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Four candidates will seek three available seats on the Blair Oaks Board of Education in the April 7 municipal election.

Three seats are available for three-year terms on the board.

Jason Paulsmeyer filed as a candidate Jan. 16, and Tina Lear filed Jan. 17. Incumbents Doug Moeller and Nicki Russell filed in December to seek re-election.

Current board President Peggy Luebbert will not seek re-election.

Candidate filing for the April election closed Tuesday.

Paulsmeyer served on the Board of Education from July 2018 to April 2019. He was one of five candidates who ran for two open seats on the board in last April's election.

He is the chief counsel for the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System. He has lived in the Wardsville area for about 10 years. He has a daughter in seventh grade and a son in second grade at Blair Oaks. He is an active member of the Wardsville Lions Club and the Missouri Bar, and he coaches various sports for Parks and Recreation and the YMCA.

Paulsmeyer said if he is elected, the new high school will be his top priority.

"Our top priority has to be monitoring the construction of the new high school and making sure that it's done in the most fiscally responsible manner possible while also leaving us with a top-of-the-line facility that's ready to enhance the educational opportunities for our students and our educators," he said.

Another goal, he said, is to evaluate how many additional employees the district will need once the high school is built. He would also like to determine the best way to use the existing high school once the new high school is built.

"We've got a lot of opportunity here in Blair Oaks right now with the imminent construction of the new high school and potentially re-utilizing the existing facilities for four different grade levels," he said. "That presents a lot of opportunities and challenges from the board's perspective."

Paulsmeyer said he would like to continue to evaluate facility needs and determine if any existing buildings need remodeled.

Lear is the executive director of two nursing nonprofits, where she teaches board training to nurses. She is a lifelong resident of the district, and she graduated from Blair Oaks in 1997.

Lear has three biological children — one in each school building. She also has three foster children, all toddlers, who she is in the process of adopting.

Lear said she decided to run for the school board for two reasons: She has a child in each building and three who will be students in the future, and it's a pivotal time for the district because of the new high school and population growth.

"My top priority is really the building of the new high school and just being able to answer to the growth of the district while still maintaining the small-town feel," she said. "I think just being able to maintain the standards that we have — the high level of achievement — and also be able to answer to that growth is going to be really important."

Other than that, she said, the biggest issue is not having enough businesses to support the tax base to be able to match the growth.

"But I think that it's really just about continuing the successes that we already have out here," she said. "It's really important to me that the district continues to grow and stay on the great path that it's been on for several years now."

The News Tribune previously published articles including interviews with Moeller and Russell.

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