Campaigns are underway for Board of Education seats in ten local districts, and election day will be Tuesday, April 3. The KC Education Enterprise is asking each candidate to respond to a list of questions that may help voters decide how to cast their ballots.
Matthew Johnson, who is running for election to the Raymore-Peculiar School District Board of Education, responded:
1. What skills and experience would you bring to a position on your local Board of Education?
I believe that my work experiences have equipped me with the tools to succeed as a Board member. My BA degree is in secondary math education, which I used for a short time after graduating. Since then I have been in sales, which has allowed me to obtain several other skills. Skills such as working in groups to problem solve, effective time management, organization skills, working with people at different levels or positions to consider the opinions of all involved to make the best possible solution for all.
2. Are you – or have you been – a parent or grandparent of a child in public schools?
I have lived in the Raymore are for the past 7 years. I currently have 3 children in the school district. They are 14, 11, and 8 attending East middle school, Bridleridge Intermediate and Stonegate elementary, respectively.
3. In what school or district activities have you been involved?
I have been involved with some of the PTA activities in each of the three schools my children attend. These activities include field days, dances; meet the teacher nights, seasonal parties, and various other activities. I have also attended other athletic activities such as football games and volleyball matches.
4. How frequently do you attend board meetings, and how long have you been attending board meetings?
I have previously not been able to attend school board meetings in the past due to my work schedule. I have recently changed jobs and have now started attending board meetings.
5. What do you see as the board’s role and responsibility?
I believe the board’s role is to make financial decisions to help keep the district operating effectively. I also believe that the board is responsible to put in place effective and responsible leadership for the district. Policy making for the district is another key priority the board has, to ensure a safe environment where the kids can learn using up to date technology gaining the best possible education.
6. What is the role of the Superintendent?
The superintendent has several roles. A few of the main responsibilities is to implement the policies of the board and provide quality leadership at each educational building. He is also the figure head of the school district to many in the public.
7. Can you – or should you – support a board decision you do not favor?
Since the board is an elected position from time to time there could be issue that you disagree with. I believe that you should only support a decision you do not favor if the public that elected you favors the issue and it does not compromise your principals. If the public does not like your stance on issues they always have the opportunity to reelect you or vote someone else in your place.
8. What are some of the challenges currently facing your district?
The Raymore-Peculiar district is facing several issues just like any other district. Some of the main issues affecting the district are budget concerns, class size, a safe productive learning environment at the upper levels, and the challenge of keeping up with technology.
9. What are some of the district’s strengths and weaknesses?
Every district will have both strengths and weaknesses. The Raymore-Peculiar district I believe, at least at the lower levels, from my experience, has a good strong group of teachers that do care about the students and want the students to succeed and learn. I do believe there are some that are not as strong as others and I have met a few that did not seem as concerned about all their students in the same way. Another thing that I do like about the district is the course offering at the higher levels. It does appear they have several different options for most career paths for the students. Weaknesses are another touchy subject. As with any field you will get people who are strong at doing their job and others that are not. Educators and administrators alike would fall into this category.
10. What do you think is the most important thing board members can do to support children who attend school in the district?
I think that board members can attend school activities and make appearances at the school itself during school hours. This would ensure the board member is in touch with what is going on at the schools and with the students. It would also make them very visible and accessible for the teachers and parents of the students.
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