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UPDATED Sept. 21, 2:46 p.m. Center to Interview School Board Applicants Next Monday

The applicants will be answering questions such as “Why didn’t you run for the board earlier this year?”, “What do you think is the most important role of the school district to its children?” and “Identify two specific issues that you would bring to the board’s attention.” Art Credit: 123rf stock image

Next Monday, four women will interview for one vacancy on the Center School District Board of Education. By the end of this month, one of these women will be on the job.

The school board will interview four applicants — Jessica Bullock, Cathy Jolly, Regina Lowery and Kiva Wallace — during its meeting Monday evening. Interviews are open to the public.

That same evening, the board plans to discuss the candidates and select one to fill the place vacated by Nicole Price, who resigned last July when she moved out of district.

The new board member will start work at the next regularly scheduled board meeting Monday, Sept. 26.

Of the applicants, Jolly has the most name recognition. She previously served as a Kansas City council member for the sixth district at large, a state legislator from the 45th district and a Jackson County assistant prosecutor. Her husband, Scott Taylor, now holds the city council position she vacated and is a former vice president of the Center School District Board of Education. She ran as a Democrat for the legislature, and her campaign site online states she is a fiscal conservative. In addition to her career as an elected official, Jolly is a parent in the Center School District.

Wallace is the former secretary of and an active volunteer with the Education First, Athletics Second Coalition. This non-profit organization provides tutoring, fitness and nutrition services as well athletic opportunities for at-risk youth.  She is also a parent in the Center School District.

Information is currently unavailable regarding the backgrounds of two board candidates, Jessica Bullock and Regina Lowery.

School board members are citizens who volunteer without pay to determine the policies the superintendent uses to administer the district. The superintendent works for them, and they are responsible for tasks such as long-range planning, establishing the salaries and benefits of certified teachers, approving the annual budget and calling for elections for tax levies and bond proposals.

When the Center school board announced the vacancy last month, members also received a list of “Board Candidate Interview Questions”:

  • Why didn’t you run for  the board earlier this year?
  • How long would you plan to serve on the board?
  • Why do you want to serve on the board?
  • What is the primary role of the board member?
  • What would you enjoy most about being a board member?
  • What would you like least about being a board member?
  • How would you handle a controversial situation (give example) where a parent calls you at home?
  • Would it concern you if the media called you?
  • What is the role of the superintendent?
  • What do you think is the most important role of the school district to its children?
  • What are the district’s strengths? What are the districts weaknesses?
  • Name the elementary schools in the Center School district.
  • What would you bring to the board that will answer the questions, “Is it good for the kids?”
  • Identify two specific issues that you would bring to the board’s attention.
  • How would you represent the district patrons, parents, children and staff as a board member?
  • Where did/do your children attend school?
  • How would you demonstrate your advocacy for public education?
  • How many Center School Board meetings have you attended in the last 12 months?
  • What are the challenges facing the Center School District?
  • The Center School District has one of the highest per pupil expenditures int he state ($11,677.23). How do you perceive its value?
  • If you are not chosen as the new board member, what other volunteer roles in the district would you be willing to fill?

Candidates are district residents and registered voters who submitted letters of application by the September 6 deadline stating their qualifications and reasons for wanting to serve on the board. Because Ms. Price resigned, the board must appoint someone to fill her place until the term expires on April 10, 2012.

After an appointment is made, voters will have elected only five of the seven Center School District board members. Last May, Steve Stricklin received an appointment to replace Jolly’s husband, Scott Taylor, who resigned to accept his city council position.

Board candidate interviews will take place during the board’s special meeting and work session scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Boone Elementary School; 8817 Wornall Road; Kansas City, MO 64114.

UPDATE Sept. 13, 3:55 p.m.: According to Park Hill School District Board of Education President Denise Schnell, the board decided last night to interview search firms. The search firm they decide upon will help them hire a new superintendent. The next step in the process is to interview three search firms. Interviews will take place at a special meeting sest for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20.

UPDATE Sept. 21, 2:46 p.m.: Cathy Jolly is the newly appointed member of Center School District’s Board of Education.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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