Spotlight on Elliot Grossman  –

Seventh in a series of BOE candidate profiles

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (October 19, 2021) – Election Day 2021 is Tuesday, November 2, and will be here before you know it. With it will come your opportunity to decide who will serve as the majority members of the Loveland City School District (LCSD) Board of Education (BOE).  Loveland School Board candidates have been trying all kinds of ways to meet the voters.

I have been meeting with each of the candidates for one-on-one personal interviews in an effort to learn who they are and what they stand for. Meeting them face-to-face gives you the opportunity to learn about them in their own words.  Several Candidate Profiles already appeared here on Loveland Beacon and were shared on Social Media outlets. In those personal interviews I’ve asked each candidate the key question: How they plan to do what they promise? The intent of these profiles is to provide some additional insight and information to help you, the voters, make a more fully informed choice at the polls on Tuesday, November 2.

PLEASE NOTE: Use the information to inform your decision at the polls. If you don’t have anything good to say, do not say anything at all!

Most importantly, I ask comments be kept civil and respectful toward


Here is the seventh in the series of Candidate Profiles with the Beacon’s Light shining on candidate Elliot Grossman.

Elliot Grossman, first time candidate for LCSD School Board (Provided)

Elliot Grossman lives in Miami Township with his wife and his daughter. They have been residents since 2006. His daughter is an eighth grade student and has attended Loveland Schools since pre-school. He owns a public relations/marketing communications firm based in Loveland with a focus on serving non-profit school districts and colleges. He formerly worked as a newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania and the state of New York. He ia a former president of the Cincinnatus Association.

Editor’s Note: Elliot Grossman referred directly to prepared notes in answering questions posed for the following candidate profile. He was asked at the start of the interview not to use the notes, but refused the request and read directly from his prepared notes. He was the only candidate to do so. All other candidates answered the questions candidly without use of notes or prepared remarks. Some responses were edited for length.  

Q – Loveland Beacon (LB) –In most recent Loveland City Schools Board of Education elections, members of the board have run unopposed. As you know, there are eight candidates running for three seats this election. Why are you running for election to the Loveland City School District Board of Education?

A – Elliot Grossman (EG) – I’m running because I have something to offer the school district that none of the other candidates have to offer. I’m the only candidate who has professional experience providing communication and community engagement services to school districts. I’ve seen other school districts fail consecutive tax levies and I’ve helped them come back from those challenges. Now it’s time to help my own community, but this time from a seat on the school board. As I’ve told many people, I would regret it if I didn’t at least offer to help by running for school board. With my board service, I would now be focused intensely on my own community. It’s more personal now and frankly the stakes are higher. We’ve got to get this right to move this school district forward. 

(LB) – That’s your motivation for running. You’re saying we’ve got to get this right. What’s wrong?  

(EG) – Well, it’s more important to focus in the future. My campaign is about hope, optimism and restoring trust. This is a great school district, but it’s gotten off track with some poor decisions by leaders. The problem is those poor decisions have led to damaged relationships with the community. Now the district’s number one goal needs to be restoring trust. Without trust, the community won’t provide enough resources to the district. Without enough resources, the students will not get the education they deserve.   

(LB)Your number one priority is restoring trust. How do you do that as a member of the board?  

(EG) – I have a plan. First the district needs to embark on a thorough and formal eliciting process seeking out voices from throughout the community to learn what type of school district the community wants, what are the community’s priorities for the district? Not, what are my priorities? Not, what are the school district’s priorities? Not, what are the administration’s priorities? But what are the community’s priorities? For decades the Lakota School District has held what they call a community conversation. They are led by a neutral facilitator. A neutral facilitator is very important. We need to do that here. Communication needs to be a two-way process. Systems need to be set up to listen to parents, students, staff, and the community on an on-going basis. We need to work extra hard to reach the silent majority, people who vote, but don’t say very much. These conversations are about building a partnership with our community. Second, after we’re sure we’ve sought out voices throughout the community, we need to do a scientific survey; a poll to gauge voter sentiment before putting another levy on the ballot. We shouldn’t guess whether a levy will pass. That could do even more damage if it fails. We need to engage the community and listen to them. Listening is the key part.

(LB) – If building trust is #1 priority, what is number two?  

(EG ) – Number two what?

(LB) – Your second priority?

(EG) – Second priority is to build on the trust. Once we are fairly sure there’s more trust, more unity in the community, then we work on budget priorities and work on facilities. All three work together, but they have to be done, to some degree, not entirely, in sequence because without getting the community’s support, we’re not going to get the resources for students and resources have to do with budget and they have to do with facilities. The budget question and the facilities question, as I mentioned earlier, has to do with the community’s priorities. Not the school board’s priorities, not the administration’s priorities, but the community’s priorities because if we impose things on the community, we won’t get the support. It’s not gonna work. We’ve seen that movie before. It just happened twice; two failed levies.

(LB) – You just talked about three things: trust, then budget and facilities, not necessarily in that sequence, but as three things that have to work together, three things you would prioritize. What I hear you saying is communication and engagement with the community is key, the priority. How do you engage the “silent majority” to which you referred?

