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Four run for two North County board seats

There are two seats available on the North County school board and four people running. They are Incumbent John (Jack) Poston, Janet Barton, Mark Westbrooks, and Terry Cole. The term is for three years.

John (Jack) Poston

Poston is married to Elizabeth and they live in Desloge. They have three children.

Poston has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree (plus 27 hours) in Elementary Administration.

He is a retired school teacher. He taught at the elementary level at North County for 31 years.

He is a member of the Missouri State Teachers Association, the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, the Desloge Public Library Board and Desloge First Baptist Church. He is on the St. Francois County Health Board.

He is seeking a second term on the North County School Board.

Poston said the first time he ran because of his desire to give back to the community. He said he has a great love for the school system. He said that is still true. He said he has no axes to grind and no other agenda.

Poston said North County has a staff that works very hard. He is proud of the teachers and administrators. He said the school board is a good board to work with and he enjoys being on the board.

Janet Landolt Barton

Barton has been married to Larry for 35 years. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Barton is currently an adjunct faculty member at Mineral Area College. She has been in education for 42 years. She taught at North County for 26 years and seven years at Pattonville. She’s also been an exchange teacher in London.

She’s been a past Missouri Council Social Studies Teacher of the Year, a St. Francois County DAR Teacher of the Year, and was a Department of Education STAR teacher for two years.

She is a graduate of Bonne Terre High School and has Bachelor’s and Master’s (plus 15 hours) degrees in History from Murray State.

She is president of the Bonne Terre Parks Board and the First Congregational Church board, chairman of the Bonne Terre Community Betterment Committee, and a member of the Bonne Terre Grant Committee, the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce, and the Missouri Extension Council.

She served on the Bonne Terre City Council for five years. She resigned when her husband became the city manager to avoid a conflict of interest.

Barton is running for school board because education has been good to and for her. With her background, she believes she can make a difference.

She’s running on an “ABC platform.” She said A is for Attitude that is involved in the educational process. She wants the attitudes that are good to stay that way and to improve the attitudes that aren’t good.

She believes teachers should be able to reap from their good work and it starts with money and more importantly, respect. She said she is not a one-interest candidate. She is concerned for all staff, students, and parents.

She said the B is for Buildings. She is for the district having a Kindergarten Center and a Freshmen Center. She wants to make sure buildings are efficient and are a good environment for students.

The C in her platform is for Children. She said in the 1990s, millions of dollars were spent studying how brains work. She said students don’t learn the same way or on the same day and the factory system is not working. She said she wants to look in all children’s eyes and see an enthusiasm for learning.

Mark Westbrooks

Westbrooks lives in Desloge with his wife, Mara. They have three children: Stephanie, Preston and Shelby.

Westbrooks has worked for Wal-Mart since 1983 and is currently the store manager of the Farmington Wal-Mart. He has an Associate’s Degree from Shawnee Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

He is a member of Immaculate Conception Church and president of the St. Francois County Rotary Club.

Westbrooks is running for school board because he wants to try to help the school prepare students for their next challenge in life whether it is going to college or entering the workforce.

He said he has worked at 15 different Wal-Mart stores and believes St. Francois County is a really nice place to live and get an education. He said there are very good schools in the community and people should appreciate the jobs the schools are doing.

One of his proudest memories involves his son being part of the 2003 state championship baseball team. He was amazed at how many people drove to the game to see North County play. He said they were good kids.

Eleven years ago, Westbrooks’ daughter attended Heath High School occurred at Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky, when a 14-year-old student opened fire on a group of praying students killing three girls and wounding five others.. She had just walked past the prayer group that morning before the shooting. He said that event was life-changing and he understands now that things like that can happen.

Terry Cole

Cole, who lives just outside the Desloge city limits, is engaged to Nancy Basler. They will be married in a few weeks. Between the two, they have five children and three grandchildren.

He is a North County graduate and a college graduate and a U.S. Army veteran. He works at Potosi Correctional Center. He has worked for the Department of Corrections for 18 years.

He is on the board of directors for the Raider Junior Football League. He is a MSHSAA-certified umpire. He is a member of The Bridge Community Church.

Cole said he loves the school district and he strongly believes there is nothing more important than the education of children. He said the world is moving at a rapid pace and students need the best education possible if they stand a chance at keeping up.

He said he does support the district’s bond issue on the ballot and he hopes it will help the district financially. He said maybe it will free up money to pay educators what they deserve. He said they are losing a lot of teachers to other districts.

He wants to work with other board members to provide and promote student learning; establish effective board policies geared toward student learning; maintain accountability; and encourage ongoing communication between the board and staff and the community.

Cole said he hopes district residents will see the school board election as a serious matter and vote.

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