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USD 411 Board of Education candidates express views

Staff writer

Hoch Publishing Company, owner of the Marion County Record¸ Hillsboro Star-Journal, and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, asked all candidates in Marion County to respond to questions regarding the reason they are seeking election or re-election.

USD 411 Board of Education Position Four

Lynette Duerksen

1) Why do you want to be re-elected to office?

Duerksen: “As an incumbent, I would like to continue serving a school district that provides a quality education for our students.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Duerksen: “I am very satisfied with the high level of competence of our administration and staff.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Duerksen: “I have been a member of the community for 26 years. I have served two terms on the board and am willing to serve another term.”

4) What are your goals for the school board? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Duerksen: “As a board we cannot lose sight of continuing to provide the best education possible for our students as we face challenging financial issues, in order to prepare them for a rapidly changing world.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the school board? Why?

Duerksen: Same as above.

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Duerksen: “I am married to Marlo and we have two sons. Travis is a graduate of Goessel High School and a freshman at Hesston College. Kent is a sophomore at Goessel High School. Marlo farms and is vehicle manager at Hesston College. I am a registered nurse and work at Newton Medical Center. I am a Goessel First Responder and am involved with the Goessel Goal Getters 4-H Club. We attend Chisholm Trail Bible Church.”

USD 411 Board of Education Position Five

Kelly Booton

1) Why do you want to be elected to office?

Booton: “I have always been impressed with the Goessel school system and its high standards and I want to be part of continuing that high standard in the best education for our children.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Booton: “I think the current administration has done an excellent job.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Booton: “I have been an active parent and supporter of our schools, some of my more current community commitments are coaching summer softball and basketball programs, treasurer of Goessel Recreation Commission, Marion County Extension Council executive board, 4-H Development Board, and an active member of Hillsboro United Methodist Church.”

4) What are your goals for the school board? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Booton: “To strive to improve our children’s education, even beyond the high standard today, in preparation of the ever changing world, while being the voice of my district and representing the community.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the school board? Why?

Booton: “In the current economic condition, I would imagine budgets are going to be one of the bigger challenges.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Booton: “My wife and I have three daughters and have lived in the Goessel community for about 11 years. I am employed at AGCO Corp. in Hesston.”

Paula Flaming

1) Why do you want to be elected to office?

Flaming: “Being a school board member has been a goal of mine since my children were young. Making decisions that involve our young people and providing programs to enhance their lives is important to me. Every decision we make will affect them directly or indirectly.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Flaming: “From what I can see our current administration is doing an excellent job. They have leadership in place that can relate to our students. I have only heard of good things happening at USD 411.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Flaming: “As a taxpayer and parent, I have a vested interest in our school district. I have a degree in business with a legal emphasis. For the past 10 years, I have been on the Parent-Teacher Organization board and actively involved with our students. I am chairman of Goessel Housing Authority board and a graduate of Leadership Marion County 2006. Currently I am Deputy City Clerk and Court Clerk for the City of Goessel. I am a member of the Kansas Association for Court Management and have continuing education on budgets and laws that govern municipalities.”

4) What are your goals for the school board? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Flaming: “My goals are to keep our schools drug-free through educational programs and to have a stricter bullying policy. Keeping healthy mentoring relationships between students, coaches, and faculty also would be a priority.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the school board? Why?

Flaming: “Our current economic condition is unprecedented. I understand that some of our parents are unemployed and we cannot forget those who are on fixed incomes. I have not seen our districts current budgetary status, but I suspect that the 2009-10 budget will need to be modified to reflect the funding we will not receive from the state. Cutting programs, re-negotiating salary contracts, and raising taxes are things I do not want to do and will work hard with other board members to come up with solutions. Kansas has an obligation to fund our schools. There may be some difficult decisions to make.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Flaming: “I have been a part of the Goessel community for the past 18 years and reside and farm east of Goessel with my family. Football is my favorite sport to watch. I am a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Taking nature walks in our pastures and identifying wild flowers is a hobby I love to do. As I have mentioned before, I work for the City of Goessel. There is constant change and I enjoy the work that I do. In my spare time I look forward to going to my children’s activities and supporting the ‘Bluebirds.’ I would appreciate the vote of my constituents on April 7.”

USD 411 Board of Education Position Six

James B. Wiens

1) Why do you want to be elected to office?

Wiens: “My children are just becoming school age and I want to be involved in their education. The Goessel district has long been top notch and I look forward to having the chance to serve this school system if elected.”

2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?

Wiens: “I feel we are fortunate to have good administration at USD 411. They exhibit strong leadership skills and sound decision making abilities. What especially stands out in my mind is how genuinely they care for the students.”

3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?

Wiens: “I know the community well. I have been teaching and coaching in public schools for 17 years. I have served in various leadership capacities in church and public schools. I also recently have worked with some Goessel Recreation Program activities. I believe my experience in education will be helpful as a board member.”

4) What are your goals for the school board? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Wiens: “I believe our faculty and staff have done a wonderful job of creating a school that serves students very well. Having said that, I know our schools must continue to evolve to meet the educational needs of a changing world. Initially, I know I will need to familiarize myself with the district’s strengths and weaknesses. I anticipate having a good working relationship with the administration, faculty, and patrons of the district.”

5) What is the most important issue facing the school board? Why?

Wiens: “Undoubtedly our biggest challenges are likely to involve budget issues. The management of district funds is usually a task involving tough choices. Now with state legislative talk surrounding funding freezes and budget cuts, the job for school district decisionmakers is likely to get even tougher. I sincerely hope our state leaders recognize the importance of adequately funding our schools. We will need to be very pragmatic to make sure we get the most we can from each educational dollar.”

6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.

Wiens: “I grew up in the Goessel community and always felt glad to have attended Goessel public schools. I received my bachelor’s degree in education from Bethel College and my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Wichita State University. I spent 15 years as a teacher and coach in the McPherson School district. In the fall of 2007, I began teaching seventh grade math at Newton. My wife, Shari, and I have a 6-year-old son in kindergarten, Lucas, and a 4-year-old son, Jacob, attending pre-school in Goessel. We recently built a new house on the farmyard where I grew up, one-half mile east of town. I’m excited that my children are entering an award-winning school district recognized as one of the top in the state.”

Last modified March 12, 2009

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