The West County R-4 school board has four candidates vying for two three-year term seats. Incumbents Dylan Callahan and Rick Lawson are being challenged by Clyde Briley Jr. and Donald “Tooter” Hall.
Clyde Briley Jr.
Clyde Briley Jr., 62, is a former school board member who is seeking his seventh term.
Born in St. Louis, Briley has lived in the district since 1956. He graduated from Leadwood High School and attended Bonne Terre Vo Tech. He is retired from Union Pacific Railroad.
Briley is married to Barbara Ann and they have three children, Brian, Chris and Jared. He is a member of the Wortham Church of God, Leadwood’s VFW, Disabled American Veterans, and Mineral Area Order of Purple Hearts.
Briley is running again in response to requests from district residents. He believes that with his history and knowledge of the board, he can have a positive impact.
“While on the board, I did take the time to become master board certified,” Briley said. “My wife and I have five grandsons attending West County. I want the best for them and all the other students of the district.”
The biggest challenge for the district is to give the students the best education with less money in the budget, he said. Budget restraints affect all the services provided by the district, including busing, teachers and administrators. Briley said West County is one of the top schools around and he wants another chance to continue to make it better.
“My ears are always open for the best ideas and things that make our district better and give students the best things to start them down the road of life,” Briley said.
Donald “Tooter” Hall, 51, is making his first bid for public office. Born in Bonne Terre, he has been a lifelong resident of the district, Hall graduated from Leadwood High School and studied business management at Mineral Area College. He also studied the building trades at Leadbelt Vo-Tech. He has been disabled since 1992.
Hall is married to Julie and they have two children, Shannon and Brandon.
Hall believes he will bring fresh eyes and ears to the board. He has watched the district grow and believes it has come a long way. The district has one of the top sports programs around and the academics are wonderful, he said.
“Our students have helped. We have some of the smartest kids around,” he said. “We just have to keep that going for our school and I would like to be one of the people to keep this going.”
Hall said he believes all issues in the district are big and he wants to help solve any the district faces now or will face in the future.
Dylan J. Callahan, 39, is an incumbent seeking his second term on the board. Born in Farmington, he has lived in the district 30 years. Callahan graduated from West County High School and is a journeyman lineman for Miller Construction.
He is married to DeAnna Callahan and they have two children, Lauren and Courtney.
Callahan is a member of IBEW Local 2 and Irondale Masonic Lodge 143.
Callahan is running because he wants to do his part to make sure that the students in the district have the opportunity to earn a quality education.
The biggest issue facing the district is funding, Callahan said. He plans to work with the administrators and other board members to create a budget that will not have a negative effect on student achievement.
“I will try to make good moral decisions with our students’ best interest at heart,” he said.
Rick Lawson, 57, is an incumbent seeking his sixth term on the board. He has lived in the district 49 years. Lawson graduated from Leadwood High School and attended tech school. He works at Piramal Glass Company and Rocking L Feed and Farm.
He is married to Donna and they have two children, Eric and Andrew.
Lawson is vice president of Local 8734.
He is running to help make sure the children in the district get a good education and have a little fun while learning.
The biggest issue currently in the district is funding. Lawson wants to try to show the state a better way to save money.
“I would like to thank the voters for electing me for the last 15 years,” he said.