Stroh says Lodi Unified must focus on 'core skills'

Oct. 5—The Lodi Unified School District Board of Education's Area 5 seat is another post that has been vacated by the incumbent this year.

Board member Ron Heberle is not seeking re-election, and retired teacher Jeff Stroh is one of two challengers looking to replace him in November.

Stroh, who retired from Lodi Unified four years ago, said he is running for the Area 5 seat because he is concerned about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on students.

"Data from the Brookings Institution shows that students have lost substantial ground in core skills like reading and math, particularly for students in lower socioeconomic and under-served areas," he said. "These skills are critical for success in employment and productivity as adults. Systemic issues like under-staffing, high rates of absenteeism and quarantines have resulted in lost instructional time."

In addition, Stroh said he was concerned about the impact of divisive political agendas that could potentially threaten the quality of education in the district.

"We need to focus on what best serves to educate all of our children and young adults," he said. "Without access to a wide range of thoughts and opinions, students will leave school with insufficient ability to think critically and make informed decisions. I would work to make education more inclusive for all students."

Like other former teachers running for the board's other seats, Stroh is banking on his career in education to convince Lodians in Area 5 to vote for him.

Area 5 includes Needham, Reese, Heritage, Lawrence, Vinewood and Washington elementary schools; Liberty and Lodi high schools; Lincoln Technical Academy; and Joe Serna, Jr. Charter School.

"I was in the classroom for over 30 years teaching English as a second language, computer classes, at-risk programs, business math and social studies," he said. "I have helped develop different programs and understand how the district works."

If elected, Stroh said he wants to work to recruit and retain qualified teachers, as well as support them and district staff by assisting in efforts to provide high quality education.

He also wants to rely on targeted instruction and evidence-based research to improve the quality of education.

Stroh would also work with staff to reduce expenditures wherever possible while increasing spending in areas that directly benefit instructional quality, as well as help recruit and keep teachers and staff.

A third generation educator, Stroh has lived in Lodi 50 years.

Both his parents were teachers with the district, as were his sister and

sister-in-law, and his wife Katy is employed by the San Joaquin County Office of Education.

Stroh taught a variety of subjects in Lodi Unified, both as a substitute and high school teacher, for 35 years including history, geography and English as a second language. He and Katy have two children, Ethan and Sophie, the latter of whom recently began working on obtaining a master's in school psychology at Sacramento State. The district can better serve the community by being more inclusive and bringing all parts of our community into the district's decision-making process, Stroh said. Stroh will be facing-off against long-time Lodi resident, parent and Verve Networks office manager Deanne Barth on Nov. 8.

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