Election Guide: April 4 local election candidates

Posted 3/31/23

Elections for city governments, school boards, and emergency services will take place on Tuesday, April 4.

Below is a brief guide to the candidates that will be on ballots in Warren County. …

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Election Guide: April 4 local election candidates


Elections for city governments, school boards, and emergency services will take place on Tuesday, April 4.

Below is a brief guide to the candidates that will be on ballots in Warren County. Candidate information is based solely on responses to questionnaires distributed by The Record to candidates. For the sake of brevity, we do not provide profiles for races where candidates are running unopposed.

Candidates are listed in the same order that they appear on the ballot.


— Carolyn Spraggs —

Age: 37
Occupation: Small business owner, Office manager
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: I began attending school board meetings in November of 2021 over covid related concerns. I have continued to attend and participate in school board meetings to this day. I aim to maintain and improve the quality of education and opportunities our district provides our students. I will ensure the school board is a representation of our district’s values. I have fallen in love with Warren County and thus would like to work collaboratively with the community to ensure the best for the educators, students and families of the district.

Top priorities:
1) I believe our community knows our needs best, thus, I will ensure that the community has a voice when voting on policy recommendations from MSBA. Making sure that these recommendations are not just voted in because we are told they are the best for our district, but that they will serve our children’s needs while not adding excess stress to our teachers and administrators.
2) Communication is key in all relationships. Because of this, I want to assign one board member to each school as the parents’ and administrators’ point of contact. Not only will this allow parents to know who they should contact, it would also come in handy when voting on school specific items. Being devoted to knowing everything about one school would allow a board member to bring informed input to the board before they voted. For instance, last year there were discussions of having fewer vice principals. Having the input from the school would allow the board to make a decision that would serve the school, students, and staff best.
3) Improving the students’ testing scores by continuing to hire and improving district retention of the best teachers. Teachers shape our children’s futures with all the heart that they pour into their instruction. Ensuring that the teachers are appreciated will translate to the student’s education.

Qualifications: I am a small business owner and I know that if I do not balance my budget, my family won’t have food on the table. This is the same for the budget of our district. Our educators rely on us to make wise financial decisions. I have lived all around this great country of ours, and I have found our home in Warren County. My experiences in other areas have allowed me to see what I do not want to happen in our county. My promise to the community is to continue to be honest, transparent, informed and available for communication.

— Franci Schwartz —

Age: 62
Occupation: Retired educator
Previous public office: Warren County R-III School Board

Reason to seek election: The school district has many challenges, and I would like to continue working to meet those challenges.
We need to maintain a balanced budget, plan for growth, and attract and retain highly qualified staff in all positions.

Top priorities:
1) Attract and retain highly qualified staff in all positions, including salaried and hourly positions.
2) Maintain a balanced budget while providing the best education possible for all our students, fairly compensating employees, and taking care of facilities.
3) Plan for growth to meet future needs.

Qualifications: Before serving on the board for the past six years, I spent my career teaching. I have experience at every grade level, K-12, and taught regular, gifted, and special education classes. I have lived in the community my entire life, so I am familiar with the area, people, and resources.

— Keith Harbison —

Age: 37
Occupation: Pest control technician
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: I am running to ensure all kids continue to get a quality education in our great school district. My intentions are to stay politically neutral while helping the teachers and employees continue to offer quality learning in Warren County.

Top priorities:
1) Ensure the teacher/educators receive the tools they need to maintain standards.
2) Ensure no child gets left behind.
3) Maintain a balanced budget.

Qualifications: I feel my willingness to commit my time as well as my skills at solving problems qualifies me to serve on the board. I have a child in school and am completely devoted to maintaining a good school that continues to build a strong community.

— Rich Barton —

Age: 59
Occupation: Retired teacher/coach
Previous public office: Warren County R-III School Board, Warrenton Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman

Reason to seek election: I am running to continue making a difference in the lives of our students by being an educational leader and trying to make the best decisions for our school district.

Top priorities:
1) Retaining teachers
2) Creating a positive culture
3) Preparing for future growth

Qualifications: As a lifelong learner and a retired teacher, I want to be an advocate for our students and staff. I have worked in a variety of facets in our district the past 34 years and feel like I can be a voice for everyone.


— Jeff Jaspering —

No candidate response received.

