Kingsville R-I School Board has four open seats for the April 6 election.
Candidates running for the vacant seats are listed below.
There are two openings for a three-year term, and candidates running unopposed are Ed Barnett, incumbent, and Daniel Mitstifer.
There is one opening for a two-year term, and candidates for that seat are Chris Truby and Kelly Stout.
Finally, there is one vacancy for a one-year term, and candidates are Keith Higgs and Lindsey Bush.
All candidates were asked the following questions to help Kingsville patrons get to know them better and learn about their viewpoints on current issues prior to the election.
1. What motivates you to run for school board?
2. What challenges do you see facing the board in the short- and long-terms?
3. What distinguishes you from other candidates (i.e. special qualifications, training or experience)?
4. What qualities does an effective board member possess?
1. Kingsville School has a very special place in my heart. Being born and raised in Kingsville, I have so much pride in my hometown and want to support the growth of our school and education of our youth. Having two young children in school, I want to make sure they have the best education and experience. I’m excited to have a chance at ensuring their experience at Kingsville is as wonderful as mine was.
2. These times are challenging and changing fast. Short-term, I believe we are all facing the challenges of COVID-19 and how to best handle the pandemic for the safety of our students, teachers and school staff. Long-term, I believe Kingsville faces the challenges of staying competitive as a place to work and retaining those teachers to spend the duration of their career at Kingsville as an educator, rather than a stepping stone to a bigger school. Bringing pride in our school back to our students and community is a goal I have as well.
3. I am very proud to be a 2003 alumni of Kingsville School, and have since received my Bachelors of Business Administration from UCM. I am invested in this town and the families here. I have been a member of the board for the Rural Healthcare Foundation of Western Johnson County for several years and recently served as an alderman for the City of Kingsville. Currently, I am the recruiter for Cass Regional Medical Center.
4. An effective board member is fair, open-minded, and not afraid of change, while valuing our history and aspiring to make positive changes for the students, teachers and school staff.
1. I have two children who attend the Kingsville R-I School District. I grew up in a small school district and joined the United States Marine Corps. We have lived around the country in some larger school districts with our children. These experiences led us right back to choosing a small school district to settle in and raise our children. I believe the personal touch of a small district is invaluable. My wife and I now volunteer in multiple opportunities around Kingsville. I feel I could make the most impact serving as a school board member, continuing to advocate for the students and the community of Kingsville.
2. In the short-term, I feel fostering an environment that promotes more parent involvement in all aspects of our school is an asset that could really strengthen our community. As for the long-term, I believe hiring and retaining great teachers is a monumental challenge that is extremely important to our children and their future.
3. I feel my current employment as a troubleshooting engineer for a major corporation could be a huge asset for out of the box thinking and problem- solving. I also have experience working through the challenges of special education services and the impact they have on the quality of education a child can receive. I am level-headed and a methodical thinker who believes all children in our community deserve the best chance to achieve their dreams and goals.
4. Receptiveness is a great quality for a school board member, being open to suggestions, as well as criticism. Board members are elected positions and they should speak and work for the people that voted for them. Collaboration and communication are extremely important for the school board and the school administration, these two entities need to work together as a united team for the students. School board members should always strive to improve student achievement through clear goals to better our school and the quality of instruction that is given.
1. I am a mom of three children, all who attend Kingsville school. I want to see changes happen that will affect them, their classmates and the staff in a positive way. I am motivated to serve and advocate for the educational needs of our community and students. I want our school to be successful for our students to prepare them for their future. Also, I want our parents to feel confident that we are providing the best education and opportunities for the students of Kingsville R-1. I believe my passion to help others will shine to help make great decisions for our school, students and community.
2. Short-term, I believe some of the biggest challenges in Kingsville schools is figuring out how to move past this pandemic we have been in, evaluating the ways we have changed to be able to teach students and to see what areas we can improve in to be even more prepared for when it happens again. Long-term, being more than prepared for the next pandemic, taking what we have learned from the past year and applying it to ways to make things even better than before. I personally think our school has done great throughout the past year, but knowing where we can make improvements will only help our students and staff be better prepared. I believe that Kingsville schools have struggled with teacher turnover for a while, I would like to see teachers in our district who are looking for a long-term placement. I believe there should be a process for when teachers leave, to understand why they are leaving to know what the board needs to consider for future hires, or perhaps what changes to consider.
3. I currently have children in all three levels of our school – elementary, middle school and high school. I’ve seen firsthand how each is different and feel that it is good to have an insight into all aspects of the school. I am an active member of the Kingsville Booster Club and have been for two years. Prior to that, I was on the PTO and served as president for three years, PTO secretary for two years, and prior to that, was a member of PTO. I have been an active member of the Kingsville Recreation Club for 15 years and volunteer at the ball park, as well as help with other community activities organized by the Kingsville Recreation Club.
4. An effective school board member wants to improve student achievement, they are accountable and back up their decisions and actions with facts and data. They must be willing to work with others and be able to prioritize. An effective member is someone who can make decisions and agree on certain policies. I feel that an effective member is also one who works well on a team but can bring a unique perspective to the table. They must be willing to listen and hear other’s points. An effective school board member is also someone who engages and advocates within the community and is active within both the school and community to be able to see needs outside of the school. They also understand the community’s values and challenges.
1. I am running for the Kingsville R-I School Board to have a role in providing our students access to the best educational opportunities. Whether it be exploring opportunities in STEM or promoting the trades, such as construction, welding, or automotive.
2. The biggest issue facing the board currently is dealing with COVID, especially as health department guidance changes. Keeping our students safely in school is crucial to providing them the best education.
3. In the long-term, retaining quality educators will likely be the biggest issue. It’s difficult for rural schools to compete with larger urban schools. That is why it’s important for the board to provide the best environment it can to keep those teachers in our district.
4. I believe the most important quality for any school board member should be the consideration of what is best for the students. I want to see our district provide the best opportunities for our students to excel after high school, whether it’s through college or the trades.