Hi, I’m Laura Middleton
I have a big heart for humanity. I look for the good and potential in each person. I am running to serve you as members of our community, our kids, and our school district, to the best of my ability!
About Laura Middleton
- I earned my Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialty in Behavioral Medicine from the University of Kansas.
- I completed 2 postdoctoral fellowships (3 years total) – first, at the University of Washington, Seattle WA, and second, at Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma WA.
- Before my graduate and postgraduate work, I earned a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in English with a Women’s Studies concentration and a Spanish minor from Drake University.
- I work at Dayton Children’s Hospital as a Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychologist, and I have been at Children’s for almost 7 years. For much of my time at Children’s, I worked on the oncology team, addressing the mental health needs of kids (and their families) battling cancer. I also work with the GI team, addressing the adjustment and behavioral management of acute and chronic medical issues. As part of my job, I have supervised students, provided teaching seminars, and engaged in community outreach.
- I also own a private practice, Stepping Stones Psychology Services LLC, which is located in Oakwood. I focus on treating general mental health difficulties as well as promoting well-being, growth, and resilience in children in my practice. I also offer consulting services through my practice.
- I have worked in a variety locations and settings, including working as a consultant in schools providing mental health services. One of my colleagues and I developed and wrote a school-based resiliency program. Our program helps kids learn how to identify their feelings, the intensity of their feelings, how their feelings and thoughts and behaviors are linked, how to identify problems, how to problem solve, how to create a problem-solving team with other adults, etc. I have been so proud of this program, especially because it is designed for the natural setting of school.
- During my career, I have also been involved in research, designing, implementing, and publishing the results of research.
- During graduate school, I taught several undergraduate classes (Statistics, Intro to Psychology, Honors Psychology).
- I am most proud of my family! They are my world.
- I have been married to my fantastic husband, Matt, for 17 years! Let me tell you a little about him. He went to the Air Force Academy, although I didn’t know him then. We met when he was in pilot’s training, and I was in graduate school. He retired from the Air Force after serving for 22 years, and he was a C-17 pilot. He now is a pilot for American Airlines.
- We have 2 daughters – Jane, age 11, and Claire, age 9. They are in 6th and 4th grade at Harman. They love so many things – mostly their friends, but also, ballet, DI, art, swimming, Girl Scouts, Adventure Guides, and Red Hotz and Lollipops.
- Matt, our girls, and I moved to Oakwood in 2012, because Matt started a new position as an evaluator C-17 pilot at Wright-Patterson AFB. We picked Oakwood specifically for its amazing schools and community.
- Extended family – I grew up in Moline, IL. My mom and stepfather still live in the same house in which I grew up (almost 50 years!). My mom retired after 40 years of being a college professor. My father was a high school teacher, and he earned a Ph.D. in Education. I have 1 sister who is a bilingual speech pathologist, currently a SAHM; she lives in AZ with her family. I grew up around teachers, and several additional extended family members were in education (e.g., superintendents, teachers).
- I enjoy giving back to my community by volunteering. Here are a few of the relevant services activities with which I have been involved in the last few years:
o Girl Scout leader of Jane’s troop. This is a fantastic group of girls, and I share this role with a friend.
o Served on the board of Christ Church Preschool and Daycare.
o Served on the ADAMHS board.
o Precinct Captain in Oakwood.
o School volunteer – variety of jobs (e.g., lunchroom, guest reader, reader’s helper).
o Church volunteer.
- I also am a life-long Methodist, and we are members at Christ Church UMC in Kettering.
Fun facts about me!
- I must have a latte every morning! And a green tea every night.
- My favorite things in the world: spending time with my family and friends; reading a good book; traveling; and hiking (or really, anything outside).
- When COVID first started, Claire and I watched a Marvel comic movie in chronological every night until we finished the whole series. Such fun! Now, we are unabashedly into everything Marvel.
I have a strong work ethic. I’m efficient and effective in accomplishing tasks and reaching goals. I am also a relational person; I work hard to understand others’ points of view, and I enjoy working cohesively with others.
Finally, I have a big heart for humanity. I look for the good and potential in each person.
Laura Middleton’s Platforms
One reason I am running for the BOE is to maintain and advance a high level of academic excellence in our schools.
I would support and promote programs that maintain and advance this academic excellence. This includes supporting what our schools already do well in addition to encouraging and extending innovative programs, teaching methods, materials and equipment, enrichment activities, and community partnerships.
An important piece in maintaining and promoting academic excellence is ensuring our special education services are meeting the needs of each student. It is essential that students receive the assessments and interventions they need to thrive. I would support what is done well while addressing those areas that need improvement.
