Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Kimball Board of Education Candidates

 

October 25, 2018



Renee Castagna

Hi, my name is Renee Castagna and I was born and raised in Kimball, NE. I have two young daughters, McKenzie is 5 and in Kindergarten and my youngest daughter Layla is almost 3 years old. I work at FirsTier Bank as a Credit Analyst/Loan Officer.

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

My first thoughts go towards the curriculum and technology but I would work with the school board members to see where the priorities are. I would also like to not see all the money spent immediately at once, try to save a portion of the funds for future needs if possible.

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

Improving the perception of the school system starts with the students and their perception of it. We have to get them excited and proud of the system first and all faculty members and work that bank out into the community. Communicate with the students as they live it every day and get their opinions to see what they like about the school system and how to help spread the word.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

I think some of the biggest opportunities and challenges are students opting out, bullying, communication/accountability, and the curriculum. Kimball Schools has the potential to grow, instead of shrinking, but we need to work on these opportunities in order to improve that potential.

Travis Cook

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

That is a great question. I hear that many teachers spend their own money for supplies for classes. I would dedicate a percentage of the money for supplies. After determining the percentage for supplies I would look into school building improvements.

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

I’m concerned with all the option students out of our district.  Schools bus students out of our town every school day. I would prefer the students that live in our district to go to our school.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

One challenge facing our school is how to keep kids in our district and not optioning out. One challenge is the buildings seem outdated, and how to either update the existing buildings or to replace them. Our enrollment numbers are trending downward over the past several decades, this presents both a opportunity and numerous challenges both. As with everything in life, one can’t enjoy opportunities unless there are some difficult challenges along the way.

Brad Reader

Brad Reader, father of 4 and husband of Danielle Reader, has been on the board for 6 years and is running again. Brad has 3 kids who have all graduated from Kimball and one daughter who is currently a senior at Kimball High School. All have been very involved in school, so he understands the importance of all clubs or activities provided by the school.

Brad’s wife is also a math teacher at the school. As mentioned before, this shows that he is diverse in knowing what all needs to be helped with the money given to the school board. He works well with people as seen by his previous years on the school board, and also knows when to speak about important subjects.

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

It is a decision for more than one person, which is why I would bring it to the board to discuss where the money should be spread and given to.

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

I would improve the perception of the school system by informing the public about our district and the opportunities we provide.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

The biggest challenge today is deciding where to and how to spread the money correctly and fairly throughout the school district.

Jared Reich

I am a Christian, husband, father of two children in Mary Lynch Elementary, and bank vice president/ loan officer. I grew up ranching in rural central Nebraska, and I am still active with livestock. I graduated from Chadron State with a degree in Ag Business and a minor in Ag Marketing.

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

I would not spend the money initially. Being a new member to the board, I would need to develop experience from the current board members to gain understanding of previous needs. I have heard that many other schools have more technology available to students in classrooms and having spent more time in the elementary building than the high school, I has also seen some need for improvements to the building.”

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

I would improve the perception of the school system by figuring out all the impressive points to our system and advertising those throughout our community. I know there are many great things for our students and teachers to love about the school. We need to expand on those things and bring other areas up to that same standard. Increase accountability. I believe everyone needs to be more accountable for their actions. I think students need to have  higher respect for their teachers and administration. I also think teachers and administration need to take better care in their actions to be stronger leaders for their students. Parents need to hold their students more accountable to meet the students’ expectations.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

I think many schools across the country are adding back technical/trade classes to their curriculum choices because of need in jobs and interest in students. Kimball is a community full of jobs that are trade skill based and constantly in need for quality workers. Those area businesses and the school could link together creating opportunities for kids to gain hands on experience and fill work needs. I also see growth potential as other schools are struggling and consolidations would bring more students into our school system. Young families want to enroll their children into smaller schools, and Kimball is small, but large enough to offer many extra-curricular activities to provide additional choices for kids to expand their educational experiences.

