Hardaway, Cremer and Weingart to Join Shaker Heights Board of Education; Zimmerman, Williams and Roeder Re-Elected to City Council


Zachary Nosanchuk

Board of Education member-elect Heather Weingart speaks to supporters and campaign aides shortly after receiving news of victory Nov. 7.

Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Lisa Cremer and Heather Weingart will join the Shaker Heights City School District Board of Education and will begin their four-year terms Dec. 31.

According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, when all scanners reported, Hardaway led the Nov. 7 race with 6,359 votes, Cremer had 5,326 and Weingart had 4,059. Incumbent Board of Education President Alex Liston Dykema failed to win re-election with 3,670 votes. Absentee votes, which accounted for nearly one quarter of total ballots, predicted the final result early in the evening.

The Shakerite’s Editorial Board endorsed the three winners in an Oct. 28 editorial.

In his pre-election interview with the Editorial Board, Dykema focused on engaging more community members and having “real” conversations across lines of class and race. He stated his intention to serve a second term as president, a position traditionally held by board members who serve for consecutive terms.

“While I am sorry to be ending my board service, I am confident that Shaker will continue to work towards our aspirations of excellence, equity and exploration and what is best for our students,” said Dykema, who has served on the board since 2013.

Weingart pointed to her experience serving as president of three PTO boards and chairing the district’s 2017 bond issue campaign as evidence of an existing, helpful relationship with the administration. During her Editorial Board appearance, she said that, if elected, she would convene community town hall meetings in order to enhance the district’s relationship with diverse residents.

“I want to thank all of my supporters, and I look forward to getting down to work,” Weingart said in an interview right after results were announced. “I feel like my relationships with all of the candidates are great, and I have no doubt that we will have a base and work from there.”

Hardaway, the only Shaker alumna in the race, a former prosecutor and a professor of law, serves on the district’s first-ever Equity Task Force. In her endorsement interview, Hardaway focused on shifting the district’s approach to reducing Shaker’s racial and socioeconomic achievement gap away from “shortcutting” issues by  “ensuring academic success of all students” irrespective of background. She cited her experience organizing a mentoring program that paired students with professional role models as an example of one way to do so.

“I am glad that the numbers came out in my favor, but I have always felt and continued to believe that what’s best for Shaker is more important than any one candidate winning,” Hardaway said in an interview Nov. 8. “I’m looking forward to doing work that improves the conditions and learning environment for all of our students.”

According to her campaign, Cremer, a favorite of Shaker teachers, earned 500 endorsements and launched her bid on “quality, opportunity, accountability.” She became notable in the community for leading a challenge of  the district’s 2017 decision to eliminate K-4 Woodbury science lab visits and the related teaching position. In her meeting with The Shakerite, Cremer emphasized her background in public health, education, and biology as well as student, parent and teacher input in board decisions.

“I look forward to using my skills and my tenacity to make an immediate positive and thoughtful impact on the board,” Cremer said in a statement that was later posted on her campaign Facebook page. “As I promised throughout my campaign, I will put kids first and ask questions to make sure that we are doing just that.”

Members-elect Hardaway, Cremer and Weingart will replace Dykema, as well as retiring members Annette Tucker Sutherland and Todd Davidson.

In addition, City Councilors Tres Roeder, Anne Williams and Robert Zimmerman were re-elected to the at-large Shaker Heights City Council.

With all scanners reporting, Williams earned 4,979 votes, Zimmerman received 4,952, and Roeder had 4,044. Sarah Megenhardt, the only non-incumbent in the race, tallied 3,322 votes.

“I want to thank the people of Shaker Heights for giving me the opportunity to keep working for them,” Roeder said.

Both Williams and Megenhardt could not be reached late Tuesday evening.

Said Zimmerman, “It’s an honor to serve and an even greater honor to be returned to service. Shaker’s future is very bright and I look forward to doing my part to help reach our goals.”

Journalism Coordinator Maggie Spielman, Copy Editor Andrew Mohar, Opinion Editor Emily Montenegro, Editor in Chief Grace Lougheed and Raider Zone Editor DC Benincasa provided reporting.

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