An essential piece in maintaining academic excellence is ensuring our special education services department is meeting the needs of each student. Our school district can – and should – make significant improvements in this area. It is time to make Oakwood’s special education services department a beacon of excellence.
I would first gather more information to identify problems and challenges. I would also want to know what is going well. I would team up with parents to hear about their experiences. The goal would be to identify the specific problems and the parts of the process the school district can improve. I would like to evaluate if there are systemic issues that are causing problems including staffing or other resources.
One specific issue is that our district needs a full time Special Education Services director. That way, complete attention could be given to special education services, and any problems that arise could be handled quickly and thoroughly.
Another specific issue that I would like to evaluate is staffing. I would examine whether we have enough staff to conduct assessments and to implement interventions. Moreover, I would work to ensure that our staff have the range of specializations that our students require so that our students can receive services here in our district.
As a parent and a professional, I know the benefits of robust special education services, and it is essential that our school district meets the needs of ALL children.
Social & Emotional
Well-Being & Education
As a Clinical Child Psychologist, I am particularly interested in the social and emotional well being and education of students and staff.
I support initiatives, training, and programs that promote social and emotional health and education. This includes providing support to students and staff as well as promoting resilience and building on strengths.
I support the promotion and education of social and emotional skills that include relationship and community building, perspective taking, empathy, decision making, and flexible thinking. These skills are not only important in developing rich and rewarding lives for our students, but they are essential for students when they enter an ever-changing, globally connected, and diverse workforce.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
One of my platforms is promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in our schools. This means fostering a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment as we believe this is most conducive for learning and growth.
Every single student, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc., deserves a school environment that is safe and welcoming and that is free of bullying and harassment.
Moreover, it is important for students to learn how to engage in civil and respectful discourse with one another and how to thoughtfully consider different perspectives as this will not only benefit them in their personal lives but will help them to be successful citizens in the very diverse world in which we live.
Finally, I would like to intentionally grow, maintain, and support diverse faculty, staff, and students to our schools.
Improved Transparency & Communication
Another platform on which I am running is improved transparency and communication between the community and the school district.
There have been many circumstances in which decisions have been made and/or issues have been discussed without clear transparency or communication from the board to the public. This needs to improve.
An example of this was with the grade point change. Another example was how the district handled teaching solutions during the pandemic. Clear communication and transparency of decisions and the decision making process are essential.
Moreover, there should be more and better opportunities for parents and community members to share concerns with the district.
Working Families and Childcare
Single working and dual working families have unique challenges when it comes to school and childcare. The school district has made several decisions lately that do not take into consideration the needs of working families.
For example, the late notice in the change of the first day of school for the elementary schools was difficult for working families. Many parents could not be there for the first day of school, because they had taken off the original first day.
Decisions made during COVID regarding ½ days and PLP were also hard on working families. My family is a dual working family, and I keenly understand these difficulties. I would make decisions that take into account single and dual working families.
Childcare is essential for many working families. South Connection, which we relied upon when our children were younger, has limited capacity as well as transportation challenges. As such, many families have not been able to secure childcare in our district which is a significant problem.
I would like to find solutions to this problem so that all families are able to access before and after care.
Science Based and Data Driven
As a behavioral scientist trained in science, research methodology, and statistics, I support decisions based on science and data.
I listen to experts in their respective areas, and I rely on their recommendations. I recognize that many situations are nuanced, and it is important to take into consideration various aspects of any situation.
My primary mode of decision making is science based and data driven in order to make the best decisions possible.
Improved Teaching Solutions in the Event of another Pandemic/
I am running for the BOE, in part, to aid in improved solutions in the event of another emergency.
I envision that the district would develop a comprehensive plan for such situations.
This plan would include:
- Effective communication with parents
- Efficient use of technology for remote learning within the district so that children stay with their teachers and peers
- Seamless transition between in-person learning and remote learning
- Flexibility as the circumstances warrant
I met Laura Middleton soon after moving to Oakwood in 2012. A fellow military spouse and working mom with similar-aged children, I was blessed to find a friend I could always count on. Laura is a service-oriented individual, carving out time to be precinct captain, Girl Scout leader, and church volunteer, all whilst being an incredible mother to her girls and clinician to her patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Laura is intelligent, disciplined, well-read, articulate, organized, thrifty and kind. She is truly the embodiment of the person I would choose to make well-informed, ethical decisions regarding my children’s education and practical use of our tax dollars. I consider myself fortunate to have Laura as an influence in my own children’s lives and cannot recommend her highly enough for Oakwood School Board.
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