Meet your Cassville School Board candidate: Mark Kelley

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Age: 33

Current Occupation: Assistant Metering & Plant Manager at Barry Electric Cooperative

Past Experience: I worked at Countryside Bank in operations from 2004-2006, and worked for Missouri State University from 2003-2004.

Education: 2003 Cassville High School graduate and attended Missouri State University for 2 years

1. Why do you want to win this position?

I believe a school board needs to have a good balance of community members who have children in the school system and members who represent the views of those who do not have children in the school system. Currently, I believe the board could have a better balance. Hopefully after this election, the views of both groups can be equally represented on the board of education.

2. If elected, what is your number one goal on the school board?

My number one goal is to actively promote student involvement in the many clubs, sports, fine arts activities, and academic programs the school has to offer. I believe engaging in such activities helps to build relationships between students and teaches life skills as the complete their education. This will carry with them in future jobs as well as make them productive members of society. To achieve this, the school district may need to expand current programs or create new ones to meet the interests of the students to promote their involvement.

3. What areas of the school district do you think need improvement?

I believe two things need improvement. First, I think more communication to the parents regarding the school’s current and future programs would be beneficial. The school has made many improvements the past few years in opening a good line of communication between the school and parents, but I believe we need to continue to develop this line of communication. I had the privilege of attending a community engagement meeting recently and learned of many things the school district has done to help incorporate technology into the classroom, and are exploring ways to create a modern way of learning for the future. The parents in my group were unaware of many of the things that were discussed. I believe communicating  to parents about the way their child is being taught in the classroom and what steps are being taken to improve their child’s style of learning will help get parents more involved at home. Second, I think we need to look at the safety of the students and staff. In light of current events, I believe the board will need to assess what is already being done to keep the students and staff safe and what other options may need to be implemented to ensure our students and staff have a safe place to learn and work.

4. Which building project should the district complete next?

Many of the building projects I wanted to see the district take into consideration have been completed in the past few years. The FEMA buildings were a valuable addition to the school and community. They have provided peace of mind to parents that their children will be safe from storms while at school. I know the current board of education is looking at remodeling certain areas of the current buildings to meet future growth and create more up-to-date and modern learning areas. I believe this is a wonderful idea and would enjoy being a part of this remodeling process.

5. What do you feel is most important for raising the quality of education provided by Cassville schools?

I believe it comes down to two things. First, it is important to provide a challenging and competitive curriculum for students. At the high school level, that means continuing to offer and expand dual credit courses. These courses are a valuable asset to students who are looking to further their education at a college or university. Preparing those students looking to directly enter the work force after graduation cannot be overlooked, and the district has a responsibility to offer a challenging set of courses to give them the skills they will need as well. At the other grade levels, we should make certain we are actively assessing what advancements can be made to ensure the best standard of education for the students’ individual growth. Second, we must retain and secure the teachers who continue to expand the way in which they teach to adapt to the way children learn today, and we need to give them the freedom to do so. I find it extremely encouraging that with every grade level my son advances, we continue to find teachers that are not content with the status quo when it comes to his learning. We must keep these teachers in the Cassville School District, and the quality of our children’s education will continue to grow.

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