EVSD board candidates state views

THURSDAY, OCT. 15, 2009

Three seats – including two incumbents – are being challenged in next election

The race for the East Valley School Board is crowded this year as ballots begin to hit mailboxes this week. The seat being emptied with the retirement of longtime board member June Sine drew four challengers that have since been whittled down to two, Heidi Gillingham and Kay Sieck. Incumbent and board Chairman Kerri Lunstroth will face off against Christie Burton-Hart and incumbent Roger Trainor is being challenged by Roger Cox.

The main issues of the election have been the communication between the board and district patrons and the extreme budget problems a few years ago that resulted in heavy cuts. Since then some of the cuts have been restored as the district recovers, and the candidates have given nothing but praise for the district’s new superintendent, John Glenewinkel.

Each candidate was asked to provide a 200-word statement outlining their qualifications for the position and what issues they believe the district is facing.

Heidi Gillingham

Personal: Gillingham, 40, is a self-described house mom who volunteers at Word of Life Community Church and her children’s schools. She has been married to husband Doug for 17 years.

Statement: I believe that our public school system should provide an environment where you have a true voice in the decisions being made for our students. I will strive to improve communication, teamwork, student achievement and community involvement.

I grew up here and graduated from EV in 1987. I have a college degree and have served on the leadership team at our church for many years. My husband, Doug, and I have been married for 17 years and have two great kids in East Valley Schools.

For the past seven years, I have been volunteering in our district. I have heard the educational concerns of parents, students, teachers and staff members. This gives me a unique perspective that will be an asset to the board. I am enthusiastic and look forward to serving you.

My standards and expectations are high. With commitment, direction, and determination we can provide the highest quality educational opportunities, the best quality teachers, be responsible with our budget and become a unified team. I genuinely care about our kids, our families and our community. I will strive to help make East Valley a district to be proud of. Please vote Heidi Gillingham.

E-mail me your questions: yermomdotcom@msn.com.

Kay Sieck

Personal: Sieck, 50, works as a convention services coordinator with the Spokane Public Facilities District. She has been married to her husband, Jim, for 26 years and has two adult children.

Statement: About me, in the East Valley community for 25-plus years. Raised two successful EV grads. Married 26-plus years. Successful business owner and operator for 12-plus years.

The largest challenges facing our district are aging buildings and transportation. We need to put long-range planning in practice to repair/replace the buildings but more so we need to fix what goes on inside them. We must be willing to make change that benefits kids and education. That means developing programs that address all spectrums of students offering school to industry programs as well as challenging programs that prep four-year students and everything in between.

Transportation issues need to be addressed before they are in crisis. A proactive approach is paramount.

We also need to address our transient kids. Providing solid basic skills and a good sense of self will help these kids be successful no matter where they go to school.

I appreciate your vote. I understand budgeting, being a team player, giving thoughtful answers after listening and educating myself. I have great communication and problem- solving skills. Because I do not have children in school it allows me to be an advocate with no bias for all children and schools.

I appreciate your vote.

Christie Burton-Hart

Personal: Burton-Hart, 38, works part-time as an administrative assistant for a recovery company and volunteers with East SCOPE. She has been married to her husband, Bill Hart, for 16 years and has two children.

Statement: As a resident of the Otis Orchards community since 1995, I consider it a blessing to be a part of this wonderful community. In 2002 I became an active volunteer in the East Valley School District. Since then I have volunteered in several of the schools in our district. I have served as the Otis Orchards PTSA President since spring of 2005, one of those years I didn’t even have a student in the school, an action that proves I am about all kids.

I have served on many district advisory, steering and planning committees. I am passionate about advocating for our children. Decreasing enrollment is an issue we need to focus on, looking to new and different ways of dealing with this obstacle. I want to work to bring our district to the ultimate showing of teamwork and community working together for the betterment of our kids.

I would be honored to be given the chance to serve on the EVSD School Board of Directors. My passion is caring for all kids, not just my own. I want the best for all kids, not just my own. Please vote for me, Christie Burton-Hart for East Valley School Board, Position No 4.

Kerri Lunstroth

Personal: Lunstroth, 49, is a dental hygiene coordinator for Psomas, Bourekis and Warnica. She has been married to husband Dennis for 16 years and has two children.

Statement: Regardless of the issues facing East Valley School District, ensuring student success must be the driver of all school board decisions. Our superintendent, John Glenewinkel, has opened many doors with his innovative approach and “can do” attitude and we are on a path of productive change that will positively impact our school culture and improve student outcomes.

With the numerous changes and challenges East Valley has experienced these past few years, our district needs some stability and continuity in order to support this important mission.

Serving as a school board member takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication. It is imperative to understand your role as a board member and your function as a board. I have gained the trust and respect of the staff, students, parents and community. My leadership abilities, my passion for doing what is best for kids, and my knowledge of the school system is evident serving as board vice-chairman one year and board chairman the past two years of my first term.

Amazing strides that benefit our students are happening at our East Valley schools, and with your support we will take East Valley to the next level as a premier school district.

Roger Cox

Personal: Cox, 51, is a mechanical engineer and former bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ward 17. He has been married to his wife Diane for 18 years and has three children.

Statement: For me, this is all about the children and youth of our school district.

My primary purpose in running for East Valley School District Board of Directors is to positively influence district policy to make the learning experience of our children enriching, enjoyable and well rounded while preparing them for further education and to have successful careers.

I had a very good high school experience and followed that with college and post graduate degrees. I have a passion for education and would like to see the children and youth of our school district have just as rewarding an experience, if not better.

I have two youths attending EVHS and one in an elementary school. We have lived in this school district for the past eight years; this one starts our ninth. We have great teachers here; we have adequate facilities, good administration and a strong, sound direction from a well-qualified superintendent. We also have great families in our communities. In short we have all the necessary pieces in place for continued improvements for the future of our school district and the education of our next generation.

Please support me with your vote and allow me to do my best to bring positive support to our youth and children.

Roger Trainor

Personal: Trainor, 50, is a real estate appraiser for Berg Appraisal. He has been married to wife Cheryl for 27 years and has two children.

Statement: I am very excited to have served each and every one of you the last four years. Four years ago when I was elected, I said, I would listen to the community, teachers, students and I have never left that promise. Together we have accomplished and overcome enormous obstacles that were facing our district. While other districts struggled this year, ours is not. In fact we have added programs. We didn’t have to cut any teachers. We are making our lunches better and I will never vote to increase the price of our lunches. Our district is moving forward with the question. “What is best for our students?”

I stand for making our district No. 1. Together we can conquer any obstacles our district will have. I ask the community to come grow with us, be part of our great school district and the school we be part of the community. We will be one outstanding district for our kids!

“There is no doubt that a single creative thought has the power to change the world” – Albert Einstein.

Please re-elect Roger Trainor and together we will make our district the best for our kids.

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