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The Future of Parkway

Henry T. Eubank, Staff Writer

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The School Board is a nonpartisan body made up of seven elected members that have three main functions: making budget decisions, hire the superintendent, and revise the district wide curriculum. Terms are three years long and the position is volunteer. There are two spots open for the election April 3, and five candidates are hoping to be elected. According to Matt Schindler, a board candidate, the average voting age in these elections is 71. The people with the highest stake in the election are the students and their parents represent their needs, so it is important for them to get out and vote.

Amy Bonnett

1. What is your motivation to run for school board? ​
Being connected to the community and supporting public schools has been important to me for as long as I can remember. Running for school board is a natural extension of my service.

2. What in your resume makes you qualified for this position? What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Worked as a tax accountant for a large accounting firm; Substitute Teacher in Parkway; PTO President at West High for 3 years: 13 Years of Volunteering in Parkway Schools; Participant in the district’s Listening Tour and Project Parkway; Parkway Alumna – Claymont, West Middle, West High: Longtime youth leader with Boy Scouts, Church, Parkway Swim Club, Cheerleading (coach).

3. Is there anything in Parkway going on right now that concerns you?
​ One of Parkway’s greatest challenges right now is the age of our buildings, keeping them updated and accommodating of all students. Recently, Parkway conducted a Thought Exchange in which parents expressed concerns over the age and condition of some of our buildings.

4. Who are your constituents? ​
My constituents are our Parkway community as a whole. This includes students, their families, and the taxpayers who live in Parkway. I also feel I am serving teachers, support staff, and administrators by ensuring we keep Parkway status as a top workplace in the region.

5. What is one thing you think Parkway does exceptionally well and one thing Parkway really needs to work on?
Exceptionally well: I would say that Parkway does an amazing job of providing a breadth of opportunities for students. In the High Schools, we have an expansive curriculum including many AP Class offerings, South Tech options, Spark Opportunities and a host of music, sports, clubs and activities. I’m thankful for the many opportunities that Parkway provides to its students.

Needs to work on: I feel we have a lot of work left to do to address the social and emotional needs of students. The pressures of being a young person in today’s world are unlike any other time in history. We need to make sure our staff is trained enough to identify the signs of the challenges our kids face, and how to help them.

Jeanie Ames
1. What is your motivation to run for school board?
My inspiration is my children. The future of Parkway is not a game, it is not a political philosophy. The future of Parkway is giving EVERY student an opportunity to succeed, an opportunity to achieve, and an opportunity to become the best version of themselves.

2. What in your resume makes you qualified for this position? What sets you apart from the other candidates?
As a parent of three students with special needs, I connected with these parents. As a former third grade teacher, I have first-hand knowledge of the different faces of successful students. My husband, Eric, and I are lifelong residents of Parkway. We are both Parkway alumni. Our children have each attended Parkway since preschool at Parkway Early Childhood Center.

3. Is there anything in Parkway going on right now that concerns you?
It starts at the top. The closed door attitude and limited transparency of budget and curriculum decisions is extremely concerning. That needs to change. Tax payer funds should be treated with a fiduciary attitude. Currently, they are not.

4. Who are your constituents?
The parents, residents, and taxpayers of Parkway. Students rely on parents, who rely on us.

5. What is one thing you think Parkway does exceptionally well and one thing Parkway really needs to work on?
Parkway does MANY things right. So many people who have been close to my children are simply invaluable. The interaction and dedication of people like Dr. Michael Baugus, Mrs. Carrie Lawton, and Ms. Lindsay Brockmeier has been a gift. Additionally, Special School District teachers have been integral in our children’s success at Parkway.

Kevin Seltzer
1. What is your motivation to run for school board?
My wife and I grew up in Parkway but our kids are just getting started. As the parent of a kindergartner and a preschooler, I’m taking the long view. Our kids are going to grow up in this district and we want them to have the great experiences and opportunities like we had. This is an opportunity to give back to a community that has given my family and me so much and I look forward to serving this district.

2. What in your resume makes you qualified for this position? What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am a practicing attorney and while a lot of people think that profession in synonymous with arguing, that is not the case. A successful attorney is able to acquire and analyze the relevant facts and rules and then work to create solutions to problems. My legal acumen, open mind and cooperative nature will serve me well in this position.

3. Is there anything in Parkway going on right now that concerns you?
During the course of this campaign I have had the opportunity to speak to parents, teachers, staff and various members of the community. Everyone has a story to tell, things they like about the district and things that need to be addressed.

4. Who are your constituents?
I want to be voice and a representative for all of Parkway.

5. What is one thing you think Parkway does exceptionally well and one thing Parkway really needs to work on?
1. Parkway hires great people. Parkway has a reputation for excellence and a track record for hiring great personnel and developing great employees.

2. Adaptation: I don’t think of this as a weakness but as a continual reinvention. The world is changing at a rapid pace and all schools need to focus on adapting their practices in real time.

Matthew Schindler
1. What is your motivation to run for school board?
We moved into Parkway because of the school district…We wanted to find a school district with lots of options. We wanted to be in a larger schools. I thought about the idea of running for the school board, and the opportunity this year with some of the other candidates that were out there, thought this was the year to do it.

2. What in your resume makes you qualified for this position? What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My experience in terms has been all with nonprofit. I have worked with nonprofit boards, I have been on nonprofit boards, I understand the relationship between a board and the director of the organization. And that’s a huge benefit in terms of what the school board can do and I also think to my international experience [and] something that sets me apart from the other candidates.

3. Is there anything in Parkway going on right now that concerns you?
About safety… it has been brought to the forefront. And I think even before the incidents in Florida, there was a plan, part of the bond issue coming out this fall was to actually change the high school structure in terms of entry. But a desk of people at the front, with staff and funnel kids in the one direction, to improve safety. I am not in favor of arming teachers and bringing more guns into school… Not making the school a fortress, because if kids don’t feel safe in the classroom they’re not going to learn.

4. Who are your constituents?
Concerned parents. I have been shocked by the level of support that I have gotten. Especially with getting into the race so late…Most of the money has come from parents, I would say 95%.

5. What is one thing you think Parkway does exceptionally well and one thing Parkway really needs to work on?
This goes both ways I think. Parkway has a great approach to diversity, but it needs to go further. I have heard if issues still in Parkway with diversity and challenges and even one of the candidates, their support of diversity is not there. I even heard of one of the candidates mention that diversity is overrated. And in today’s world it is so important to be exposed to different people and be around other people.

Jonathan Taylor
1. What is your motivation to run for school board?
My son, Jackson. He began his journey as a Parkway kindergartner last year at Carman Trails. As an alumnus of The Parkway School District, I have a vested interest in ensuring that my son, and the sons and daughters of all parents in the district, receive the best education possible to prepare them for adulthood. I am in this for the long haul.

2. What in your resume makes you qualified for this position? What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have an extensive background in operations management and a history of achieving results through investment in technology, personnel development, and talent acquisition. Parkway is a large organization that spends approx. $1 billion every four years, as authorized by the school board, and my experience would compliment the expertise of other board members.

3. Is there anything in Parkway going on right now that concerns you?
In meeting with the residents of the district, it is very clear that many feel that their voices are not being heard on many issues. The role of a board member is to listen to and represent the people of the district, not push their own personal agenda.

4. Who are your constituents?
The people of the district.

5. What is one thing you think Parkway does exceptionally well and one thing Parkway really needs to work on?
Exceptionally well: providing parents, students, and voters of the district with opportunities to provide their input and opinion. Needs to work on: acting on the input provided to them by their constituents and the students of the district.

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