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Morning Sun
  • Board hopefuls share thoughts

  • The USD 250 Board of Education election is one of the more hotly contested races this election season, with six candidates, including two incumbents, running for three seats....
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  • The USD 250 Board of Education election is one of the more hotly contested races this election season, with six candidates, including two incumbents, running for three seats.

    Candidates for the USD 250 Board of Education submitted written responses to four questions.

    Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

     

    LaVerne Allman

    Why are you running for office? 

    I decided to run for a seat on the school board because I thought it would be a good opportunity to become more actively involved in education and the community. I know personally how important education is and being a mother it is something I desire for all our children; regardless of race, cultural and with an education there are no boundaries. 

     

    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district, and what would you do about it?

    I think one of the biggest challenges facing the school district is continued education.  Some times the children think after they graduate there is nothing else.  But the children need to realize that they can go to college, vocational school, or begin working. The schools need to meet with the students and parents to prepare our children for success after graduation. Being on the school board as a member, I would be able to support those ideas and encourage parental involvement along with the school board to achieve these goals. 

     

    What are the biggest opportunities for the district, and how would you see them through?

    I think many of these things have already been set in motion. But I would like the opportunity to help the district move forward.  

     

    What sets you apart from your competition, and why should voters choose you?
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    I have been lifelong resident of Pittsburg, attending local schools.  I am black, single parent

    with a different point of view.  And being a minority I am also interested in a good education for everyone.  The voters should choose me because I am passionate about the education of our children and I am a dedicated hard worker.  I have worked since I was 16 and have always worked while I was still going to school.

     

     

    John Clark

    Why are you running for office?

    I grew up in Pittsburg, attended Pittsburg Schools and I know first- hand the benefits of being educated in a pro-active and supportive environment.  I have a genuine interest in the success of all students and would like to continue volunteering my time to the district. 

     

    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district, and what would you do about it?

    School funding continues to be the biggest challenge.  With uncertainty as to the levels of state funding our district has been very pro-active in budgeting and managing expenditures while maintaining high educational standards and top notch facilities.  Pittsburg is very fortunate to have a taxpayer base that has supported improvements to our facilities through multiple bond issues and continues to enhance our facilities with the assistance of private donors.  I believe we will need to continue promoting these partnerships while at the same time managing the dollars we do receive to achieve the highest educational outcome for our students.  

     

    What are the biggest opportunities for the district, and how would you see them through?

    I believe the biggest opportunities for the district include staying ahead of technological advancements, improving student achievement and expanding student educational offerings.   The district will continue to evaluate and improve upon the technology our staff has available to maximize student learning time and overall achievement.  By continuing to partner with PSU and local Community Colleges we will expand our existing offerings of college credit courses and technical training for those students wanting to pursue a college degree or acquire skill development options that enable them to immediately enter the work force.  These opportunities will be critical to the future prosperity of community.
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    What sets you apart from your competition, and why should voters choose you?

    I have a very wide range of experience having served on the Board of Directors for several business and civic organizations in the Pittsburg Community and have held multiple leadership positions within these organizations.  I am open- minded, can think big picture and have a proven track record of being a balanced decision maker.  I have served on the USD 250 school board for over four years and in this time have assisted the district with hiring an outstanding leadership team, promoted fiscal responsibility, supported improvements to enhance student achievement and learning and been an advocate for providing the best educational opportunities for our district.  I would like to continue contributing my time to the district and would appreciate your vote on April 2nd. 

     

    Chris Curtis

    Why are you running for office?  

    I feel like my background as an educator and the fact that I now visit schools everyday in my job give me a unique perspective as to what is working and what isn't in our area schools.  I believe I can be a resource to both the board and the administration as well as a community leader.

     

    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district, and what would you do about it? 

    Funding.  I think that is always the answer to that question.  We have to make sure we are spending our dollars efficiently.  Remove unnecessary spending and prioritize what is the most important for USD 250 kids.

     

    What are the biggest opportunities for the district, and how would you see them through?  

    One of the opportunities I see is some of the partnerships we've formed with local community colleges.  I have some ideas for programs that would benefit both our college bound students and our career bound students.
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    What sets you apart from your competition, and why should voters choose you?  

    I don't have an agenda, I'm not running because I'm mad about something, I'm not running to add the office to my resume.  I can live wherever I want.  I can send my kids to school wherever I want.  I've chosen USD 250.  I think my kids are getting a great education and I just think my background and leadership skills can benefit the district.

     

    Joan Fields

    Why are you running for office?

    As my first term on the USD 250 Board of Education comes to an end, I look back and believe I have provided an effective and positive influence on the USD 250 school district. I utilized my experience in the school district, business organizations and civic community during my tenure and now have 4 years serving on the board to bring back with me. Our district has successfully navigated budget reductions and other challenges, while moving forward with improved curriculum, facilities, evaluation instruments and strategic planning. I served as Board President, Vice President and on various committees for our district at the state and local levels. I understand the time commitment and level of dedication needed to successfully serve as a school board member. I want to continue moving the district forward.

     

    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district, and what would you do about it? 

    The biggest challenge is the unknown funding decisions that will come from Topeka and the resulting budget decisions. I will continue to work to provide the best education and environment for our students and staff. There are many thoughts and ideas on how to deal with the budget and I need to hear them and go a step beyond listening to finding out what the anticipated impact on our students would be. Decisions need to be made by looking at the data and asking questions to ensure we are focusing on the student impact, both in and out of the classroom. Following the different funding laws and regulations and then determining what is best for USD 250 students needs to be the basis for making budget decisions.
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    What are the biggest opportunities for the district, and how would you see them through?