Matthew Shoup

I grew up in Kimball and graduated high school here. I am married to Stephanie Shoup and we have three kids Landen 16, Cole 14 and Kalli 6, all of course in the Kimball school system. After High School, I spent a year at college and then left to join the Army. I entered the Army Infantry in February 2001. I was deployed on the very first deployment of troops to Afghanistan in October 2001. I was with the 101st Airborne Division designated with starting up the first bases in Afghanistan and then start the first initial missions through the Mountains. Once back to the states we were set for our next deployment to Iraq in 2003 months later. Once again my unit was the first group to be deployed and tasked to spearhead with others in the fight from Kuwait to Syria. My last deployment was in 2009 with a task force in Counter IED intelligence. I was assigned to an intelligence team the investigated and recovered IEDs and pre and post blast explosions. We conducted forensics on recovered material and sent intel reports to the DOD. Since 2010 I have worked in supply logistics and production logistics mainly in the oilfield. I did a stint with an experimental Geophysical survey company in Kansas. I officially moved back to Kimball in 2016. Currently I work as a Lineman for the City of Kimball. I have served on the Board of Education since 2016. I am excited in the opportunity to continue that service.

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

That is a very tough question since there are so many areas to where we could effectively use that donation. On the idea that we can use the money anywhere without any strings or loopholes etc. I believe our buildings can always use some work. We have older buildings that we can always put money into for upgrades and improvements. Good clean functioning schools I believe helps moral for kids when learning.

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

Not impossible but extremely hard to accomplish. We have an excellent school program with great teachers and administration. The fact that we could have any negative perception is due to people just keeping the gossip and talk moving. It is easy to say the school is bad and Kimball is bad without any facts for information. If our public would rally together and champion the school again, we could be back on top. We accomplish a lot with what we have and we should be proud of how well we do as a school system. All schools have troubles and struggles but that does not make them a bad school. I would encourage people to stand against those who say we have a bad school and be bold and challenge them for a reason for that, if it is nothing more than that is what they have heard then you will have your answer.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

We have the opportunity to grow our school with new distance learning and technology available to improve our teaching systems. There are a lot of exciting things in the works these days in education and I hope we are able to take advantage of them when they come about. Challenges are many of course. As a school in Nebraska funding is always a challenge. We function near solely on the local tax support, we basically get no state support for a lot of school functions. But, we do survive and we do continue to move forward. Schools around the state and especially in the panhandle are struggling, we are not the only ones. That is very hard for a school system to budget and prepare successfully as the numbers drop. We will survive but hard time will come.

Lynn Vogel

Both my husband, Todd Vogel, and myself were born and raised in Kimball, NE. When we married 24 years ago we chose to stay in Kimball to raise our daughter, Shelby Vogel. We felt that, in addition to his family being here, Kimball Public Schools and all it has to offer would be best for her.  Shelby graduated from Kimball Jr/Sr High School 2014.

I am completing my 14th year on the Kimball School Board and I do this for the Students! I’ve said it over and over that communication is a must, I want to encourage conversation, we need to listen to our students ALL our students, and if need be I will be their voice. I have a genuine desire for KPS to be the Best possible in every way.

I sometimes think the public gets so caught up in the political and business side of things that they forget the schools are there for the Students first and foremost. If re-elected I hope to continue to assist in providing the best education possible for ALL our students and I am looking forward to being a part of many more exciting things to come.

1. You just received a $100,000 donation and you get to decide where it is spent. Where would you spend the money?

This is not about me or one person this is about a School District and there are many wants and needs! Therefore, I would have a conversation with the superintendent and request that a special meeting be set up with the board to discuss how to share the gift.

2. How would you improve the perception of the school system?

My suggestion is to continue to be open, honest and completely transparent. We have a quarterly newsletter that Mr. Hanks mails out, there are multiple 411 information calls weekly and the school website had district wide information.

3. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in this district?

Unfortunately the biggest challenge is Money.  How are we going to maintain our high needs? Do you put the money into the building, into transportation, into classroom equipment, into technology, into the kitchen oven, into salaries?

 

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