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Area school board races draw over 20 candidates

Area school board races draw over 20 candidates

Blair Oaks candidate files at deadline

January 16th, 2019 by Phillip Sitter and Danisha Hogue in Local News

Twenty-one people have filed as candidates in school board races around the Jefferson City area.

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Blair Oaks R-2

The Blair Oaks R-2 district reported one new Board of Education candidate had filed on Tuesday, the last day of filing for the April election.

Tim Luebbering was reported to have filed for one of two two-year positions available on Blair Oaks' board. The News Tribune tried to contact Luebbering on Tuesday evening, but did not receive a response before print.

Luebbering is one of five candidates running for the two two-year positions available.

Mark Brandt is an incumbent board member, who was selected by the board to fill a vacancy and was sworn in last July.

Brandt works for Ameren Missouri and supervises for the Missouri Gas Operations. He previously served on the St. Stanislaus School Board as a member and president and on the Jefferson City YMCA Board of Directors.

He and his wife have three children — two of whom attend Blair Oaks High School — and their family has lived in the district since 1999.

Brandt said last year of his motivation for serving on the board that he feels a responsibility to give back to the community.

Jason Paulsmeyer is an incumbent board member, who was selected by the board to fill a vacancy and was sworn in last July.

Paulsmeyer is the chief counsel for the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System. He represents Cole County as a member of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors and serves as the Benefits Section Steering Committee chairperson for the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys. He is also involved with various other community groups and activities, including coaching youth sports teams.

Paulsmeyer and his wife have two children in the district, and their family has lived in the district since 2011.

Beyond his two children, Paulsmeyer said last year his motivation for serving on the board is to serve the Blair Oaks community and offer "positive impacts and viewpoints."

Dale Verslues said he was born and raised in the Taos area and has lived there all his life. Verslues has been retired two years from a 40-year career as a union carpenter, which also included serving as a business representative for the union.

He is a 1975 Blair Oaks graduate, and said all of his five children are graduates from Blair Oaks. Of he and his wife's 12 grandchildren, three currently attend the district.

Verslues was formerly the president of the Blair Oaks Athletic Booster Club in the 1990s and early 2000s, and said he wants to get more involved with the school district again in the time made available by retirement.

He said he wants the district to grow with the community, but maintain the community atmosphere in its schools.

Calvin Wilbers is a 2008 graduate of Blair Oaks who said he was born and raised in Wardsville and is a 2012 graduate of Lincoln University, where he majored in computer information systems. He is a computer support specialist at the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Wilbers said he does not have any children, but the single greatest reason for him running is to be a part of Blair Oaks again and help continue the district's success for the children of his generation.

Blair Oaks' Board of Education also has two three-year positions available, which incumbent board members Greg Russell and John Weber have filed for. Superintendent Jim Jones said at Tuesday's school board meeting there won't be an election for Russell and Weber since the race is uncontested.

Jefferson City Public Schools

Jefferson City Public Schools did not report any new candidates who filed on the last day of filing for the April election. That means there are four candidates who are running for two available positions on the district's Board of Education:

Steve Brown, who said he lives just outside Holts Summit in Callaway County, retired from the Missouri Farm Bureau in 2003 and then worked for the Columbia Insurance Group from 2005-11 before he retired again.

Brown said he has a son who graduated from the Jefferson City school district, and his son's girlfriend has two children who attend JCPS.

He said he did not yet have all the information he needed to say what the most important education issues are for him when he was asked by the News Tribune last month, but he did say he would be a firm advocate for teachers.

Jessica Green, of Jefferson City, said she works as an administrative assistant in the financial aid office of Lincoln University, where she will be enrolled in the fall.

Green is a 2006 Jefferson City High School alumna and has two children who attend in the district.

Green said she would like to see programs that serve students emotionally, as well as academically, so students are prepared to do whatever they want after high school.

Stephanie Johnson is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, and is a 1989 JCHS alumna. Johnson said, if elected to the school board, she would continue to serve in her role as leader of the Boys & Girls Club.

She has children attending the district, and said she wants to be advocate for all students' voices.

Johnson said her priorities on the board would be to broaden support for students' behavioral health needs, teachers and vocational education opportunities — as well as to make sure the district's opening of a second high school is successful.

Lorelei Schwartz is the incumbent board treasurer, and has served the district in several other capacities over the past 18 years. Schwartz works as a certified public accountant with Schwartz & LeCure.

She is a 1986 JCHS alumna, and has a child who is a senior at JCHS.

Schwartz said she wants to continue to work to get every child reading at or above their grade level and attract quality employees, and to address long-range facilities planning and student behaviors in the district.

Cole County R-1, Russellville

The Russellville school district has three filings for the two seats available for three-year terms.

Shawn Ehrhardt, the incumbent president, has been a school board member for six years.

"I think Russellville has done a lot of great things the last several years — I just want to see some of those things through," Ehrhardt said.

He is a financial adviser at Ehrhardt Financial in Jefferson City and has two children in the Cole R-1 district.

"Having a finance background, (I would) be able to hopefully make the best decision for kids and taxpayers for the district to get the best education for kids."

Elaine Buschjost retired from the district in 2015 as Cole R-1 former principal. She said she has firsthand experience she would apply as a board member. She is currently working for U.S. Department of Education as a member of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

"I am a retired educator of 30 years and retired from Russellville, I went to school at Russellville K-12 as did all of my five siblings," Buschjost said. "I live in the community so I have a vested interest in the school. I also want to stay connected to education in general. I want to continue to give back to my local school district in that way."

James Case refiled for Russellville a school board position. He has been on the board for three years.

Cole County R-5, Eugene

Voters will have a choice between five candidates who filed for three-year terms at Cole County R-5 in Eugene. Two seats are available, and the two incumbents Charles "Chuck" Angerer and Spencer Hoskins have refiled. The candidates are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot.

Angerer has been on the board for the last three years. He has two children in the district and said, if re-elected, he would like to keep making decisions that are in students' best interest.

"All the decisions that are made affect the kids, and I wanted to be involved in that," Angerer said.

Hoskins has already served a three-year term. He said he originally wanted to increase his involvement with the district and plans to continue this. He has two children in the district.

"I think that if you want to make changes in a school you have to be involved," Hoskins said. He said previously he was a PTO member and involved with Eugene athletics teams.

Deanna "Dee" Smith has one child in the district and three others who are not school age yet. She is currently a PTO member and an employee at MFA Inc.

"I would like to develop a very strong school culture — I would like to promote safe habits, provide a solid education and develop strong character with our students," Smith said.

Kris Graham has been a life-long resident and an alumna of Eugene. He currently has a son who attends the school and said he wants to make the voice of the parents heard.

"(I'm running) just to play an active role in our community and help make improvements in our school district and try to make our voice heard as parents," Graham said.

He said he would make several changes to "help improve safety of students."

Kevin Stokes currently has two children at the school and works as an agent with American Family Insurance in Miller County. He said, because of his involvement in the area, he can relay topics of concern to the board.

"Being on the school board, I can give a certain level of intellect on different scenarios that come up," Stokes said.

Eldon School District

Two candidates have filed for three-year terms on the Eldon School Board.

Connie Davis, a parent of four children in the district, said it was important for her to build on the aspect of community in Eldon. She is a coordinator for research to support sales and marketing at Bayer Crop Science.

"I grew up in Eldon, and I graduated from Eldon and growing up, it was extremely important to my parents to be involved in the community," Davis said.

Candidate Larry Salsman was unreachable before print.

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