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California R-1 school board candidates

by Kaden Quinn | March 30, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Submitted Derek VanLoo

California R-1 School Board Candidate Derek VanLoo

Years with address in the school district: I have lived in California for 20 years.

High school graduated from: Helias Catholic High School

Occupation and title/position: Benefits and Payroll Specialist with the Missouri Department of Transportation

Family: Wife Dena VanLoo and our three daughters (Kaylee, Brooklyn and Megan), all attended and graduated from California.

Leadership experience: I have served on the California school board for six years and currently serving as president for the past two years.

Volunteer experience: I was a past member and president of the California Kiwanis Club and past member of the Annunciation Parish council.

Why run for school board? I am running for school board for a third term because the district is in a transition period where many of the administration personnel is turning over and I believe that we are in need of some stability on the board as the new administrators gets their feet set.

Why is public education important? I believe that our public school system is so much more than just general education. Kids spend more waking time at school between ages 5-18 than they do at home. Many of the lessons that children learn in regard to growing up are not taught to them by their parents. It is important to have a strong school board, an intelligent administration and guiding teachers that are willing to lead our children on a daily basis.

What skills or knowledge do you possess that could benefit the district? My six previous years on the California district school board have given me a great knowledge of what it takes to continue to work with the other board members in guiding the district administrators.

What are the district's strengths and weaknesses? Our greatest strength is certainly our staff, both certified and non- certified. A district is nothing without great employees, and ours are top notch. Match that with our supportive community, that's what makes the school district the corner stone of California. I believe our greatest weakness is to obtain and keep district staff. With wages increasing all around us, it is extremely difficult to keep up with what other districts and businesses are offering for compensation. It is going to be important moving forward that we attract and retain quality staff.

What issues are most important to you? In short, whatever issues effect our kids. A school district can be and is met with many obstacles and overcoming those obstacles, requires critical thinking and communication. I think that I possess both of those characteristics, and that allows me to work well with others when discussing issues that directly affect our school district.

What else should voters know about you before they go to the polls? I think that voters should know that I am not running for the board to pass a personal agenda, nor to make a public statement. I no longer have children in the district and I think that gives me a perspective that is not tainted by gossip or false truths. I feel that gives me the advantage to only look at the facts and not allow outside factors weigh in my decision making.

California R-1 School Board Candidate Jeremy Burger

How long have you been a California Resident? I have been a resident of California for 43 years. After graduating from California R-1 and attending college in Ft. Hays, Kansas, we moved to Prairie Home for five years before moving back to California in 2005.

High School Graduated From: I graduated from California R-1 High School in 1997.

Occupation and title/position: I have been employed with Haile Excavating since 2019 as a Bridge Foreman. I also own and operate JAG Farms which is an agriculture spray service and seeds sales.

Family: My immediate family consists of my wife, Alisha and son, Garrett. My mother, Judy, and mother-in-law, Joyce Heather, both reside in California along with my brother, Andy, his wife, Mandy, and their two daughters, Emily and Ella. I also have two sister-in-laws, Vicki Glenn and Jana Senior, and 2 brother-in-laws, Dale Glenn and Bruce Senior, along with their children.

Leadership experience: As a Bridge Foreman, I am part of the leadership team. In my position, I am responsible for the safety of my crew and a member of a team who works hard to tackle projects of various sizes in sometimes impracticable deadlines.

As a business owner, I am responsible for all aspects of leadership within my business. I must be able to provide excellent customer service while maintaining the day-to-day operations and making sure my business is sustainable.

Volunteer experience: I was a member of the California Youth Football Club for 15 years, serving as a Board Member, a coach, providing leadership, and being a mentor to the children who enter the program. The most important part of this volunteer opportunity is being a positive role model for today's youth.

I am a dedicated and active member of the United Church of Christ in California. I assist with safety inspections for building and grounds.

I have also been a member of the California R-1 Board of Education for the past three years.

Why run for school board? Serving on the California R-1 School Board has been the most significant responsibility that I could take part in as a resident of the school district.

I believe that it is a gratifying job as you get to be a member of a team that is working together to establish educational goals that will shape the future of our community. I want to participate in taking a proactive step in children's education, to help create the goals that are needed to help the children in our school district to achieve their educational goals.

Why is public education important? Children are our future. Public education is essential for a number of reasons. The cost of private schools is not affordable for everyone. Public education provides access to all, diversity, and academic and extracurricular opportunities. Transportation, reduced-priced lunches and academic assistance for those students who qualify are also why public schools are important.

