The April 2 school board election for Jefferson City Public Schools is now officially competitive.
Stephanie Sappenfield, secretary to the JCPS Board of Education, said Thursday four candidates had filed since Tuesday, the day filing opened.
There will be two available seats on the JCPS board that voters will choose to fill in April. Incumbent board Treasurer Lorelei Schwartz has filed for re-election; current board Vice President Rich Aubuchon said in November he would not run again.
Stephanie Johnson has also officially filed. Johnson, who is executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson City, announced her candidacy last month.
The two newcomers to the race are Steve Brown, who said he lives just outside Holts Summit in Callaway County, and Jessica Green, of Jefferson City, who currently works at Lincoln University.
Brown said he moved to Jefferson City from Columbia in 1980 to get married, had a son who graduated from the Jefferson City school district, and moved to Callaway County but still resides within the Jefferson City district.
Brown said he retired from the Missouri Farm Bureau in 2003 and then worked for the Columbia Insurance Group as a corporate subrogationist specialist from 2005-11 before he retired again.
He said he has two grandchildren who are 8 months old and 3 years old — too young to yet be in school — and his son's girlfriend has two children, ages 8 and 11, who he said he treats like family and do attend the school district.
"I've always been interested in the education of the kids, because I realize it's the future. It benefits society to educate our children, because sooner or later they're going to be in charge," Brown said.
He added he recently saw news of another person's candidacy for school board, got to thinking about issues and thought "just maybe I could make a difference," adding he's never run for any office before.
When asked what the most important issues are for him or what he hopes to accomplish on the board, he said being new, he doesn't have all the information he needs, but added he would be a firm advocate for teachers.
He said teachers should not have to raise children in addition to educating them — "it's the parents' responsibility for behavior, not the teacher."
Green said she is a 2006 Jefferson City High School alumna and has two children who attend in the district.
She works as an administrative assistant in Lincoln University's financial aid office and added she will be enrolled there next fall.
She said she has never run for office.
"I had actually been thinking about getting in education for a while," she said of her reason for running, adding education is her major.
"I would love to just see some programs that are going to help make sure the students are being served in all aspects, not just academically, but emotionally as well," so no matter what students do after high school, "they have the tools they need" to be just as successful, Green said of her priorities or what she would like to accomplish on the board.
Schwartz said she wants "to continue our work (as a district) to get every child reading at or above grade level. I want to continue working on our facilities planning, long-range facilities planning, and I want to address (student) behaviors in the district."
She added she wants to continue to strive for the district to be premiere through "attracting the best employees we can attract."
She has a child who is a senior at JCHS, and she has served the district in several other capacities over the past 18 years. She works as a certified public accountant with Schwartz & LeCure.
Johnson, who also has children attending in the district, said last month 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.
The last day for any candidate to file will be Jan. 15, 2019, with the election ballot certified Jan. 22.