Five years ago Andy Lewis took some advice from community members, and he ran for the Cape Henlopen Board of Education.
He won the five-year area C seat.
Five years later, he's taking similar advice.
“A group of people have asked me to run because they say I'm the voice of reason,” the 51-year-old engineer said.
Lewis grew up Hockessin graduating from A.I. Dupont High School and later University of Delaware with a bachelor of science degree. He earned a master's degree in science from University of Idaho and worked on a doctorate at University of Maine.
Professionally, he worked for air pollution control in Los Angeles before returning to Delaware to work for a family business.
Lewis Research in Lewes was started by Lewis's uncle, Bob Lewis, who promptly retired after Andy came on board in 1994. The company tests plastics for wear and friction, he said.
Lewis lives in Gosling Creek with his wife, Carrie, and two boys, one a junior, the other an eighth-grader.
He said he has no agenda other than working to pass the referendum for a new elementary school. The district has outgrown its current elementary schools and relies on modular classrooms to accommodate the growing student population, he said.
“The big thing is the referendum for the new school. We need that to pass,” he said.
Overall, Lewis said, he believes the district has made strides in improving education adopting Common Core standards or offering classes focusing on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – and break-out groups for students who need specialized attention.
“We're selecting the best teachers for all the kids,” he said.
Once the new school is built, he said, the district will have to address the condition of the existing elementary schools, whether it means upgrading or replacing buildings. A task force convened a year ago recommending improvements at all four of the district's elementary schools. The board whiddled down the task force's broad proposal to the current plan for a new elementary and additional classrooms built at the two middle schools. After the April 2 referendum, Superintendent Robert Fulton said the task force may reconvene to address improvements needed at the district's remaining elementary schools.
Along with this, Lewis said, the school board will have to balance demographics at all district schools and change starts times at some schools in order to facilitate double bus runs.
The key to making those changes will be giving the public plenty of notice, he said.
Lewis predicts the district would have about 18 months to work out new boundaries for the elementary schools or new school start times before any changes would take affect.
“We don't have a choice but not to do it,” he said. “But we would give people enough forwarning to look into alternatives.”
As of the Gazette's deadline, Lewis is the only candidate to file for the area C seat for the greater Lewes area. Also up for election is the at-large seat held by Sara Wilkinson, who is not running for re-election. No one had filed for the five-year at-large seat as of press time.
The last day to file for election is Friday, March 7, by 4:30 p.m. at the Sussex County Department of Elections in Georgetown.