Note: The following news release was submitted to Saucon Source by Saucon Valley School Board candidate Joe Harvey, who is cross-filed to run in the primary election. A total of eight candidates–including two incumbents–are running for four open seats on the board. All have been invited to share a statement about why they are running along with a brief biography and photo.
Growing up, I was taught the values of hard work, helping others and giving back to the community. My great-grandfather was the president of the local school board. My grandfather was a veteran, a township commissioner and a fire chief, and my father was a service member and caseworker who helped families in need. They led by their example, and they taught me to do the same.
I’m passionate about education. Ever since graduating from Millersville University with a teaching degree almost 25 years ago, I’ve spent most of my adult life in education. I began my career teaching music, put myself through graduate school earning a Master of Arts and later worked my way towards a Master of Education. Recently, I’ve turned my love of the arts and education into a career as a novelist of works for middle school and high school-aged kids. My first novel was published last year by Sunbury Press, and my second novel is on the way. Writing these novels has given me the opportunity to engage kids at a different level than I’m able to do as a teacher. As a visiting author at events and public schools, I’ve seen kids who are passionate about reading, writing and creating, but they’re unsure or unaware of their potential. They hunger and yearn for something more.
Over 20 years ago, my wife Kara and I moved to the Lehigh Valley. We’ve lived in several communities around the area, but when it was time for us to choose a place to raise our family we chose Saucon. At Saucon, we found a top-notch school district and a small town with similar values that we had experienced growing up. Both Kara and I were raised in Bloomsburg, so we appreciated the idea of our kids growing up in a tight-knit community where they could build long-lasting relationships and friendships with both their teachers and their peers. We also appreciated Saucon’s position in a growing region, which would give our kids many more opportunities than we had growing up. Both my kids have spent their entire school careers at Saucon. My son Zachary will graduate this year as part of the Class of 2017, and my daughter Erica will graduate in 2020. Both of them have been actively involved in sports and the arts.
While my kids were attending Saucon, I decided to earn my elementary teaching certificate, and in 2012 after years of day-to-day subbing took a long-term substitute teaching position at Saucon Valley Elementary School. For four years, I had the privilege of teaching and getting to know many kids and families in the district. I enjoyed attending many sporting events, plays, dance recitals and concerts of my own kids as well as the students in my class. I’m proud of the time I spent as a teacher at Saucon.
We shouldn’t take for granted what we have here in Saucon Valley. That’s why when facing the challenges ahead, I believe we should start by acknowledging that we, the stakeholders who live in the district, are a part of something special. As a candidate for Saucon Valley School Board, I want to ensure that all children have the opportunity to succeed and that each child will be provided with the individual resources that they need.
I’m running for the kids, to be an advocate for them, to give them a voice and to ensure that their needs are met. I’m running to give back to the community, to be a good steward of the resources that it has and to help make it a better place than what it is today. I’m running to help reconnect the people of this community to their school district and to help ensure that their voices are heard. In short, I’m not running against anything. I’m running for Saucon.
I’m asking you for your vote. It’s not a question I pose lightly or that I take for granted because I realize how powerful it is. I believe each of us has the power to change the world—not through big things or spectacular feats, but by how we choose to treat one another and by the little decisions we make every day. But we can’t make a difference if we don’t act. So please, won’t you consider voting for me on May 16? Let’s move forward together: for the kids, for the community, for Saucon.