Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

School District 383

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Kristin B. Brighton
    (N)

  • Joseph Dasenbrock
    (N)

  • Darell Edie
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Curt Herrman
    (N)

  • Brandy Santos
    (N)

Biographical Information

What do you see as the three greatest challenges facing USD 383? What would you propose in order to address those problems?

USD 383 strives to be inclusive and welcoming of all students and staff. How would you gauge the district’s progress in this area? What do you see as successful approaches or programs currently implemented, if any? What changes, if any, would you recommend? Why?

How would you define an equitable education? What strategies should USD 383 employ to ensure students receive an equitable education, regardless of their background?

If USD 383 were to receive additional state funding, what areas of the budget would you like to supplement with the additional funds? Why?

USD 383 is building a new elementary school. What do you think are the most important factors to consider when developing new boundary lines for attendance centers?

What do you see as the school district’s responsibility to support the mental health of students and staff? What do you see as the strengths of the current programs or what would you change in areas you see as unsatisfactory? What outcomes do you predict?

How might USD 383 best recruit and retain a highly qualified staff? How might the district attract and retain staff and employees who reflect the diversity of the community?

What do you see as the most important outcomes of a USD 383 education? Why? What, if any, changes or additions would you like to see in the curriculum and/or culture of our school system. How would you support the costs of those changes or additions?

Personal Biography I attended K12 schools in USD 383 and earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kansas State University. My husband and I lived in the Kansas City metro area for four years after college, then returned in 2003 to start our family. I’ve been self-employed as a marketing professional since we moved back. Today, we have two children — Ryan who is a sophomore at MHS and Kate who is an eighth grader at Eisenhower Middle School.
Campaign Phone (785) 341-1250
Education BA and MS, Kansas State University, 1997, 1999 Manhattan High School Class of 1993
Community/Public Service • PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, 2018 • STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER, The Greater Manhattan Project/Region Reimagined, 2017-2019 • BOARD MEMBER, Manhattan Arts Center, 2018-present • COMMITTEE MEMBER, USD 383 School Bond Issue Yes! Committee, 2018 • SITE COUNCIL MEMBER, Eisenhower Elementary School, 2016-2017 • CHAIR, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Classroom-to-Careers Program, 2017-2018 • CHAIR, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Business-Education Task Force, 2016 • EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, 2013-2017 • CHAIR OF THE BOARD, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 2016 • ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER, City of Manhattan Flint Hills Discovery Center, 2012-2015 • BOARD MEMBER, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 2009 – 2017 • FOUNDER AND VOLUNTEER CHAIR, Flint Hills Summer Fun Camp for students with autism and peer models, 2010-2015 • PARTICIPANT, Leadership Manhattan, Class of 2009 • BOARD MEMBER, Leadership Manhattan Board of Directors, 2009-2012 • STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER, Flint Hills Discovery Center, 2007-2010
Address 3917 Golden Eagle Drive, Manhattan, KS 66502
CampaignPhone 785-341-1250
1) Teacher recruitment, retention and reward – The numbers of young professionals going into teaching is declining, and we’re having difficulty keeping teachers and other professionals from leaving education early due to burnout. We must explore ways to increase compensation and decrease demands to keep quality teachers in our schools.

2) Redistricting elementary schools to provide smaller class sizes — We will soon be redistricting so that all schools benefit from smaller class sizes. Redistricting is always a heated process, as families get very attached to their school communities. We must balance everyone’s wish to attend the school closest to them with desires to keep our buildings socioeconomically balanced.

3) Ensuring students are prepared for tomorrow’s workforce — We must encourage career exploration at an early age, and make sure information and training is readily available so we produce workers that match the in-demand, skilled labor needs of our economy.
As a parent, it appears to me that 383’s teachers, administrators, school curriculum, and special events make a deliberate point to explore and celebrate people from different backgrounds. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for continued improvement. Bullying and discrimination still exist within our student bodies, and we would certainly benefit from having more people of color working as teachers and in other staff roles. As a district, we must keep talking and educating one another about our differences so we can have empathy and understanding of one another’s struggles. As a BOE member, I will keep my eyes open for additional ways we can encourage diversity and inclusion, and I will always encourage the community to provide the board with insights and new ideas how to keep improving in this area.
To me, equitable education means simply that all students have the same opportunities to learn and succeed. While certainly socioeconomic conditions and family situations make it so that not every child comes in with the same preparation and support, it is the role of the school district to do our best to level the playing field. This is an ongoing challenge, given that all of our schools were built at different times, benefit from different grant programs and community partnerships, have different leadership teams with differing philosophies, have parent groups with differing abilities to provide volunteer time and financial assistance, and offer different levels of equipment and technology. As a BOE, it should be an ongoing pursuit to review differences between building situations and do our best to try to hold all of our schools, employees, and students to the highest equal standards possible.
From conversations with teachers, it seems the greatest need facing our classrooms today is the need for more social work capacity. Mental health issues often impede classroom learning and add extreme stress on teachers. Many parents I’ve spoken with are concerned about their children suffering from anxiety, bullying, drug use and other mental health concerns that are not being appropriately dealt with. In recent years, we’ve lost too many 383 students to suicide to ignore how real the needs of our teenagers have become.