— Roger Romaker —

Age: 63
Occupation: Retired airline pilot
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: I am a lifelong resident of Warrenton. After retiring and watching Warrenton progress as a city, I felt I will be able to contribute to its continued growth.

Top priorities:
1) Economic development, including new business and increasing existing businesses.
2) Infrastructure development due to the expected explosive growth anticipated in the future for Warrenton.
3) Safety and security in our community, to keep it a safe place to raise a family.

Qualifications: Although I have never held elected office, i have spent my lifetime making important decisions daily as an airline pilot. I have also watched Warrenton grow and change for many years and know the city well.


— Frank Zykan —

Age: 46
Occupation: Owner – Frank Zykan Safe & Vault
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: To ensure our students are receiving the most robust, knowledge-based, traditional education possible. To ensure district staff is treated and compensated fairly, and to focus on staff retention and recruitment. To ensure parental rights are defended, and to increase parental involvement within the district. To ensure transparency, informed decision making, and responsible fiscal stewardship to our community.

Top priorities:
1) Increase student attendance and scores. Most recent APR scores indicate only 47.10% of our students are proficient in English, 42.6% are proficient in math, and only 40.7% are proficient in science.
2) Increase teacher and staff recruitment and retention. Decrease turnover rate by addressing exit survey data citing communication, supervisors, and working conditions as major contributing factors.
3) Continue inroads to improved parent relations, district honesty and transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

Qualifications: I am a business veteran whose who always takes a proactive, common sense approach. My background in a wide variety of areas would be an asset to the board. I also have a vested interest in seeing our schools perform well, as I have first and sixth grade students enrolled.

— Monica Heppermann —

Age: 45
Occupation: Sr. implementation specialist at Change Healthcare
Previous public office: Warren County Republican Central Committee

Reason to seek election: I feel it is very important to be a part of my kids’ education. When they were younger, I was able to be involved and get to know the teachers, administrators, my kids’ friends and other parents by volunteering to help with field trips, school parties, and field days. Since covid, the divide between parents and the school is at its highest point. Only two out of seven board members actually have kids in the Wright City School district and I believe this is a big issue. I believe as a parent I am able to help mend this relationship.

I have also been watching and attending school board meetings for a while. It doesn’t seem like the Wright City School Board members ever disagree or question very much. It appears that the Missouri School Board Association sends recommendations, and all the recommendations are just rubber stamped. I know I can add a positive perspective to the status quo.

Top priorities:
1) Academic achievement through a classical education. Students should be taught English language arts, mathematics, science, fact-based history, and social studies without political, religious, racial, or sexual influence.
2) Communication and parents’ rights. Parents are the primary stakeholders in the education system and communication between the school and the parents is essential to the successful education for each child. As a school board member, I promise to listen and understand the issues from concerned parents. I will help guide them to the correct school administrator or policy to get their issues resolved. I will also listen to school administrators at all levels to ensure the policies the board creates are affective and implemented in a way that improves our student’s success.
3) Teacher retention. As I am knocking on doors, I am asking teachers what they think the issues are because they are the ones that would know best. As a board member I will want to hear from the teachers what they think can help motivate and retain teachers. Teaching is truly a profession and we need to hire and retain the best.

Qualifications: I am a parent of two children in the Wright City School District so I hear firsthand on a daily basis how board policies affect the school and learning. I graduated from University of Missouri St. Louis with a Bachelors of Science in business administration with an emphasis in management and marketing, and a minor in psychology. Plus, I have over 20 years in a professional business environment. I know how to communicate effectively at all levels and I understand what it takes to implement policies created by the board. Most importantly, I believe I can bring a fresh viewpoint and perspective to help our students all achieve a high level of learning success.

— Beth Dean —

Age: 39
Occupation: Lead ethics and compliance analyst, locally-based life and health reinsurer
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: I appreciate the opportunity to run for a seat on the Wright City Board of Education. It is a sincere value of our children, our schools and staff, and of our Wright City community that leads me to run. Over the past 18 months, I’ve attended our school board meetings, listening and learning. I believe there is great value in serving within this space, and as a parent, I believe it’s an important time to be involved with our schools and within public education.

