Gail C. Ralston of Lawrence Township, Clearfield County has announced her candidacy for the write-in position of school director at large for the Clearfield Area School District. Ralston is running to fill the unexpired, two-year term of Dave Galas, who resigned earlier this year.
Ralston says the two-year term write-in is listed separately on the ballot after the four-year term. Since not all names for the two-year term appear on the ballot, Ralston is asking voters of the Clearfield Area School District to write in her name. Voters are reminded that they must use the computer key pad to print her name, “Gail Ralston.” Ralston says election officials at each precinct can assist voters on how to write in her name.
Ralston says, “Seeking election by a write-in campaign is a challenge, especially since so many people have not done this using computer voting. Your willingness to take this extra effort in voting would be greatly appreciated.
“The role of a school board director is one of extreme importance for our school district. Nine local citizens vote each month to determine the educational direction and financial responsibility for our schools. I am asking you to help me take on the challenge and commitment as your school director at large for the two-year term.”
Before being appointed to fill the vacated position, Ralston says she attended the school board meetings during the last couple of years as a concerned citizen. She researched and presented information on topics that included the cost and construction of the administrative and maintenance buildings, current district building use and athletic needs and priorities.
She drew attention to the importance of libraries and having certified librarians, as well as creating adequate cafeteria space and a fully accessible playground. She succeeded in getting the board to re-design the health room space to accommodate the new K-6 configuration.
Ralston is noted for thoroughly researching the various issues concerning the Clearfield Area School District and its students. She presented her findings during the “five-minute” citizen input session at each meeting. In seeking answers, she contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Council of Educational Facilities Planners, Clarion University Administration, certified real estate assessors, local contractors and construction owners, as well as an official of the PIAA (Sports) and the school district.
Earlier in 2013, Ralston was appointed to serve on the school board until the election in November. During those months, she has asked questions concerning the adequate staffing of reading teachers to meet the needs of the students who are reading below grade level. She also questioned the application of the high school comprehensive plan. Ralston also voted “no” for the replacement of the entire swimming pool deck area at the high school at a cost of $90,000. The project is currently on hold.
Ralston and her husband, Fred, reside in Clearfield; both graduated from the Clearfield Area High School. She is a Lock Haven graduate, with post baccalaureate work at Clarion. She retired from the Clearfield Area School District in 2006 after teaching fifth grade at Third Ward, the Clearfield Middle School and the Clearfield Elementary School.
Ralston says, “One of the best gifts we can provide our children is the ability to reach. In our changing world, fewer people remain in one job throughout their lives. They must change jobs and careers either by choice or by an ever shifting job market. They must have skills to adapt to new technologies and to become life-long learners.
“Test scores reflect both our students’ successes and areas of improvement. I want to be involved in making a positive difference in the lives of our children. With your help and vote, we can work on this mission together. One of my favorite quotes is from Helen Keller. It says, ‘I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.’”