Vonda HamillScott BrechPaulette RamseyAnita Peterson

Board of education candidates

The upcoming Haakon School District Board of Education election is set for Tuesday, April 11, at one polling place, room A-1, the school library at Philip High School. 
Incumbents Scott Brech, Anita Peterson and Paulette Ramsey will be joined by former board member Vonda Hamill on the ballot. The four via for three seats on the board. Below, each has addressed the same questions or points.
Vonda Hamill
I am running for one of three available seats at this time because there has not been an election for a board seat since 2011. I think it’s important for people to have an opportunity to elect individuals to all public seats. Members who earned the chair, through the voting process rather than by default or appointment, at least know the public put them there. This isn’t a detraction from any existing member, they are doing a great service being on the board, it can be a thankless job at times. I just think elections are healthy and we’re overdue.
In my time as a resident of Haakon County I have taught in the classroom, and I currently substitute in classrooms and the cafeteria. I have been elected to the school board twice and appointed once, for a total of nine years service. I had several opportunities on the board to negotiate contracts and hire/approve staffing positions. Since leaving the board, I have been on a panel to interview prospective teachers. I am a rural taxpayer, but have owned and paid taxes on a home in Philip as well, for five years. I have had two children go through our school system, one having graduated, the other currently a sophomore; both involved in several extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations – so I get a sense of how those operate as well.
The “best candidate” seems presumptuous. I think people who are willing to take a turn at public service, and do the job to the best of their ability without agenda, should all be considered the best people you can ask for in the capacity of something like school board.
I would say that my strengths for the position, outside of prior experience, might include organization, problem solving, dealing with pressure, and willingness/ ability to spend time on board tasks. My perspective on issues may be different sometimes, and that is important in getting a good discussion going. I also genuinely admire our students and staff and would be proud to be in a position to help the district keep on growing and thriving!
Scott Brech
I am running because I enjoy being a part of the education of the youth of our community. It can be challenging at times but also can be very rewarding knowing our school system is doing a good job. I am a firm believer that a high quality school is very important to the growth of a community. The board of education is proud of the dedication and quality of our administration and district staff and I would like to continue to be a part of this organization for another term.
As a member of the board of education since 2005, I have a strong interest in continuing to serve the school district and our community. My family has a long running history with the Haakon School District. My siblings, my wife and I and our four children are all graduates of Philip High School. My hope in serving the district would be that our schools would continue to grow and provide a quality education into the next generations.
I feel that I am a good candidate because having served on the board of education for 12 years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge of the workings of our school district and am excited to see and follow through to the completion of our new school building. Having been a board member since the planning stages of a new school building, I would like to continue to be a part of the process of creating a good, safe and secure learning environment for all of our students.
My strengths are in my dedication to our school and  community, my conservative values,  the experience and knowledge from my time as a board member, and willingness to work together with other board members and administration. I am a strong advocate of a well-rounded education which includes fine arts and athletics and I will continue to support these programs for our youth.
Paulette Ramsey
I hope to be a voice for both the teachers and the people of our great community. Also, our community needs volunteers in order to be successful and viable. I have spent a few years working with a few different kids’ programs at our school and that time impressed upon me the importance of community services.
I am a permanent resident of Haakon County and have been on the school board for three years.  Next fall my daughter will be starting kindergarten.
I am not sure I am the best candidate, but I truly believe that this is the greatest place on earth, and I want only the best for this school and community.
What are my top strengths for this seat? The willingness to listen to the staff and community and, with fellow board members, make effective decisions for the future of our students, the community and society.
Anita Peterson
Even though I have been on the Haakon School Board for many years, I still enjoy serving the students of this district. Our five children received a quality education, and I wish to continue the tradition for my many grandchildren living in Philip.
We have a  new building project and a new administrator starting so I would like to continue serving and help make the transitions go smoothly, keep the school spirit and community support of our district going strong, and help everyone to remember we are working for the best for our kids!
I guess one could say I've been involved in education my whole life. We used to always play school as a child. After graduation from high school, I received a bachelor of science in education from Black Hills State University and became a teacher. I have taught middle school, high school and in one room rural schools. After getting married and moving to Philip, I have been a special education aide, classroom aide, elementary school secretary and substitute teacher in all areas – including several long-term jobs for teachers on maternity leave. My history continues by serving on Black Hills Special Services Cooperative board representing our district and attending professional development opportunities provided by our state association.
Each candidate is qualified for the school board. My background in education, having time to serve, and willingness to get along with others makes me think I am qualified for the job. For the past several years, I have had the honor of being on the Associated School Boards of South Dakota board of directors and am currently serving as president. Our board includes members from all sized districts and from every corner of the state. There are 18 members with a goal of working to obtain the best education for all children. It has been an educational, eye opening experience and I am always happy to share the good news of our district! It has also given me an opportunity to travel to national events.
It is hard for urban members to understand how we operate with such few students and the distance they travel with no bussing to get to school – and they actually get there! It is always so heartwarming to come back to our rural setting and see what a simple life we have and how well our district compares, and how we all work together for the best for our students.
Throughout the years, I have served with many different board members, teachers and administrators, and we have gotten along well together. I feel I am open minded and willing to work with others for  a solution to problems that may arise. I enjoy being an advocate for our children, supporting them in their various activities,  endeavors, achievements, and watching them grow to successful adults.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
E Mail: ads@pioneer-review.com

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