Top priorities:
1) Academic achievement – Every student deserves the opportunities, the services, the support, and the challenges they need to flourish and rise to their potential. Equipping our students with a solid academic foundation through a dedicated focus on the fundamentals will ensure they have a firm foundation upon which to build as they graduate from our district.
2) Staff recruitment and retention – As an employer, we must provide a supportive, engaging culture and working environment for our staff. As a small district, we must be creative in examining aspects such as pay, benefits, and leadership/development opportunities, so that we can continue to attract and retain high-quality staff.
3) Parent engagement – An engaged parent is the strongest advocate for their child and a channel of support for their teachers. In today’s digital environment, because we heavily utilize technology, it can be challenging for parents to stay in touch with what their child is working on, where they are in their development, and the quality of work they are producing. It’s important to find ways – without adding extra workload to our teachers – for parents to have insight into their child’s learning and development.

Qualifications: Wright City has been home for our family for over 15 years and we are strongly vested in the community. We have two children in the district, attending Wright City Middle School and Wright City West Elementary. Professionally, I’ve worked for a leading global life and health reinsurer for 16 years; my experience includes risk management, policy development, legal and regulatory compliance, and communications.

— Heidi Box Halleman —

Age: 37
Occupation: Accounting manager at JHF
Previous public office: Wright City R-II School Board

Reason to seek election: To continue to serve the Wright City School District and community. We have a lot of good things going on and I want to see those continue.

Top priorities:
1) Implement the new CSIP and continue the focus on improvement in APR numbers.
2) Complete all major projects in the pipeline without increasing the tax rate.
3) Continued focus on retaining high quality staff during these scary political times where public education is under fire.

Qualifications: In my nine years of service to the board we have increased teacher salaries, passed no-tax-increase propositions to build a new high school and multiple additions or rehabs on existing buildings, and have increased our APR scores to the top 30% in the state.

— Kyle Lewis —

Age: 30
Occupation: Project manager
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: I am running for school board primarily due to my unwavering drive to give back to this community that has given so much to me. I am also running to support the district as best I can as it continues to grow both academically and in size. As the father of a future Wildcat, it is important to my family and me that our students, school staff, and community have the best possible foundation for preparing our students to be well-rounded adults with the same passion to serve that was instilled in me as a student in Wright City years ago.

Top priorities:
1) Retention of highly qualified certified staff and support staff
2) Student achievement/success readiness
3) Communication and transparency

Qualifications: I am well rounded in complex problem solving and decision making, able to positively work with people from all backgrounds, will serve as a steadfast advocate of all students and employees, and will continuously prioritize strategic long-term growth and planning.


— Don Andrews —

Age: 43
Occupation: Sanitation engineer
Previous public office: Alderman

Reason to seek election: For the past two years, I have served the people of Wright City as their voice. I want to continue to be their voice, advocate for their concerns and hold the city government accountable. We’ve just gotten started, let’s continue this move forward together.

Top priorities:
1) Continue working to improve the city budget. We’ve been deficit spending for too long, and tough decisions about revenue and expenses will continue to be made.
2) Improve city infrastructure. We have many roads within the city that need to e addressed. Aggressively seeking grants is key to getting as many jobs complete as possible.
3) Continuing to actively engage with my constituents to bring their voice to the table.

Qualifications: I am currently serving as alderman and have the knowledge of where the city is at with budget, infrastructure, and growth. I have the heart and compassion to serve this community and take it in the right direction.

— Susan L. Traylor —

Age: 54
Occupation: Advance practice registered nurse and nursing professor
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: Wright City is a growing city with a diverse community. There is a large minority presence in Wright City that needs to be represented, and their voices need to be heard. As an alderman, I will listen, acknowledge, and address all citizens’ concerns, then bring this information back to the board with ideas to address the issues. I have compassion for people and a vision for Wright City’s rapid growth.

Top priorities:
1) Address homelessness. There is a lack of affordable housing in Wright City, and this includes affordable housing for veterans, seniors, and low-income families. Individuals who were born and grew up here are having a difficult time finding affordable housing. Wright City is home to one of the largest minority populations in the area, and with the new plant being built in Wright City, our minority population will increase.
2) Providing a safe place for our youth, by potentially opening a boys and girls club. This will ensure that our children will have a positive and safe place to play, learn, and succeed in living a productive life.
3) Moving Wright City forward in a positive and productive manner while maintaining transparency.

