Four school board positions are up for election. A one-year term held by resigned member Kasey Jenkins, who moved out of the district this fall, has been filled by David Bahr, who filed unopposed. He has already been sworn in on the board.
Three, three-year terms are currently held by Ted Eaton, Jerry Reed and Shane Claywell, all of whom are not seeking reelection. Six have filed for the three seats: Adam Froidl, Stacey Leigh Kay, Jake Long, Stacy Tiefenauer-Wilfong, Julie Pratte and Alan Gremminger.
Adam Froidl, 37, lives in Bonne Terre with his wife Brittany and two young daughters, Mckinley and Grayson, who are both North County students. He works for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a 2001 graduate of North County High School, and is a 2005 graduate of Westminster College with a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing.
He grew up in Desloge and has been back in Bonne Terre for the last five years.
“The children in this community are the greatest asset we have and their education should be our top priority. Providing that top-notch education starts with the faculty and staff at our schools,” he said. “To recruit and retain those teachers we have to increase our wages and improve the Raider brand. We have many untapped resources to generate revenue outside of tax dollars provided via the local, state and federal governments. By supplementing the budget with these additional revenue sources we will be able to improve our financial situation as a district.”
Froidl said he can build the Raider brand regionally. “We need to quit letting other people tell our story and take pride in who we are and who we want to become,” he said.
When asked why he thought he was qualified as a board member, he said working in a highly competitive, revenue-generation industry with multimillion dollar budgets has given him insight on long- and short-term planning to achieve maximum results, “whether that has been at the University of Missouri, University of Wisconsin, or now in St. Louis with the Cardinals. I am also the Cardinals liaison with Cordish Companies on the $260 million, phase 2 development of Ballpark Village.”
“My job is to not only generate revenue, but to help my partners to increase their brand awareness and improve their brands via marketing opportunities with the Cardinals and Ballpark Village,” he said. “The knowledge I have gained and success I have experienced in this industry will translate directly to my goals of creating new revenue streams for the district and helping to achieve the previously mentioned goals.”
In his spare time, he was a volunteer coach for 4th grade basketball team, is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Park Hills and attends community events and fundraisers.
Stacey Kay, 46, lives in Bonne Terre with her husband of 26 years, Shawn. They have four children, all of whom have attended or are attending North County: Emily, 22; Drew, 17; Thaddeus, 11 and Sawyer, 9.
She is a high school English teacher and instructional coach at Potosi High School, where she’s worked for 19 years. Kay attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a writing certificate, secondary education teaching certification, and master’s work in education, English, and curriculum.
Kay said last year, she considered applying for a teaching position at North County so she could teach children in her own hometown and avoid the daily commute.
“When I researched the salary and benefits difference between my current teaching position and one at North County, I knew my family could not afford the move,” she said. “I decided to run for school board because I would like to not only help balance the budget and increase teacher pay, I would also like to bridge the perceived divide on our current board to ensure our children receive the best education possible,” she said.
When asked why she thought she was qualified for the board, Kay pointed to a lifetime of learning and teaching.
“For all my 46 years, I have been either a student or a teacher in some capacity,” she said. “Education has always been the center of my life, and educational policy, curriculum, and instruction are my profession.”
She mentioned she could also bring diversity in perspective to what is currently an all-male board.
“I believe that all school boards benefit from a teacher's voice,” she said. “Additionally, as a mother of four, I can offer North County a mother's perspective, something that our current board lacks. I offer North County a teacher's voice and a mother's heart.”
Kay is a member of the National Education Association and has chaired several committees and groups at Potosi High School. She has volunteered for the Bonne Terre Baseball Association for 26 years, and has coached many baseball and softball teams.
Jake Long, 48, lives in Desloge with his wife of 23 years, Susan Bowen Long, and daughter Kate, who will be a sophomore in high school. His daughter Maggie is a freshman attending Maryville University.
At Mineral Area College, he is the director of the federal Educational Talent Search Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Social Studies with emphasis in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Education Teaching Professionalism and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Leadership in Higher Education. Before entering a career in education, he was a union electrician.
He is a Desert Storm veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served four years in the Persian Gulf region and in Gaeta, Italy, for two and a half years.
Long said he wants to be a board member because his background gives him the ability to combine his military, working-world and academic world experiences into a broad, relevant perspective.
“While in the Navy I learned what it is to make tough decisions. As a Union electrician I worked in different capacities as well as a diverse group of people,” he said. “As the director of the Educational Talent Search department I work with budgets and making decisions daily in regards to budgets and collaborating with colleagues about what is best for the students our program serves.”
Long said one of the reasons he feels qualified for the board is because, as director of Educational Talent Search, he’s built relationships with the 11 school districts the program serves in the region, and has acquired many community partners.
“I’m qualified for this position because my only interest is what is best for the students of the North County School District,” he said. “What’s best for the students is uppermost in my intentions. It’s important that we remove my personality and feelings from situations in order to make the best decision for the district, students, and staff.”
Long is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1, the Educational Opportunities Association Advisory Council, and is a board member of the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska chapter of the Educational Opportunities Association.
Julie Pratte, 48, lives in Bonne Terre with her husband of 25 years, Bruce Pratte. They have one daughter, Kattrina.
