After interviewing 23 candidates over two nights, the Akron Board of Education on Wednesday evening selected Veronica Sims to fill its vacant seat.
Sims said she is “humbled” and accepts the appointment with “a great deal of excitement.”
The board is expected to formally adopt the appointment at its meeting Monday night.
Sims replaces former member Ginger Baylor, who resigned to accept a position with U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge’s local office.
Sims, an administrator of special projects and government affairs for Akron Summit Community Action Inc., hopes to build on her experience working with the community to tackle issues related to poverty, as well as providing opportunities to underprivileged students.
She said she looks forward to working with current board members and said she would seek election to continue her service on the board after the remainder of Baylor’s term expires in December.
“I see folks that are very passionate about the same things that I am,” Sims said Thursday, “and seeing a community that creates the environment for our young folks.”
Board President Jason Haas said the selection process was challenging.
“Our choice was difficult because we had a deep and strong pool of qualified applicants,” he said in a prepared statement Thursday. “In the end, the board believes Sims will bring passion and dedication to her role and this will contribute significantly to student achievement and success.”
Sims worked with Haas and other administrators last year on a committee supporting the November school levy. She and her husband are graduates of Akron Public Schools with a daughter in the district.
She received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice/political science and a master’s in public administration from the University of Akron. She served as executive director of the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus in the mid-1990s and held various administrative positions for the Summit County Developmental Disabilities board and Akron Summit Community Action, including director of outreach and community development.
“I’ve spent most of my life working with the community,” Sims said, stating she is eager to end the “compartmentalization” that sometimes insulates schools from the public.
“I think a lot of our public institutions have been viewed, for whatever reason, that we are not accessible,” Superintendant David James said. “And I think that we are accessible.”
James, who commended Sims’ work in promoting the successful school levy, looks to tap into her ability to foster relationships with community and school stakeholders to create a more amicable situation.
“I think that will be a plus with her community engagement experience,” James said.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com.