What skills or knowledge do you possess that could benefit the district? I believe that because I am a graduate of California R-1 and a lifelong community member I bring a lot of knowledge to the district. I feel I have a lot of common sense and I love talking to people. Problem solving and finding ways to assist the staff and kids in our district has been very humbling during my time on the school board.

What are the district's strengths and weaknesses? Like every school district, California R-1 has both strengths and weaknesses. It is the intent of the Board of Education to ensure that we are making decisions that best help our district.

What issues are most important to you? With State financial aid declining every year, I would like to look at ways we can cut our operating costs while still providing the necessary day to day roles that are needed. Also, I believe the board needs to look at innovative ways to reward our educators. With raises being nearly impossible because of decreased funding, are there other ways to reward them so that we are keeping quality educators in our school district?

What else should voters know about you before they go to the polls? As a current member of the California R-1 Board of Education and with your vote, I will continue to put the best interest of our children and staff first. I believe in the quality of our children's education and I will continue to fight for the needs of our staff to ensure that they are providing the best education possible.

California R-1 School Board Candidate Ryan Porter

Years with address in the school district: 36 Years

High school graduated from: California R-1

Occupation and title/position: Operations Manager for Lehman Construction LLC in California

Family: My wife and I have six children (one son and five daughters) ranging from 2-13 years.

Leadership experience: As the operations manager for a heavy highway/ bridge contractor I oversee the daily project scheduling, management, and estimating for the company. We employ over 80 great employees and my role is to ensure they continue to have the work needed to provide for their families and ensure they have the resources available to complete the projects on time for our clients

Volunteer experience: This is an area I need to improve upon and is part of why I am running for school board. Over the last eight years, I have coached youth sports for Parks in Rec and have previously worked at the Annunciation Catholic Church Picnic and volunteered some of my time to the California Methodist Church Playschool, but recognize I can do more. I admire those who freely give their time to better our community and appreciate the example they set for all of us.

Why run for school board? I want to help Make Education #1 Again as we come out of this COVID-19 pandemic. I am very thankful to our administrators, teachers, staff and school board members for the leadership they have provided to help keep our children in school and want to help ensure we establish "Common Sense" solutions moving forward. I recognize our nation's education system faces tremendous influence from outside individuals/groups and I want to be an ear and a voice for those in this community on what they believe and what they don't believe is beneficial for our children. With four of my six children and 10 of my 22 nieces and nephews (including greats) attending California R-1, I will be able to keep an internal pulse on the various needs of our district and help ensure there is a proper balance between education, athletics, arts, and technical/vocational interests for all students to have the opportunity to thrive upon graduation.

Why is public education important? As a parent, our number No. 1 goal is to raise children with a good moral code of conduct and to be self- sufficient/productive citizens. Public education helps provide our society with the tools to succeed and our school board needs to ensure the moral integrity of our children's education is never compromised.

What skills or knowledge do you possess that could benefit the district? Good planning and organization have been essential to the successes I have been blessed with in my life. These skills will be useful for the district to help us be prepared for future opportunities and challenges we will face. One thing I have learned through the years that a company can only be as good as the help they are able to attract and secure. I plan to approach the school board the same to ensure we continue to keep and attract high quality educators for our children. As the husband of an educator, I know first hand how much time and effort these men and women put into their jobs for our children and I want to ensure our district recognizes the efforts and sacrifices they make to help our community succeed.

What are the district's strengths and weaknesses? Our district has many strengths but the one I would highlight above all is our administrators and educators. We are truly blessed to have men and women who routinely put our children's needs above their own. We have dedicated people who's extra hours at work routinely go overlooked by the community but I know the passion they bring each day and applaud them for their efforts. Our district's weaknesses are like a lot of other districts in the nation where success is sometimes measured by athletic performance and accomplishments. I want to ensure we have a balanced vision for our district's children to ensure they have the ability to accomplish their goals with or without athletic talent.

What issues are most important to you?

The issues that are most important to me are ensuring our district learns from what worked and what didn't work during these last two years, identify ways to help all the children that were severely affected during that time and provide them the resources needed to overcome the challenges they will continue to face going forward. In addition to this, I want to help ensure our district always strives to maintain high moral standards to ensure we are leading by example for these children so that they can continue to make this world a better and kinder place.

What else should voters know about you before they go to the polls? My goal is to make education No. 1 again and I would like for the voters to know that I would be grateful for their support, and will work hard to listen and communicate their concerns to the district and help find a solution.

  photo  Submitted Jeremy Burger
  photo  Submitted Ryan Porter

Print Headline: California R-1 school board candidates


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