SIKESTON -- Voters will see the names of four fresh candidates in the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education category of their ballots Tuesday since board members Steve Millington and Dan Jennings decided not to seek re-election.
Voters will choose two of the four candidates for three-year terms. Candidates are Harvey Cooper, Julie Crader Dolan, Ann Jones and Mary White-Ross.
Harvey Cooper said he feels his experience of running and operating a business under a board of directors for the past 23 years makes him a qualified candidate for the school board.
Since 1981, Cooper has maintained the position of executive director of the Community Sheltered Workshop in Sikeston.
"I deal with all of the same problems that the school will deal with all the time. I deal with transportation issues, insurance issues, personnel issues, profit and loss statements and the ability to function under extreme pressure," Cooper said.
Among the list of Cooper's goals, if elected, is for the school to embrace a full-time alternative school and to have safer, drug-free and violence-free schools.
Cooper attended Sikeston High School, but graduated from Charleston High School and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. He is married to Brenda Cooper and has three children, Heather, Brian and Cody.
Cooper said if elected to the school board, he will bring three things of a positive nature to the district: qualification, experience and commitment.
"As a person involved in the business that I am, you'll find that commitment is something that you can't talk about yourself. Commitment is something that is seen daily. Our children from those with special needs to those who are gifted deserve to have the best education possible today."
Some of the important issues facing Sikeston's school board, according to Julie Crader Dolan, are the state and federal budget cuts to education, school accreditation by Missouri School Improvement Plan, improvement of Missouri Assessment Program scores and compliance with the No Child Left Behind federal legislation. Dolan said the board also needs to address the discipline problems in Sikeston schools and develop a true alternative school to e
ducate students who cannot function in the classroom. "We currently do not have a long-range plan for our school system that considers projected student population, curriculum and staffing needs and an evaluation of building needs with the project income and budget guidelines," Dolan noted.
A graduate of Sikeston Senior High School, Dolan earned a bachelor's degree in art education with a lifetime teaching certificate from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She later graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law and is a certified mediator.
For the past 20 years, Dolan has been an attorney with the private practice Crader, Crader and Dolan. She is married to David Dolan and has two children, Win and Claire.
Dolan said: "I can bring to the school board a great deal of legal, business and leadership experience and will work to help develop long range goals and a vision for the Sikeston Public School System."
Ann Jones said she feels this a challenging time for all involved in education.
"I am a candidate for the Sikeston R-6 school board because I care deeply about our children, our schools and our community," Jones said.
Some of Jones' goals, if elected, will include working to provide a classroom atmosphere that allows the teacher to teach and the student to learn, working to continue high academic standards, provide fair and competitive compensation to retain and attract quality teachers, facilitate communication between parents, teachers and staff and ensure fiscal responsibility in the use of school funds.
A graduate of DeSoto High School, Jones earned a bachelor of science in nursing from William Jewell College. She is married to Dr. Gordon Jones and is the mother of three boys, Charlie, Peter and Ben. Jones is a classroom volunteer and currently serves as a Sikeston Public Schools Booster Club board member.
If elected to the school board, Jones said she would like to examine federal and state issues, such as legislation and recent education budget cuts.
"The federal No Child Left Behind legislation and state standards are requiring more of our schools while at the same time budget constraints are a stark reality," Jones said. "I feel I have the time to devote to studying these issues along with a commitment to common sense solutions."
If elected a school board member, Mary White-Ross said her goals are to become the link between the school board and the community and to talk to parents whenever the opportunity presents itself about the importance of parent participation with their children's needs.
"I want to be a part of our school system," White-Ross said. "I am a good listener and team player. I know how to follow the chain of command and I possess the confidence needed by a school board member when addressing certain issues that will come before the board. I am a broad base candidate for all people."
White-Ross is married to Robert Ross and she has four children, Michele, Sonya, Eugene and Douglas. A graduate of East Prairie High School, she earned a bachelor of arts degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City and a bachelor of science degree from Southeast Missouri State University.
For the past 12 years, White-Ross has been employed as the court clerk for the City of Sikeston Municipal Court Division. She said she has experience in budget preparation and fiscal accountability.
"I enjoy people and work well with the public in the Sikeston area," White-Ross said. "I believe that with my popularity in the community and the commitment to the residents of Sikeston will enable me to serve as a valuable liaison between the citizens and the Board of Education."
Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.