The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Downingtown Area School District.
Christopher Bressi is running for school director in the Downingtown Area School District in Region 1, located in Chester County. He is a registered Republican and currently works in higher education as an executive and adjunct professor.
Why are you running for the school board?
“As a school board candidate, the primary reason I am running is to ensure that our children receive the best possible education and can reach their full potential. Education is the foundation of a strong and prosperous nation, and it is essential that we invest in our schools to equip our future leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“Regarding the most important issues facing our district, there are several key areas that require attention. First and foremost, we must focus on improving the quality of education in our schools. This includes supporting our teachers, providing them with the resources they need, and implementing innovative teaching methods that cater to the diverse needs of our students.
“Secondly, we need to address the issue of school funding. It’s vital to ensure that our schools receive adequate financial support to maintain and improve their facilities, technology, and extracurricular programs. A strong and stable funding system is crucial to creating an environment where students can thrive.
“Thirdly, we should promote parental involvement in the education process. Engaging parents in their children’s education fosters a supportive learning environment and helps students succeed academically and emotionally.
“Finally, we need to pay attention to safety and discipline in our schools. Creating a safe and secure learning environment is essential for both students and teachers to excel in their respective roles. By addressing these critical issues, we can work together to build a brighter future for our community and provide our children with the best possible education to prepare them for success in the world.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“I started in the higher education sector back in 1998 as a research assistant and then later as a graduate assistant. Since those humbler beginnings, I have held various senior-level positions, including Academic Dean, Department Chair, Site Director, Director of Education, and National Director. I have had the privilege of teaching Education, Technology, Instructional Design, and Law and Justice classes as an Adjunct Professor around the greater Philadelphia area for over two decades. As an adjunct professor, I have taught both college students and dual-enrollment high school students.
“I hold multiple undergraduate degrees, including a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a public administration concentration. I received a Master of Science degree in Instructional Design Technology with a certification in K–12 Technology Planning and hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Forensic Science. Likewise, I am a current doctoral candidate, All But Dissertation (ABD), with an anticipated early graduation date in 2024, while maintaining a 3.9 GPA and majoring in Instructional Design Technology with a concentration in Educational Leadership. I also recently finished an enrichment program through Yale University and plan to be working towards another doctorate program starting next year if my workload permits.
“Outside of that, I coach many different local sports teams around the area and serve on a local athletic board. Furthermore, I contribute my time and energy to a host of nonprofits. My life and career have been completely devoted to service and helping young people succeed. It is nothing for me to continue to mentor past students years or even decades after I had them in class.
“My academic and technology passions include distance learning, MOOCs (massive open online courses), virtual reality, and augmented reality, and I can bring all of this expertise to the Downingtown Area School District.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“No. I actually dislike politics and would never consider myself a politician. I am running at the behest of concerned parents who approached me five separate times. I said no the first four times. Upon the fifth request, I finally relented, and only if they truly thought I could be of legitimate service.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“I am loosely running with fellow Republican candidates who are like-minded and want the best for our children. Those candidates are Duanne Scavicchio and Rebecca Podhiny. You can learn more about my campaign at my website.”
What is the most important role of the school board, in your opinion?
“In my opinion, the most important role of the school board is to act as a bridge between the community and the school district. The school board serves as the voice of the people, representing the interests and values of the community while making decisions that directly impact the education and well-being of students. The school board’s primary responsibility is to set policies and priorities that guide the school district’s operations. This involves making crucial decisions about curriculum development, budget allocation, hiring and evaluating school personnel, and adopting policies that promote a safe and nurturing learning environment.
“Furthermore, the school board plays a critical oversight role. They must monitor the district’s progress, academic performance, and financial health, ensuring that resources are used effectively and efficiently. Transparency and accountability are essential aspects of this oversight function to maintain the public’s trust in the education system. The board must also actively engage with parents, educators, and community members to understand their concerns and aspirations for the schools. This open communication allows the board to better serve the needs of the community and make informed decisions that reflect the desires of those they represent.
“Ultimately, the school board’s most vital role is to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances. By being responsive to the community’s needs and focusing on student success, the school board can make a positive and lasting impact on the future of education in the district.”
We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions with their school director candidates. Broad + Liberty will post the responses throughout the summer to assist voters in learning about the candidates running in their district. The series is open to any school director on the ballot in November. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty