Meet your Cassville School Board candidate: Lisa Roark
Current Occupation: Physician, Small Business Owner
Past Experience: As a physician, I have the unique opportunity to work with children and adults in our community on a daily basis. I have served as a girls’ softball coach for the last 2 years working with 5-7 year olds. I am a Cassville Rotary member and serve on the Rotary Board. I am a member of the Cassville Chamber of Commerce. I am also on the board of the Cassville YMCA. I am on the Barry County Health Department Board. I am also participating in the Cassville School Improvement and Strategic Planning Committee. I have served as a foster parent, and most importantly, I am a mother of 4 children ranging from age 5 to 11.
Education: Grades K-12 at Exeter High School, Ozarks Technical Community College for one year of general education, University of Missouri-Kansas City combined Bachelors of Arts and Medical Doctorate, Family Medicine Residency at Cox in Springfield
1. Why do you want to win this position?
As a mother and community member, I feel a personal responsibility for the education of our youth. I was blessed to have grown up in Barry County and am proud to raise my family here. I feel I can offer a unique perspective to the Cassville School Board with an open mind, courage to ask the difficult questions, and determination to follow through with necessary changes.
2. If elected, what is your number one goal on the school board?
If elected to the Cassville School Board, my number one goal is to improve individualized learning. I believe we need more than just “no child left behind”. We need to encourage the child who learns through touch and sound, allow alternative seating for those children who struggle to sit still, and provide classrooms that value the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive. Children need at least one thing they look forward to each day in order to keep them excited about learning. On the same line, teachers and administrators also need to feel excited about their work day. By viewing each student as an individual learner, I believe the more advanced students will be challenged more, the hands-on child will find joy in learning, and the struggling child will discover a hand to help them along.
3. What areas of the school district do you think need improvement?
I feel that parent-teacher, and parent-administrator communication needs to improve significantly. We need our community to become an active part of our school. Our parents need to support decisions made at school, as well as teachers understanding each child’s unique background and needs. I also feel that we can improve school lunches. Although our school must meet strict nutritional requirements, I feel we could make are children more involved in meal planning. As part of this change, I would encourage improved nutrition education for our children starting at Pre-K and possibly even a community garden. Many children aren’t exposed to a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and are therefore resistant to trying them at school. If they are part of the meal planning, growing and preparation they are much more likely to try new healthy options.
4. Which building project should the district complete next?
I would love to see the “Vintage Wing” remodeled and changed into a hands-on learning center. An area where older children could work with younger children. Where kids can build, design, draw, read and in general have something to look forward to each day. Kids could even earn extra “hands-on” time instead of being rewarded with soda and fast food coupons.
5. What do you feel is most important for raising the quality of education provided by Cassville schools?
I believe that the only way to truly improve the quality of education at Cassville is to take a community approach. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” and I believe it takes our entire community to educate our children. We must improve daily communication between parents and teachers, establish mutual goals with each individual child, and support one another instead fanning fires on public websites. We all want the same outcome, to prepare our children to be contributing members of society. I would also love to see more parents, grandparents and retired individuals interacting with our school, offering one on one reading time, sharing life experiences, and making each child realize “they are gifted, talented and creative” (a quote by my incredible mother-in-law, retired Cassville teacher, Verlee Roark).