How do you make big decisions throughout your life? Lots of thought and consideration, discussions with friends and family, research and, ultimately, following that gut feeling that it’s the right thing to do.
That’s the path Toledoan Brady Hall took to decide to run for a seat on the Washington Local Schools Board of Education this year, albeit, Hall made that decision a bit earlier than most others. He filed his petitions for office on May 18 (his 18th birthday), and he’ll be on the November ballot for his first voting experience (he registered last fall).
Oh, and Hall graduated from Whitmer High School on May 25, and will be attending the University of Toledo this fall. “I’ve been interested in local politics since the sixth grade,” he explained, when a field trip resulted in his favorite teacher losing her job. “I spoke at a Board meeting, and Melanie Garcia (still a Board member today) said I did a good job.” He began attending meetings and fundraisers and making connections. “I guess that today some people know my name,” he said. He has also participated in the Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods, where he met former Toledo Mayors Carty Finkbeiner, Donna Owens, Mike Bell and Paula Hicks-Hudson.
The gut feeling that convinced Hall to run for school board came after the October 8, 2022, shooting during Whitmer’s football game against Central Catholic High School, when a student and two adults were injured. “I saw the district and students unite after this, and I thought that we could turn this into a real movement for change.” he said. He talked with friends about his consideration of running for office. “They knew I had been thinking about running and were really supportive.” Hall is running for one of two open positions on the School Board. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
“Brady brings tremendous enthusiasm, and we really need young people on school boards,” said George Sarantou, Toledo City Council member and co-chair of Hall’s campaign. “Brady brings new ideas, and he knows the students and faculty personally, and what they need.”
Hall held listening sessions with Washington Local teachers and staff, and visited businesses and organizations around the community to learn about the issues facing the district. Those actions have focused Hall’s campaign on three areas:
- Safety: Since the Whitmer shooting, Hall believes there should be a concerted effort to focus on school safety. “The passage of the (bond and operating) levy in 2019 gives us the opportunity to make sure our schools are safe and secure,” he said. “We’ll be able to include check-in areas and other safety features in new buildings.”
- School responsibility: Administrative costs have risen considerably, and the board is still recovering from questionable actions of the past few years, Hall said. “People think board members just show up and vote, but it’s different than that. I’ve been in the community and people say they don’t see their Board members that often. I think this work is the most interesting and rewarding.”
- Advocacy: “My youth is a good factor and being in the school (as a student) is (a) huge (advantage),” Hall said. “We see the Board adding administrators while the teachers don’t even have supplies.”
“Veteran politicians say that at age 18 Hall handles himself very well,” said Matt Zaleski, a consultant with Brady’s campaign. “Brady’s a man among boys, a young man doing it right.”
“He just wants to make things better,” Sarantou added.