Teachers would like social workers to have more time to perform preventative therapies with students to manage problems before the escalate. The hope is that with a new elementary school that class sizes will go down and the stress caused by overcrowded classrooms will be greatly reduced. However, there are other social issues at play in our schools that interfere with learning, and students and staff must have more access to professional help to succeed.
While the priority will be to keep families together in neighborhood schools whenever possible, the reality is that after we redistrict the community some families will need to be bussed to keep our schools equitable and socioeconomically balanced. No matter what happens, some people will be disappointed and frustrated, but luckily kids are resilient. The BOE will need parents to participate in the process and support final decisions with a positive attitude. Once everyone adjusts to the new reality, the outcomes should outweigh the growing pains.
Other than reducing class sizes and increasing access to mental health professionals, we need to teach more personal self-care skills in schools. I’d like to see us work into our busy days more time to pause, catch our breath, and de-stress. Teachers and students both would benefit from time in the day to do things like enjoying a “green” break in nature or 15 minutes to meditate or read quietly for fun. These ideas may sound hokey, but given the level of stress today’s teachers and students report, intentionally integrating some coping techniques into everyone’s day might provide a sincere relief and help teach our students valuable self-care skills. Many studies have found that such programs make other periods of the day more effective, reduce behavioral problems and anxiety levels, and increase test scores. I’d love to see us prioritize such interventions to see how such changes could pay off.
As I addressed in the earlier question, continuing to increase salaries and exploring ways to offset student loans and graduate tuition costs will be critical to keeping quality, qualified staff in our district. Locally, we must look for ways to reduce demands on teachers, as well as provide more mental health supports. I’m hoping once we open the new elementary school that class sizes will normalize and our teachers will breathe a sigh of relief!

Nationally, we must continue to recruit and attract more young people into education, especially people of color, as well as explore incentives to attract teachers to work in rural districts. Having enough high-quality, dedicated and passionate teachers for the next generation is a critical social issue and may require collaboration with state government and our legislators. I look forward to working on this issue in the future and advocating for teachers.
Our students MUST graduate from high school ready to work. This is a really big deal, in that many local employers report that today’s youth are not graduating high school with social skills, work ethic, and technical skills to be successful. This means increasing our partnerships with tech/community colleges and local employers to ensure MHS graduates have marketable, real-world assets they can use to make a living and start a career.

I’d like to see us adopt new programs, evaluate academic requirements, and secure facilities to allow our students more opportunities to graduate with skills that qualify them for living-wage jobs after graduation. This could include using summers to create additional room in the high school schedule for additional dual-credit classes and providing skilled training, internships, and apprenticeships to high school students. Funding for workforce development endeavors could come from a variety of regional sources and community partnerships.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Personal Biography I have been an IT professional for over 30 years and am currently the Vice President Information Technology Director at Community First National Bank. Originally got involved with the school district in 2000 when we moved to Manhattan and my oldest son was a kindergartner at Amanda Arnold by joining the PTA. I have also been on the KASB (Kansas Association of School Boards) Board of directors for the past 7 years. I have served on the Manhattan School Board for 12 Years
Campaign Address 3405 Woodduck Way
Campaign Phone (785) 410-6846
Campaign Email mailme@curtherrman.com
Education Bachelors of Business Administration/Computer Science FHSU and MBA FHSU
Community/Public Service USD 383 Board of Education (2 years president), Kansas Association of School Boards Board of Directors (7 years), Founder Kansas Education Leadership Institute (KELI), Advisory Member State of Kansas Department of Education Virtual Education, Founder Walking the Heartland heart support group, Fort Hays State University Academic Advisory Board
First of all, the construction projects. We went from the bond proposal and study to the bond election and are now in the design phase and soon to the construction phase. The challenge we need to keep focused on is that we do the construction in an efficient cost effective manner and be certain that we provide proper needs for all children. The biggest challenge is to protect the safety of the students. Not just from the construction process itself, but maintaining the security of the building access as well. There are the sound challenges, as well as disrupting and sometimes displacing students for the process.

