Lisa Saylor Bio:
Residents of Northgate School District,
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself, my name is Lisa Saylor. I am the third generation of my family to be raised in Bellevue. I attended Grant School through the 5th grade and the “Middle School” (now Bellevue Elementary) for 6th and 7th grade. My class was the first 8th grade class to attend Northgate Junior/Senior High School. I was a member to the GATE program at Northgate and graduated with Honors. I was active in community and school activities from a young age. I was the first student member of the North Boroughs YMCA Programming Committee. I was also a member of the Northgate Marching Band, participated in high school musicals, and was on the yearbook committee. Following high school, I graduated from IUP with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child Development and Family Relations. I later furthered my education and became a registered nurse. I have worked, in a professional capacity with people in all walks of life- from emotionally disturbed children to the geriatric population. I am currently a clinical nurse liaison.
I am married to my “high school sweetheart”, Grant Saylor. We have lived in various areas and made the decision to purchase our home in Bellevue, in great part due to the Northgate School District. We have three children, our two oldest have graduated from Northgate and our youngest is currently a freshman. I am proud to be a band parent and former NRG mom.
You will ask me why I am running for school board. I am running because the overall well-being of our school and our community is important. I firmly believe that a strong school district is key to the success and/or failure of a community. Ultimately, highly educated students are the key to all of our futures. Conversely, the health of a community dictates the ability of a school district to succeed.
One of the greatest concerns I have is the safety of our children in our schools. In today’s world of chaos and uncertainty, we should ensure our children have a secure environment in which to learn. I believe in open dialogue within the community – including between the borough councils and the school board. I am also a strong proponent of the Arts. Studies have shown the benefits of the Arts on brain development, memory and even emotions. I want to ensure our children continue to have the opportunity to benefit from the strong Arts program that Northgate currently provides.
You will also ask me why I feel I am qualified to serve as a school director. I do not have direct experience within the education system. However, those who know me will attest that I am a fair, honest, and forthright person. My profession necessitates strong assessment skills, coupled with the ability to critically think. My biggest strength is my ability to listen to all sides of a situation and facilitate understanding and compromise. With the recent challenges and changes affecting our school and our community, I firmly believe that my background and capabilities will be a great asset to the board. I bring to the table, a nonjudgmental attitude and a desire to move our school forward. I look at the challenges facing our district as an opportunity for growth.
Thank you, again, for the opportunity to introduce myself. I welcome the time to speak with you about your concerns and ideas in moving Northgate forward.
Candidate Response to the specific Questions posed by Liberty in Bellevue:
My vision for Northgate is conceptually simple: to provide 1st rate education while continuing to provide access to the myriad of extracurricular activities currently available to our children. This must be accomplished while balancing the district budget and keeping the tax burden of our property owners at an affordable rate.
Funding is Northgate’s greatest weakness. Northgate is a small school district with a limited tax base. We have a large population of elderly home owners with fixed incomes. In addition, neither Avalon nor Bellevue has undeveloped property where new housing developments could entice families to the district. Young couples do move to this area for the convenience to the city and the small town feel; but unfortunately, many move before their children begin school, opting to attend top ranking Pennsylvania schools located in communities near to us.
Strengths of Northgate include the fact that we are one of the only walking districts in the Pittsburgh area, a strong Arts program, full sports programs, and a small-town community where our neighbors know one another and look out for each other’s children. The small district also allows for each child to have an opportunity to shine. We as parents want our children to have choice access to programs, sports and extracurricular activities that allow them to reach their potential for growth. Northgate is able to provide these opportunities as our students are not just a number.
For Northgate to move forward and become a competitive district, we must work directly with the Avalon and Bellevue councils to formulate a plan to promote and grow our communities. I propose regular meetings, as a group, in order to reach this goal. The subsequent growth will then allow for the increased school funding our district so desperately needs. The time has come for our communities to come together and seize the opportunity for growth to provide an even superior educational experience that will bring families clamoring to attend Northgate School District.