3 positions open at Exeter School Board

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2 incumbents, 2 challengers aim for seats on board

Two incumbents and two challengers have filed for a trio of open positions at the Exeter School Board.

On the April 8 ballot, people within the district may vote for incumbents Kerry Mattingly and Larry Meyer, and challengers Gary Stringer and Jason Cole.

Mattingly, who is seeking her third term on the board, said she has seen the district's improvement over the years and hopes to continue to contribute.

"I have seen where we started and where we are now, and I want to continue supporting the district's programs," she said. "We have operated within budget, test scores have come up and we're making improvements, so I would like to continue them."

Meyer, who has one child who graduated from Exeter and one still attending, is running for his second term and said the district's improvement has been exponential.

"In the last three years, we have gone from being within two years of being closed down to being six points away from being accredited with distinction," he said. "I'm running again because I like to make sure the school has someone to answer to, and I like knowing what's going on and helping out as much as I can.

Stringer is aiming for his second consecutive term, and he said he is running to continue doing all he can to help the district.

"I love the community and helping the kids," he said.

Cole, a 15-year educator and principal of Joel E. Barber C-5 School in Lebanon, is running for the school board for the first time, and he said his education experience is what he hopes will earn him a seat.

"I'd like to help make some positive changes for the school going forward," he said. "I believe with my background, I can pull in some ideas from other areas concerning education.

Mattingly, an Exeter alumna who has children attending the school, said if elected, one of her top priorities will be building improvements.

"We are always making improvements and I'd like to address security issues at the school, and get more community involvement," she said.

Meyer said safety issues are high on his list of priorities.

"I would love to see a tornado shelter here," he said. "That's something I've wanted to see about finding since [the Joplin tornado], and Cassville is putting in their shelter, so that would be a big thing for the protection of our kids and moving forward so they have a place to go."

Meyer said he also wants to keep certain community programs going, like the basketball, baseball and softball programs, because they keep the children active and help keep strong relationships with parents.

Stringer said improving technology is one of his goals if reelected.

"I want to keep our conservative spending," he said. "We are starting to do more technology and putting smart boards in classes, and I'd like to see more smart boards and more things on the electronics side."

Cole said he has a couple changes he hopes to bring to the district.

"I'd like to see smaller class sizes, especially at the lower levels because the first few years is extremely important to students," he said. " I also want to hire and retain the best quality staff as we can, and that can be done through making the salary schedule as competitive as we can with other districts."

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