(EG) – You engage them by finding people that know them. They’re called stewards. Let’s say in my neighborhood, in the Paxton Woods area, you find five people that know many people in the community. They’re now going to make phone calls, send emails; they send texts to the people in our Paxton Woods neighborhood encouraging them to come to meetings. Now, if these folks are not the type that are going to come to a meeting, then we come to them. We have a meeting in the neighborhood, or we use surveys to get their opinion, or any number of things. There’s dozens of tactics and tools in the public relations field to listen to people to get their opinions. I’ve done dozens of focus groups with school districts on the fairly narrow subject of communication and community engagement. How is the district communicating with you? What could they be doing better? I’ve written reports about what the community thinks about the communication, 100 page reports. The reports represent the voices of parents, employees of students, community members, older adults, as I’ve said members of the clergy. I’ve had a funeral director on a focus group. It works – period.

(LB) – What are you going to identify as the next priority?

(EG) – Well there’s many priorities for the school district and for school board members. We have to be able to do many things and consider many issues at the same time. As I mentioned, my #1 priority, and I hope the entire school board and administration’s #1 priority, is restoring trust. As I mentioned, the other two huge priorities in close proximity to restoring trust are dealing with the budget and dealing with facilities. Beyond that, the school board and administration is always focusing on curriculum and instruction and diversity. We have to talk about all kinds of budget priorities and on-and-on. Of course every school board member and administrator wants fiscal responsibility. If there is a school board member who doesn’t want fiscal responsibility, they ought not to be running. My point is priorities are incredibly important. Priorities of the community are what’s most important because they’re the ones deciding whether to pass levies or not. Things like whether to restore arts and music, teaching positions are important decisions. The decision about whether to restore high school busing is an important decision. Questions about other teaching positions, other facilities; all these things are important, but again it’s not up to the school board or the administration, it’s up to us, as school board member and administrators to find out what the community wants. Let me give you an example where I think this current administration did an awesome job with setting budget priorities and dealing with the money they have, not the money they want. Ninety percent of a child’s brain development happens before age five. I’m thrilled that for the first time this fall Loveland Schools are offering full-day kindergarten for all families who want it for their children. Significantly, and this is really important, the district expanded its kindergarten spots without additional salary costs. After a retirement, district leaders moved a teaching position to the Loveland Early Childhood Center as enrollment numbers dropped in the upper grades. It’s all a matter of setting priorities with limited funds.

(LB)What do you bring to the board to help make better budget decisions?

(EG) – I am not a budget expert. I know that great things have happened in the last year with budgeting. I’ve attended many Loveland School Board meetings. I’ve listened to some of the incumbents speak at candidates’ forums. Mr. Dougherty in particular has some incredible experience with large budgets. One of my strengths is communication and community engagement and good judgement and things like that. One of Mr. Dougherty’s areas of expertise is budget of a large organization. I don’t know everything. My job is to listen, is to consult experts, to ask questions and to make decisions; the best possible decisions I can on any particular decision that comes before me including curriculum and instruction. I’m not an educator, but I have a good sense of what we need from curriculum and instruction, but more importantly, I’m going to listen to the experts, I’m going to listen to the administrators and I’m also going to work with the other school board members to reach consensus on things.

(LB) – Lastly, you talked about facilities. Where are you on facilities?

(EG) – I’ve mentioned this in the interview. It’s up to the community what our priorities are on facilities. Now, I think many people who have been in Loveland Elementary School and Loveland Intermediate School repeatedly know that those schools are very old and there are some challenges for those schools. So, we would need to ask the community if it is a priority of the community to improve those schools or to replace them. Again, it’s not my decision, it’s the community’s decision. 

Final Question: To Elliot for all of you:

(LB) – I am a Loveland City School District voter, why should I vote for Elliot Grossman.

(EG) – As I mentioned, I am the only candidate with professional experience providing communication and community engagement services to school districts. With me, you get someone with deep experience with school districts who has helped school districts recover from consecutive levy defeats. As a newspaper reporter and a consultant to school districts, I’ve attended or participated in hundreds of school board meetings and local government meetings in several states. Number two, I will always consider the students and the taxpayers when I make decisions, not just the students. . . I want a wonderful education for our students, but the taxpayers also need to be considered because they’re the ones providing the resources. I know what needs to be done to move this district forward. I have the experience, the determination, and the ability to listen to the community to unite the community. I hope voters will vote for me.

“I’d like to talk about social-emotional learning. It’s crucial whether it is in the classroom or someplace else. A child with social-emotional problems cannot learn effectively.  They might disturb the classroom. They might have to be removed from regular classes. We certainly don’t want it to get that far if possible. It’s important that we intervene with students that have behavioral problems at the earliest possible moment. That’s why I’m grateful the Loveland Schools have counselors on staff that help with those problems. That’s why I’m grateful the Loveland District has a contract with The Children’s Home to provide additional counseling service for our students.” – Elliot Grossman 

CLICK HERE to visit the website of candidate Elliot Grossman

NEXT UP: The final candidate profile with Eileen Washburn.