Secondly. Redistricting (see Below)

Thirdly. Funding for special education. We have a high population of special needs children and this is especially evident that we hear from Fort Riley soldiers who request to come here because of our Special Ed classes and programs. The state does not fully fund SPED. I worry about that funding every year.
I think the district is EXTREMELY welcoming to all students and staff. I would be quite surprised to hear that we are not. Now, I would agree that there may be some misconceptions. We do not accept out of district transfers. We simply do not have the room. Priority is given to the students within our district. There are few exceptions, such as if a parent works in the district, we allow their children to transfer into our district. We are not the only ones who do not accept out of district transfers. We are innovative in that we have policies protecting transgender students and staff as well as a policy protecting staff based on sexual orientation. I think that part of a welcoming district includes new and updated facilities, friendly staff and equal opportunities for all students and a plethora of professional development opportunities for staff. And to a certain degree, having an approachable school board who supports the district in every way is important.
Early childhood education is important. Including Parents As Teachers. Early Head Start, state funded preschool and before and after school programs.

Evaluate necessary funding levels for high-risk students including foster care, trauma, homeless, crisis and mental health issues. Adequate number of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists to address social and emotional issues.

School and community health and social services. Support further initiatives in addressing student social, mental and physical health needs.

Information sharing. School district, community mental health organizations and local law enforcement should be allowed to share student information when appropriate to prevent a school violence event.
We should supplement capitol outlay to ensure we have appropriate funds for maintainance of our buildings and equipment. Such as roofs and environmentals like HVAC. Keep with the upward trend of providing technology.

Continue to increase our support staff. Counselors, ELL (we have 24 languages spoken in our district), Nurses, classroom aids.

Of course, teachers. As much money as possible should go to the classroom.
As the construction process nears the end, we will begin the redistricting process. This is a tricky course to travel and this will be the 3rd one I have been involved with. Parents do get attached to their schools.

The fact that I have never had a parent approach me and ask if they can go to a different school. That is something that I we should be proud of.

Of particular note of redistricting is that we need to be careful of maintaining the Title 1 schools as much as possible. The Socio Economic status of a school is important to the students, families and the district.

All Students in a Title 1 school receive free meals. To some families that is critical because for some kids, that is the only meal they get every day. Additionally that is a federally funded program that brings in millions of dollars to our district every year.

Currently we have 5 title 1 schools.
USD 383 implemented the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports framework over the past three years, our focus on the social-emotional realm has contributed to greater clarity regarding matters such as bullying prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and suicide prevention

In June, the Board approved district participation in the School Mental Health Initiative, a cooperative effort of Pawnee Mental Health Services, the Kansas Technical Assistance System Network and USD 383.

The School Mental Health Initiative is primarily focused on training staff to recognize when others need emotional assistance, creating protocols for accessing this assistance, and planning so the assistance is coordinated between mental health providers and the schools.

Another opportunity for Pawnee Mental Health Services and USD 383 to partner together - the Mental Health Intervention Team Program.

One advantage 383 has is that we have a “teacher factory” in Manhattan. Kansas State University has one of the best teacher colleges in the United States and we have the opportunity to hire and recruit teachers who are student teaching right in our schools. We not only have the teachers college in our hometown, but a lot of our best teachers in our district have moved on to become the professors of these teachers.

We do have a challenge in recruiting minority teachers and to be fair, there just are not that many minority teachers coming out of KSU.

We have revived the diversity committee and that group has been working very hard to find the solution to this problem.
First of all, graduation from high school is outcome number 1. However, it does not stop there. What our students are doing 5 years after high school is the gauge.

I would like to see us focus more on technical skills and offering classes that give students a glimpse of careers and they can determine BEFORE they go to college what their interests are. Typical students change they major multiple times before graduation.

Giving students a better chance to success 5 years after high school and not incurring so much debt by offering dual credit courses in high school so they can begin college of trade school with a year or 2 under their belts is a much better success model.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.