SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Three spots on the School Board for SPS are open, and seven candidates want your vote.
This morning, our David Chasanov spoke with three of them to find out what made them want to run.
Jill Patterson said if she left along with superintendent Jungmann, it would be too much change at once. Danielle Kincaid said she wants to make a difference and Brandi VanAntwerp’s son motivated her.
“I’m a mom of four,” VanAntwerp said. “Our oldest is now 12. When he was four years old, we determined that not only was he a gifted learner, he had behavioral delays.”
VanAntwerp’s son went through therapy – and SPS helped get him ready for kindergarten.
“I want to be a voice for our kids who need someone to speak up for them. I want to be a voice for the teachers who need more resources for kids like him. I want to be a voice for the parents who have a hard time navigating some of the resources that we have.”
If elected, she plans to advocate for equality and inclusion.
“Whether it’s children who are neuro-diverse like my son, whether it’s children of color, whether it’s children who are LGBT, I want to make sure that all of our kids have a voice and have support,” VanAntwerp said.
VanAntwerp is running for school board for the first time – so is Kincaid.
“I’ve served on the Springfield Public School Foundation for a number of years, and I’ve seen the needs of our students and our educators, and I know I can make a bigger difference stepping up to SPS board,” Kincaid said.
After surveying teachers and parents when she was with the foundation, Kincaid said mental health would be one of her priorities.
“Both groups identified that social and emotional well-being as a top concern of the district,” Kincaid said. “We’ve got to make sure that our partnership with Burrell and some of our other community members continues.”
She also wants to help out under-resourced and under-represented students.
“I want to make this community a place that others love.”
Incumbent Jill Patterson said she would focus on balancing online and in-person learning if re-elected.
“That’s one of the things about education right now that we have to pay a lot of attention to,” Patterson said. “I am really impressed with our faculty and staff, and I want them to feel supported. I’d just like to make sure that we’re giving a lot of different opportunities for learning.”
Patterson has served on the board for six years.
“I look forward to serving more. I have a very strong relationship with the board members who are going to be staying, and I look forward to more opportunity to do so.”
There are four other candidates on the ballot as well. Dr. Maryam Mohammadkhani’s campaign focuses on utilizing technology ‘the correct way’.
“We have students graduating that can’t write their checks, they can’t really effectively read a legal document. These are issues,” Mohammadkhani said.
Kelly Byrne said he’s focusing on enacting real change starting at the top.
“We do have a new superintendent coming in, it’ll be a great opportunity to change culture and perspective at the top of the administration and then down through the district,” Byrne said.
Scott Crise highlights his business background.
“I plan to review the operating budgets, being the proposition S budget, to determine what is best for the children,” Crise said.
Daniel Ogunyemi plans to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and mental health.
“Making sure that from a board perspective, that I’m helping to allocate, reallocate, distribute whatever it looks like, the resources necessary to create the most equitable school system that we can,” Ogunyemi said.