers know that standardized testing does not measure the range of learning that goes on in the classroom. And yet, standardized test scores are being used, almost to the exclusion of other measures, to rank teachers, school buildings, and entire districts and to pit them against each other. Research shows that standardized tests measure one thing—and only one thing—extremely well: parental socio-economic status.
What I have done
- Founding member of Early Childhood for the Heights Organization (ECHO), which worked to maintain NAEYC accreditation when pre-school programs were moved from Milliken to Gearity. Advocated for additional pre-school programs.
- Two term treasurer of Fairfax PTA. Tutor with Many Villages at Fairfax for several years. Volunteered weekly at Fairfax library for several years. Collaborated on District-wide Summer Blast-Off events at Fairfax. Production Manager for 5 Fairfax Cabarets
- Two term treasurer of Rox Middle PTA. Sat on parent committee for International Baccalaureate at Rox Middle.
- Currently Treasurer of HH PTA.
- Manager for Heights Cross Country team for second year; organized team fund-raiser as well as concessions and entertainment for LEL meet at Forest Hills Park.
- Formed and chaired the Career and Technical Working Group (now Advocacy Group) for three and a half years. CTE WG researched state CTE regulations and then-current CH-UH practices, wrote a comprehensive CTE Improvement Plan, presented it to Administration and BOE, and have monitored its implementation since.
- Frequent competitor in the Reaching Heights Annual Spelling Bee, sometimes going down in a blaze of glory early on, sometimes holding on until the 4th or 5th round.
- Volunteer on levy and bond campaigns since moving to CH in 2004.
- Currently serving my second term on the Board of Directors for Home Repair Resource Center and on the Program Committee. I also teach plaster repair classes at HRRC and other classes off-site as needed.
- Involved for over 5 years with Fairmount Temple's Congregational Based Community Organizing project, which led to the creation of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a coalition of over 30 congregations working for social justice in the areas of education, jobs, health care, criminal justice, food accessibility, and gun violence.
- Part of the GCC Education team which helped improve literacy and lunch-room climate at Anton Grdina Elementary in Cleveland. Under that aegis, I solicited, picked up, and catalogued thousands of books, made reading-level take-home book boxes for each classroom, and tutored 4th and 5th graders after school.
Cleveland Heights Community Center Speech
Good evening. My name is Malia Lewis and I am running for CH-UH School Board.
Nearly 13 years ago, my family moved here from Chicago for my wife’s job. In Cleveland Heights, we found a welcoming and diverse community in which to live, buy a house, and raise our children. In the CH-UH School District, we found schools which provide high caliber teaching, a wide array of educational opportunities, excellent music and sports, and a commitment to meet each child at his or her level and help that child succeed. Since Milliken preschool, my children have been embraced, supported, challenged, and held accountable for both their behavior and their learning. This is what every parent wants for their children.
I have been active in the District since those preschool days, at both the micro and macro level: from helping individual Kindergarteners learn to read, to leading the Career and Technical Education Working Group. I worked with Early Childhood for the Heights Organisation to ensure that the preschool programs maintained accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children when they moved from Milliken to Gearity. I helped Stew Pharis implement the Many Villages tutoring program at Fairfax. I have served as PTA treasurer at three buildings.
As a landlord, I am keenly aware of the connection between the quality of our public schools and our community’s property values. And I know how hard it is to pay our high real estate tax bills. But I am also a firm believer in each person’s responsibility to contribute to the common good. That is why I am running for School Board: my family has benefitted from our public schools and I am ready to give back.
Our children should not be pawns in a competition for money and status; they are individuals full of complexity and potential. I know there are no easy solutions when it comes to finances, testing, and accountability. I am not afraid to make difficult decisions. As a School Board member, I will ensure that our District does the best we can — given our resources — for all our students. I will continue to lead, that our children may thrive.
Donate by Check
To donate to my campaign, please make checks payable to:
Friends of Malia Lewis
and mail to:
Stewart Pharis, Treasurer
2351 Stratford Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118