School boards start new term, set future goals

Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

With COVID-19 having delayed the April election by two months, school boards in the county are thankful to have solidarity again for the next year.

Board members were voted into office on June 2, with officers elected over the following week.

Warren County R-III saw three incumbents — Laurie Wenzel, Rodger Tucker and Franci Schwartz — elected for another term. Newcomer Sarah Janes was also voted in to replace the vacancy on the board left by the passing of Alan Dreyer last September. R-III had operated with a board of six members for the past nine months, never encountering a split vote.

“It is awesome to have a full seven-member board,” said Wenzel. “It felt great to have a meeting with all seven chairs filled.”

Officers were also nominated and selected during the board’s June 11 meeting. Wenzel, who was re-elected to president, says she will serve that role just one more year per the board’s goals.

“As a board, we decided to limit the president to only two terms,” said Wenzel. “We want to share leadership and constantly be growing and moving in a forward direction. By changes officers, it helps us to avoid being stagnant.”

Other officers elected were Dr. Chad Smith as vice president, Ginger Schenck as secretary and Rodger Tucker as treasurer. The district’s Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) delegates are Schwartz and John Clinger.

Wright City R-II retained all three of its incumbents, with Heidi Halleman, Alice Jensen and Michael Bates winning bids for re-election.

Board President Austin Jones says it was important to have an election with competing candidates to provide the community an opportunity for change.

“The fact there was an election and it was contested was good,” said Jones. “The four candidates who ran were all very good and have the best interest of the kids at heart.”

Officers were elected during a June 16 meeting, with Jones remaining president. Jensen was selected vice president, with Mary Groeper as treasurer and Dave Mikus as secretary. The MSBA delegates for R-II are Jones and Groeper.

Jensen was recently recognized for having completed a training program through MSBA, joining Jones in having obtained a masters certificate in advanced board training.

R-II held a board workshop after its reorganizational meeting to make personnel and budget decisions concerning returning from COVID-19. Jones says the board has begun exploring modifications to its goals with a new superintendent taking office on July 1.

“Dr. (Chris) Berger led us through a goal exercise, and we looked at our goals and modified them a little bit,” said Jones. “We looked at our five goals and provided input on how to move forward. Dr. Berger probably has different perspective on our five-year infrastructure plan. He’s coming back for the July meeting, where we’ll address those more.”

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