Two apply for vacant school board seat

Two native Jefferson Citians — Steve M. Bruce and Ken Theroff — have expressed interest in filling a vacancy on the Jefferson City Board of Education.

The decision to fill the open seat — vacated by Marie Peoples as of Oct. 15 — is now in the hand of the six Board of Education members still serving.

Peoples recently took a new position in Flagstaff, Ariz.

It’s also possible the school board could leave the seat vacant until the April 2014 election.

Bruce and Theroff are the only two who expressed an interest in filling the remainder of the seat’s term, which expires in April. The deadline to submit one’s name was 4 p.m. Thursday.

Theroff is the president and CEO of Jefferson Bank, an affiliate of Central Bank. He has a degree from Westminster College. He is married to Suzie Luetkemeyer Theroff. The couple has three children ages 11 through 15, all of whom attend area Catholic schools.

Bruce works in fiscal management and administrative services for the state Division of Developmental Disabilities. He has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri. He is married to Kim Bruce. The couple has two children, ages 6 and 9, who are enrolled in North Elementary School.

Both men said the Jefferson City Public School District is “at a crossroads,” and both believe the district is facing a series of critical decisions in the upcoming months.

As both a graduate of Jefferson City High School and the father of kids in the parochial schools, Theroff said he’s “definitely been involved in both” public and private schools in the region.

“We have, for a long time, had very strong public and parochial schools. I think we can all agree it’s good for our economy, good for our business community and good for our citizens to have strong public schools,” he said.

Bruce — who is serving on the district’s Facilities Long Range Planning Committee — said school board leaders are going to have to evaluate the district’s resources in relationship with its needs.

“It’s been my impression that people are passionate about education in our community,” he said, noting the community has been engaged in rigorous discussion about the future of the public schools over the past year.

“That’s important,” he added. “There are a lot of smart people thinking” about the district’s challenges “and if we can bring folks together, we’ll be more successful.”

Theroff said his background in business and banking gives him some insight into how to lead the district.

“There are some big decisions to be made. I’m excited by the opportunity to possibly add some value, based on my background in business. It’s a crucial time in our community,” Theroff said.

Bruce noted his “character and faith” inform the decisions he makes.

“It’s important that folks try to contribute to their community and that’s what I hope to do,” he said.

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