    The community in which USD 250 is housed is one of the biggest opportunities we have. The level of community commitment to our schools can be seen all over the district in the partnerships that have brought and continues to bring facility improvements, the commitment of the USD 250 Foundation and the support of our various booster organizations by both businesses and individuals.

    We have an opportunity in taking the challenge of having a focus school in the district and using the knowledge and skills acquired from that process to improve all of our schools. We can take the techniques learned from the process of determining what isn’t working, why it isn’t working and implementing necessary improvements beyond the focus school into other buildings

     

    What sets you apart from your competition, and why should voters choose you

    I have been an active member of school, civic and business community of Pittsburg since moving here in 1999 and have the experience of 4 years serving on the board. I decided I wanted to serve on the Board as a natural progression of my involvement after serving on PTO’s, boosters, site councils and with other groups within the district. The more involved I became in the district, the more I wanted to help move the district forward and have it be the best district our community can offer.  The school board is a seven member board that makes decisions that impact the future of not only our current and future students but the community. I understand that concept and will continue to be an effective and positive influence.

     

     

    Michelle Hucke

    Why are you running for office?

    To me, being a school board member is an opportunity to be of service to our community.  It is about serving our children, their parents, our educators, and working with administration to meet the needs of everyone in a creative, pro-growth way, with the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing challenges we are met with.  Furthermore, I understand our obligation to ensure students leave our schools being college and career ready with fundamental life skills.  I will support the team I hope to work with by bringing more of a concentration to this area.  With some efforts already being made with the Crawford County Workforce Education Alliance, I know I can be an asset by helping the district set and accomplish objectives through this initiative.  
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    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and what would you do about it?  

    In tough economic times and being in of the poorest counties in the state; our school district certainly faces difficult decisions.  I will make thoughtful determinations needed with a continued focus on achievement, while furthering our proposed vision for future growth.  With tremendous projected enrollment in the next few years, we will experience growing pains. We will need to address these opportunities proactively to compensate.  It is important to keep our class sizes small, so teachers have the ability to bridge meaningful connections with students and the material being taught.  Lastly, one great challenge comes with our responsibility to those children living in poverty.  I support an emphasis in early detection of reading disorders and difficulties so these children don’t slip through the cracks.

     

    What are the biggest opportunities for the district, and how would you see them through?

    Whether they go on to college or enter the workforce as skilled laborers, our children need to be able graduate from our schools with the necessary tools to integrate into the community as productive citizens.  I recently spoke with our superintendent about this very objective; it is one we share.  Destry participates in the Crawford County Workforce Education Alliance on behalf of this district.  This fusion of industry, business, government, and education provides the perfect opportunity to begin preparing students for careers.  I wish to not only support this vision, but to be an integral part of its implementation through our role in the development of the programs decided upon by the CCWEA and the district.  

     

    What sets you apart from your competition, and why should voters choose you?

    I promise to be dedicated to those within our school system and to the citizens of this area.  I know that giving our students the best education possible is KEY to guarantee successful individuals and a successful community.  Achieving success also means supporting educators with what is needed to accomplish goals set forth in the classroom.  With many educators in my family, I identify with the opportunities and challenges they have.  With difficult times to consider, and with having a big vision for the future, we need to elect bold servant-minded people, like myself, who enjoy working with a team and the community.  I have the ability to listen to others and create action.  I hope you trust me with your vote Tuesday, April 2nd.  
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    Robert Wood

    Why have you decided to run for office?

    First and foremost, my daughters future is the reason for all I do.  My life is about serving others.  This is another step in that journey.  I’m a third generation member of the local affiliate of Kiwanis Club International that serves the children of our community and the world.  I’m a proud graduate of George Nettles Elementary School, Lakeside Middle School, Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg State University and Ball State University.  I’ve served at many levels in my educational career and believe that my knowledge and experience can help bring great ideas to the table that support excellence in education and help support the outstanding Pittsburg school system.  The best education happens when parents, teachers, and community members work together for the betterment of the future of our children. 

     

    What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and what would you do about it?

    Many challenges in our school districts consist of outside influences keeping our schools from living up to their true potential.  That’s why my motto is "keeping it local."  Pittsburg has always been my home, that’s why my wife and I returned here after completing our advanced degree programs to start a practice and raise our family. Many issues are taken out of the hands of the teachers and parents and controlled by outside forces that don’t know the needs of the children in our community.  One big issue is properly funding education and making sure funds are used for appropriate programs, curriculum and materials that support instructional excellence.  My goal is to analyze these issues, work closely with my fellow board members, and make sure students and teachers are supported.

     

    What are the biggest opportunities for the district and how would you see it through?

     

    Pittsburg is the educational hub of the four-state area, with an outstanding university preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow in technology, business, and numerous other degree programs.  We also have many local companies that specialize in outstanding educational products sold all over the world.  This makes Pittsburg unique.  
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    I’d like it all to come together much like in the degree program I developed in Indiana where I coordinated the college with local high schools and middle schools to find students interested in specific career paths.  Some of this is being done locally, but I believe we can do more to get students into the university programs and coordinate those programs with business and industry.  Local education and local opportunities will keep our community growing strong.  

     

    What sets you apart from your competition and why should voters choose you?

    I believe my background in education is why I am uniquely qualified for this position. I worked with IU and Purdue to develop one of the first degree programs in Multimedia and Web Design in the nation. I also served as administrator for several statewide committees covering areas of IT, instructional technology, distance learning and curriculum development. 

    I've been a Program Chair, instructor and administrator for a college-level technology program where I managed budgets, curriculum, faculty, staff , high-end computer labs and equipment.  I've been at every level of education and know what it takes to support quality school programs. My love for the Pittsburg community and my educational background are qualities that the citizens require for this school board position. I'd would consider it an honor receive your vote on Tuesday April 2nd. 

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