Qualifications: I am passionate for Wright City. I care for my community, the people that reside here, and the vision for future growth. Wright City’s population is growing; therefore, we must grow with the city’s growth.


— Jerry Cannon —

Age: 63
Occupation: Teacher, Wentzville RVI School District
Previous public office: Alderman

Reason to seek election: I believe that there are many current and upcoming issues in the city that need the experience and guidance that I provide. Issues like planning and zoning, sewer systems, new construction, street improvements, park and safe room improvements, business recruitment, and community event planning are all items that I want to continue to take an active roll in while protecting Truesdale citizens’ rights. I also am a passionate supporter of my hometown, and have a desire to see Truesdale continue to grow. I believe I bring needed skills and Truesdale loyalty to the Board of Alderman, and hope to continue to serve in that role.

Top priorities:
1) To secure a wastewater treatment deal for our citizens that will provide for the needs of all residents, current and future, while keeping the rates as low as possible, whether that deal is remaining with Warrenton’s system or creating our own.
2) Making sure our streets are of the best quality possible. Many of them need widening and resurfacing, with curbs and lead-ins to resident driveways. This will improve ease of access, and increase property values of our citizens.
3) Continuing to be a voice for our citizens in subjects such as planning and zoning, new businesses coming to the community, and making our city a place where we can have community celebrations such as Railroad Days/Summerfest, and Truesdale Community Christmas.

Qualifications: I am a Truesdale historian. I have lived here my entire life, and provide a unique perspective on where Truesdale has been as well as where it should go in the future for the good of all residents. Over the past four years as an alderman I have taken the approach of being a servant to our community. I am, and will continue to be very transparent with what is happening within city government. I keep the community updated through posting video updates summarizing board meetings and other important city events. Also, having an education degree and 34 years of teaching government and history, I have a working knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and citizen’s rights that I use to help protect and serve the citizens of Truesdale.

— Christine Hedding —

Age: 52
Occupation: Office manager/marketing director at Bent Oak Mutual
Previous public office: None

Reason to seek election: Actions taken at the community level are what frames the living environment for future generations. Being involved in those discussions and decisions is a priceless opportunity to affect change where needed or enhance upon the positive motion already in place.

Top priorities:
1) Maintain a high standard of integrity that holds the wellbeing of the Truesdale citizens as foremost priority.
2) Be knowledgeable regarding the infrastructure of the city and the effects that our rapid growth will have on its stability.
3) To serve. Our community is ever-evolving and that means that needs are always changing. It would be my job to show up, be present, listen, learn, share, and work for the residents.

Qualifications: I have over 20 years of operational management behind me. That means the analytical evaluation of ‘logistics and processes’ against the ‘results obtained’ are second nature to me. I have administrated our neighborhood social media group for nearly three years and it has allowed me a unique and personal perspective on our community strengths as well as opportunities.

— Rhonda Colombo —

No candidate response received.

— Kari Hartley —

Age: 38
Occupation: Childcare provider
Previous public office: Truesdale Planning and Zoning Commission

Reason to seek election: I want to take part in building our community in a positive manner.

Top priorities:
1) Get to know Truesdale residents better so I know how I can help them.
2) Have a positive female voice in decisions that are made.
3) Always make sure that the best interests of Truesdale residents are being met.

Qualifications: In addition to meeting city requirements, I have also volunteered to assist the board of our hometown in Illinois where my husband was mayor, so I am aware of the time and attention it takes to support the community and its needs.


— Camille Johnson —

No candidate response received.

— Alice J. Kluesner —

Age: 71
Occupation: Retired X-ray/CT technologist
Previous public office: Board member of Marthasville Community Ambulance District

Reason to seek election: I hope to continue serving the Marthasville community as an active board member bettering the emergency medical services.

Top priorities:
1) To keep, maintain, update any needed ambulance equipment, and to provide transparency to the district of how the tax funds are being spent.
2) Proceed to review and possibly redistrict the subdistricts due to the population growth of the area according to the 2020 Census. The MCAD will be working closely with Boonslick Regional Planning personnel for the remapping of the subdistricts.
3) Improve community outreach communication regarding emergency medical response.

Qualifications: I have spent 43 years in the medical hospital field and have 24 years of experience with the MCAD, in the last 12 years acting as the board’s secretary.

Elections, Candidates, School Board, Alderman, Ambulance Board