SIKESTON - When voters go to the polls Tuesday, they will have the task of deciding which three of the six candidates running for the three-year term on the R-6 Board of Education will make the best decisions for the school district, students, parents and taxpayers.
And it won't necessarily be an easy choice to make.
Having served on the Sikeston Public Schools Board of Education from 1983-1989 including two years as board president, Rick Adams describes himself as a dedicated, committed and sincere candidate.
"I can bring to the board the experience of leadership and try to help set a positive direction for the school system," Adams said. "I have experience as a former board member, I have experience in other educational endeavors, working for the Partnership for Outstanding Schools. I have a great deal of business experience that I can bring to the table in the finance industry and in other community activities."
Adams said he is willing to take the time and help instill direction in the school system. "We've been in the state of transition for the last few years, we've had three superintendents in five years. Five of our school board members have three years or less experience and I think we need to get our feet on the ground and create some direction and know where we're going for the school system. We need to do that for the administration, they need to know what we want."
He believes that Sikeston Public Schools is a vital link to the community's future. Without a viable school system, the community will not be viable, he said. "The school system, to me, is a direct reflection of what the community's makeup is and where we're going to go with it. I want to be a part of directing the future of where Sikeston's going."
Randy Bohannon, who's seeking re-election, said he can't think of a better way to serve the school system than to be on the school board.
"I have six years experience on the school board," said Bohannon, a past school board president. "I have a flexible schedule which makes me available for the board meetings. I also have 30 years of roots here in Sikeston. I want people to know that I am an open-minded person that likes to get all the information before making a decision. I am a free thinker and my values, morals and fairness come out in the way that I vote. I want people to know that I love this community that I call home and I genuinely want the best for our school system and community."
Among the things Bohannon would like to see for Sikeston Public Schools, is for the district to develop a reputation as being the best school system for education in the area.
"Also, I would like for Sikeston Public Schools to develop the reputation as being a school with an outstanding staff and outstanding facilities. If we accomplish these three things, success should be guaranteed. I've always believed that people should vote for the person that they feel will best ensure the quality of education at Sikeston Public Schools. I feel that not only have I proven that I am able to accomplish that goal, but I also feel that my experience is allowing me to become more confident in the direction of Sikeston Public Schools."
Greg Colwick said the R-6 District well prepared him and his wife for college. Now he asks the voters to re-elect him to continue helping make Sikeston schools be the best they can be.
"These past three years I have enjoyed working with the staff, parents and administration in maintaining our outstanding school system," said Colwick. "Being a life-long resident of Sikeston I feel with my business and insurance background I can work effectively with the administration, staff and community."
Colwick, who is currently serving as president of the Sikeston Public Schools Board of Education, said his goal as a board member is to provide the necessary support and assistance to the Sikeston Public Schools staff to improve the schools for the next century.
"There are many changes and challenges facing our school district," Colwick remarked. "With your support and vote I will strive and work hard for the citizens of Sikeston."
Julie Crader Dolan said she would like to continue the tradition of a quality education from the Sikeston Public School system to prepare students for future careers.
"School faculty and administrators work very hard to provide a quality education for our children and I would very much like to be a part of this process. I think that my background in law and also my undergraduate degree in the art education will enable me to understand the problems facing our schools today and help to create solutions for problems in order to continue preparing our students for the future."
If elected, Dolan's sights will be on improving test scores by hiring qualified and dedicated teachers, administrators and support personnel and providing competitive salaries and benefits. Also, she said her goal is to provide quality educational facilities, keeping in mind budgeting and financial concerns, and to assist teachers and administrators in discipline issues by providing alternative educational opportunities for students who are unable to function in the traditional school setting. In addition, she wants to work with local law enforcement agencies and the juvenile court systems.
"I really don't have one particular reason why I want to be elected to the Sikeston School Board, there are a lot of reasons. I don't have any complaints and have been very pleased with the educational services provided by the system for my family," Dolan said. "I want to be part of the process. I have become keenly aware of the difficulties faced by educators every day regarding behavior issues and want to help provide much needed assistance to educators. Every child is affected when there are discipline problems in the classroom by loss of teaching time."
A retired educator with 31 years of public school experience, 20 of which were spent in Sikeston Public Schools, Bill Priday is another candidate seeking re-election.
"I feel I have a great deal of background and knowledge that would be beneficial to serve another term as a member of the Sikeston School Board," said Priday. "Because of my past experiences as a classroom teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal and school board member, I feel I can help make decisions that would continue to maintain a quality education for our children and grandchildren."
Priday said if elected he hopes to continue improving test scores, establishing preventive measures for school violence and drugs and providing and maintaining school facilities.
"I feel the citizens of our community have the same interest that I have in maintaining the quality system that we have enjoyed, and my experiences as an educator and a board member for three years will enable me to serve another term."
Mary White-Ross said if elected she hopes to have support from the rest of the board on issues she feels are important and need to be acted upon.
"I would like to see higher teachers' salaries, I would like to see parents take a more active role in the education of their children and I would like to see our students take advantage of the educational opportunity the school system has to offer."
She said her desire to serve on the board stems from her belief that she can be an effective link between her constituents and the board.
"I am a good listener, I have good judgment and I have the students and our community's best interest at heart," she said. "I am a hard worker, very active in my church and I never give up. I love a challenge and I work hard under pressure. I may not have had the opportunity to knock on every door, shake every person's hand or even talk personally with every organization and individual in town, but I have tried to reach as many people as possible."