Vanessa Niekamp

Vanessa Niekamp (sounds like “knee-camp”) grew up on the east side of Columbus, Ohio.

Vanessa has 23 years of government leadership experience. She has managed the Ohio's State Controlling Board, which authorizes adjustments to the state budget; has personally been responsible for a $1.3 billion dollar budget with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office; has collective bargaining experience with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; and was previously the Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, which protects consumers and advances the funeral industry statewide.

Vanessa is currently the Director of Community Relations and Fundraising for the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington.

Vanessa, her husband, and their two young sons live in Pickerington, Ohio, where she is very involved in the community. She is a Past President of the Board of Education, a Past President of the Pickerington Lions Club, a member of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, member of 100+ Women Who Care, and is the School Sector Representative for Tyler's Light a drug education and awareness program.

Why did you choose to serve on the board of education?

Just like every parent, I want the best for my children. I think we have great schools in Pickerington, but I saw room for improvement and wanted to help make that happen.

What have you been proudest of achieving during your time as a board member?

Transparency. I believe our governing body’s decision-making process should be visible to the entire community by having the meetings of the board broadcast to the public. The broadcasts have provided a more in-depth record than traditional minutes, including discussions, board actions, and presentations.

What do you think makes PLSD distinct?

Pickerington is a great community where people truly care about each other. We have strong people who we can be counted on to pull together and take on any challenge.

What has being a board member taught you?

It has confirmed for me that everything begins with a decision. Never let others make decisions for you, because you are the one who will have to live with them.

If you could give one piece of advice to PLSD students, what would it be?

People will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

What is the one thing people don't realize about being a school board member?

Each member comes to the table with issues that are priorities to them, but no individual member has the power to fix problems or decide issues on their own. You need others on the team that share the same priorities to really make a change.