Moniteau County's new school board elects are ready to get to work.
The June 2 municipal election saw voters selecting either returning or newly-elected board members for the Boards of Education in California, High Point and Prairie Home. In Prairie Home, Marsha Stewart, Tammy Brandes and Nathan Alpers were elected. For High Point, voters selected Melanie Porter, George Wyrick and Travis Pearson. And in California, the school board's new members are Paul Bloch, Brandy Brockes and Landon Porter.
Members were grateful that their communities believed in them to serve on the board and to help keep their school districts strong.
"I was very happy the community had enough faith in me to vote me in along with the other two individuals," Alpers said. "I'm just happy that everyone had enough support in me to sit on the school board."
They're ready for the schools to open back and to get started on the next school year.
"I was very excited," Melanie Porter said. "Our superintendent called me when he found out so I could hear it from him first. My first thought was 'time to get back to work!'"
Some returning members are looking forward to continuing on making their district strong and preparing students for the future ahead of them.
"I enjoy being on the school board," Stewart said. "I just finished my twelfth year. I will be beginning my thirteenth year. I've been on a very long time; I am president of the board at least up until this reorganization meeting, and we will see where that lays. And I am comfortable with wherever I need to be. I still have two boys in the district and I used to teach full-time, so this is an opportunity for me to stay involved in the school district where my children attend and not teach on-site with them in the classrooms. So it's a nice way to keep my hand on the pulse of education and see what the district is doing where my kids are involved and help be a part of that. I believe we have an extremely strong district and I'm proud of that."
Being on the school board means a lot to them — some new members said they believe it's a role that shouldn't be taken lightly because a student's education is valuable.
"I think it's an important position," Landon Porter said. "One that you should take seriously and do the best you can."
There's even some who are returning back to the school they went to in their youth.
"It means a lot," Alpers said. "I just want to keep the school going forward as it is. I'm a Prairie Home (alum). School means a lot to me and just want to keep it going."
Overall, they just want to make sure the students are given the most and best opportunities.
"It's a privilege for me to be on the board. I'm amazed by the support I had," Wyrick said. "It feels great to know people of the community trust me to help make this school better. I'm looking forward to working with the other board members. High Point, being a small community, I know all the current members. I'm also excited to work with the kids. So I'm looking forward to helping them as much as I can."
When it comes to the foreseeable goals, board members would like to see all their students succeed and be able to go wherever their future takes them.
"This will probably be my last term," Stewart said. "I think, after a certain amount of time, it's good to switch and allow some other opportunities for an individual who is interested in stepping up. We received a new superintendent this summer and I would like to see that transition go smoothly. I would like our district to remain strong because we're so small. We're able to individualize. It's important that we make connections with all of our students, regardless of age or capabilities, that's important to me. I want to get them prepared for whatever that may be; if they choose a manual trade, if they choose college; I just want us to get them to where they need to be to succeed further down the road. That's my entire goal."
Others would like to see the schools continue to improve and provide the districts with everything they need to excel.
"I would like to see an expansion of the school," Wyrick said. "The school right now is not big enough to meet the needs of our kids. A new addition in the future would be great, although it will be on hold for now."
Though they all can't wait for the school year to start and would like to start getting improvement plans in the works, the most important thing to them is the safety of all the individuals who attend and work within the schools.
"The future of all schools and the way they are ran is obviously a big topic of discussion right now because of COVID-19," Melanie Porter said. "I am thankful I get to be a part of helping decide how High Point School starts school this fall and if there will be any changes. It's such scary times, but I want to make sure we make the best decisions to keep all our students, teachers and staff safe. And Prop 2 didn't pass, but that doesn't mean our issue of 'little space' in the school just went away. I want to continue to make a plan so we can get that necessary space needed for our students. I'm hopeful that if we put this issue on the ballot at a later date when times aren't so uncertain and we can spread the word more, that it will be more successful."
Pearson chose not to comment, and Bloch, Brockes and Brandes did not respond to communication from the Democrat.