A graduate of North County High School and Mineral Area College, she is a financial advisor at Belgrade State Bank. She has been in the finance industry for more than 20 years.
Pratte said public schools are the backbone of a successful community and strong economy, and providing young people with quality education changes the world for the better.
“Having served on the Bonne Terre Chamber Board of Directors as a board member, a president, and a treasurer, and Desloge Chamber of Commerce as a board member and a treasurer, I see how correct and important that statement is,” she said. ”Good schools bring families to the area, and provide that platform for a stable economic environment. This is what I want I want to strive for, for our district.”
Pratte said she brings investment and banking experience to help with budget management. She said she is a reliable leader with a strong work ethic, a good listener, and a problem solver. She also wants to prioritize student safety and mental health.
“I strongly believe that a child’s education experience is not just about curriculum, in order for them to flourish they must be in the safest, most inclusive atmosphere possible,” she said. “North County is blessed to have the most capable and caring staff within our district and they need our support and the proper tools to best serve our children.”
Pratte said she wants to make certain the school has enough social workers and resources to support students and hopes the community will help support the district’s financial health by voting yes for Proposition S, the no-tax-increase bond issue on the April ballot.
“I want our district to be as transparent as possible, and once we are financially solvent again, I want to make NC salaries more competitive,” she said. “I want to open the lines of communication with our teachers and staff. I want them to bring their thoughts and ideas to the board. That is what I hope to accomplish if elected.”
Pratte said having been a graduate, a wife of a district employee, a parent of a North County graduate and a community volunteer has given her the qualifications to serve the district.
She has been a key organizer in raising money for city Christmas decorations with the Snowflake Drive, worked with the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce on a food drive for the backpack program, worked with Desloge Chamber of Commerce on a school-supply drive for teachers, helped find sponsors for the Bonne Terre Park disc golf course, and is working with several community entities on a music festival this fall. Pratte has volunteered with the fishing derby, the Jingle Bell Run, the Desloge Labor Day Picnic, the Fall Festival at North County Primary School and many other community and school events.
She is a member and has served on the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is a member and has served on the Desloge Chamber Board of Directors, and has served on the Budget and Finance Committee at Esther Baptist Church. She is chairwoman of the Bonne Terre Parks Board, and is a member of Esther Baptist Church.
Stacy Tiefenauer-Wilfong, 42, lives in Bonne Terre with her husband, Derek. Her daughter Alivia is 8 and in second grade at North County.
She is the radiology program director at MAC, having graduated from North County in 1996, from University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2000, from Mineral Area School of Radiologic Technology in 2003, and from University of Saint Mary with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2009.
She said she is seeking a seat on the school board to help provide a safe and optimal learning environment for all students, to develop a competitive salary schedule for all employees and to prepare students to be college- or career-ready, as well as becoming productive members of their communities.
“I currently work in higher education and have experience in teaching, budget, management, and leadership,” she said. “I can bring positive, new ideas to the board, making student learning the priority, while retaining quality, experienced teachers.”
She said serving on many boards has prepared her for the dynamics of the North County School Board.
“I understand the value of teamwork, the fiscal responsibility and dedication necessary, and the importance of board unity to assure our students will thrive and the school district will flourish,” she said.
She is endorsed by the Mineral Area Labor Legislative Club.
Alan Gremminger, 59, lives in Desloge with his wife of 38 years, Becki Crawford Gremminger. Their daughter, Ashley Douglas, is a teacher and coach at North County and their granddaughter, Isla Douglas, will be entering fourth grade at North County.
A 1978 graduate of North County, he has been employed at Mineral Area Office Supply for more than 35 years as a sales and account representative, which afforded him many opportunities to attend numerous sales and business training seminars throughout his career. He has also worked part-time as a sales associate at Desloge Walmart for the past 17 years.
Gremminger said he is seeking a seat on the North County School Board because his experience in business, customer service, and sales contract negotiations can benefit the district.
“In addition, I hope to bring a sense of unity back to the board and to the district,” he said. “I want to work on healing the divide that exists, and bring back some of the teacher’s committees that have been dissolved over the years.”
He said he also wants to ensure that North County teachers have all the tools necessary to provide a quality education.
“In the early 1990s, I was elected to two terms on the Desloge Board of Aldermen where I served on committees such as budget and recodification and the fire department board,” he said. “In addition, I chaired the committee that wrote the employee policy for attendance, sick leave and vacation. I feel that my experience on the board of aldermen further qualifies me for a position on the board.”
He is a past member of Mineral Area Community Elks where he held all offices, including exalted ruler. While a member, he served as chairman of several committees, worked on budgeting, and was state chairman of the Missouri Elks Ritualistic Committee.
He is a past president of the Desloge Jaycees, where he implemented a scholarship fund that targeted students typically left out of receiving scholarships.
“Our criteria was much different, students could not be straight-A students, could not be failing, could not be low income, could not come from high-income families,” Gremminger said. “Our recipients had to be middle-of-the-road, average students. This scholarship program was very successful and well-received while we were able to provide funding.”
Gremminger has also served the district for the past 20 years as “The Voice of the Raiders” for the North County football program, and has emceed variety shows, coronations and other events throughout the district.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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