Meet Michelle Novak

Michelle Novak is the Democratic Candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives for District 53.

Profession: Organizational Development

  • Self- Employed Grant Writer and Strategic Planner
  • Former Operations Manager, Alzheimer’s Association

Memberships

  • Middletown City School District Board of Education
  • Chamber of Commerce Leadership Committee
  • Middletown College Pledge Development and Programming consultant
  • Masters of Public Administration Alumni Association, Wright State University
  • Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) Urban Network Committee, Black Caucus, Diversity & Equity Committee
  • Montgomery County Public Health, LGBTQ Coalition

Education

  • Bachelors of Science in Corporate Finance, Wright State University (2002, Summa Cum Laude)
  • Masters of Public Administration, Wright State University (2015)

 

Michelle’s Biography

Michelle was born in upstate New York, lived briefly in Houston, Texas and then grew up in Miamisburg, Ohio where she graduated from Miamisburg High School in 1996. After graduating she took a year off and went back to school full-time after having her daughter, Annamarie. While focusing on her studies she also served the community volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House and many other charities and began getting into diversity work with the mentorship of the former University President Kim Goldenberg. While at Wright State she served as the President of the Student Honors Association, an officer with the Finance Club, and was appointed by former Governor Taft to serve as one of the University Student Trustees. Her senior year, she received the prestigious President’s Scholarship. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, Corporate Finance. She interned at MeadWestvaco in Dayton and after graduating worked briefly as a Financial Advisor with AXA. Michelle got married, had her second child, and decided to continue her education in graduate school studying International and Comparative Politics where her interest was in Political Economy and the effects of Neoliberal Economic policy on Democratic institutions. Michelle combined her degree with a Master of Public Administration which she eventually completed in 2015.

Professionally, Michelle has worked as a grant writer and non-profit leader for 15 years. Her primary role has been continuous improvement in helping organizations with strategic plans, project planning, goal setting, and accountability. She also uses her strong financial background to help organizations create funding strategies.

Michelle’s parents are originally from upstate New York. Her father grew up on a farm that has been in their family for generations. Her grandparents operated the farm. Her grandfather also worked for the Utica Boys Club and her grandmother worked for the teamsters union in Utica, New York. Her mother’s family immigrated to the United States from Italy where her mother was the first of her siblings born in the US. Her grandmother worked in a textile factory as a seamstress and her grandfather made a living as a liturgical artist.

Michelle’s mother, Rosaria, was a teacher in the Dayton Public Schools teaching primary grades until she retired.  Michelle’s father, Richard, served in the National Guard as a young man. His career took him into university admissions until shortly after they came to Ohio when he went back to school to study computer science.  He worked as a contractor for Armco Steel and then started his own business consulting with Wright-Patt Air Force Base. After retiring, he began a mentoring program that connected Air Force personnel to students in the Dayton Public Schools. He later replicated the program in Washington, DC.

Michelle has continued her family’s legacy as a strong advocate of urban public schools by serving as an elected member of the Middletown City School District’s board of education.  As a member of the MCSD BOE, she serves on the Finance Committee and as the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) Urban Network representative in Columbus. Because of her active involvement at the state level, her advocacy for underserved students, and her commitment to equity, Michelle was invited to serve on two OSBA state committees: the OSBA Black Caucus and the OSBA Diversity and Equity Committee. On these committees, she continues her advocacy efforts for educational equity, addressing flaws in the state report card, and advocating for equitable funding for public school districts across the state. She works to remove barriers to a quality education so that our schools can better serve our students.

Michelle has gotten involved in her community through coaching youth volleyball, as a youth mentor, supporting the Middletown Promise to provide access for many Middletown students to be the first in their families to attend college.  She formerly served as the treasurer of the Central Academy PTO (TEAM) and she was a volunteer chaplain at Atrium Medical Center. She currently serves on the Montgomery County Public Health LGBTQ coalition and the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Committee.

Michelle recently left her job as the Operations Manager for the Miami Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association after two years in order to focus on her campaign and to go back into independent contracting. She continues to support the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association in her advocacy efforts.  She has a personal connection to the disease through her grandmother who passed away from the disease several years earlier.

Michelle has four children who have attended private schools, online charter schools, and public schools.  She believes that every child is different, families have different priorities, and different educational opportunities are important to meet these needs. She believes that public schools are the perfect fit for her children.  She feels that instead of being supported and celebrated by the state for what public schools are doing to educate and support children, they are often penalized, underfunded, and underappreciated by our state lawmakers. As State Representative, Michelle would like to fix the flawed state accountability system for public schools, fix the flawed state funding formula, and provide more local control and flexibility for our public schools to help fuel innovative educational practices.

Through her role on the school board, through her own life experiences, and in the community, Michelle has seen first-hand the effects of poverty on the opportunities for children and families.  She has seen the effects of the drug epidemic and addiction, the challenges of our current health system, and the impact of state education policy on our local economy. Michelle also understands the issues with a predominantly one-party system in Butler County made possible through gerrymandered districts and how that negatively impacts democracy and accountability. Michelle believes in the benefits of a healthy democratic system and she believes it is important to invest in individuals, families, and education.  She believes it is important to provide access to healthcare services and lifesaving prescription drugs. She believes it is important to have community standards for businesses that want to receive state subsidies and that we need to provide supports for small businesses to grow and thrive. If elected to represent the 53rd House District, Michelle will be a tireless advocate for all in our community so that we can all be proud to call Butler County and Ohio home and she is committed to supporting the vision of the Ohio Democratic Party in the Ohio Promise to build a place where we can all live, work, and retire in safety and security.