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Anne Demo Launches Campaign for State College Area School Board

A former Penn State professor and paraprofessional in the State College Area School District is running for school board.

Anne Demo said in a press release that she will seek one of the five State College Area School Board of Directors positions up for election this year.

After earning her doctorate at Penn State in the 1990s, Demo taught at Vanderbilt and Syracuse universities. She returned to Penn State in 2015 to become a faculty member in the Department of Communications Arts and Science and to raise her son, now a State High junior, in the State College area.

“The SCASD school system has been life-changing for our family,” Demo said. ”So much so, that when I stepped away from teaching at Penn State in 2019, I became a special education paraprofessional at Mount Nittany Middle School so I could find some way to give back.”

The process of supporting students through remote and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic was “personally transformational,” she said.

“I had the privilege to support an amazing team of teachers as they did everything possible to welcome students, keep them safe and support their learning amid compounding challenges,” she said. “It was a mission I believed in to my core.”

Demo called her work in the district “incredibly fulfilling,” but returned to Penn State in 2021 to work part-time supporting graduate students from around the world in the School of International Affairs.

She said her diverse experience has equipped her to be an advocate for student-centered public education.

“As a former parent-member of the SCASD Disability Workgroup, I’m eager to devote the time necessary to learn more about the full governance role of the board and its critical mission of upholding academic excellence and fiscal responsibility,” she said.

Demo added that she will be “data-driven and a careful listener.” Her work helping students through medical and mental health challenges has prepared her to work as part of a team, she said.

She cited her experience as a SCASD paraprofessional as “a defining strength” of her candidacy and said she is excited to put her skills to work “in service to students and in support of teachers.”

The five State College School Board seats up for election this year are currently held by Amy Bader, Gretchen Brandt, Dan Duffy, Jim Leous and Laurel Zydney,

Bader and Brandt are both running for reelection. Duffy and Zydney have not indicated if they will seek reelection, and Leous, who returned to the board after being appointed earlier this month to fill a vacancy, said he would not run this year.

Challengers Dan Kolbe and Aaron Miller also have announced their intentions to run for school board.

Candidates have until March 7 to circulate and file nomination petitions. Primary Election Day is May 16 and the Municipal Election is Nov. 7.