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USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden BOE

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    Karla Hagemeister

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    Betty Mattingly-Ebert

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    Jayme Morris-Hardeman

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    Teresa W. Parks

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    Steven Ruzzin

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    Christine Weixelman

Biographical Information

Short Bio including why you are running for office and relevant experience.

What are your 3 priorities for USD 383, should you be elected to serve?

What avenues do you support to uphold or create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate for students, family, and staff of USD 383 and the Manhattan community?

As we transition out of the Pandemic, what have we learned about our system that we need to continue?

What are the challenges we still need to face?

As you survey available financial resources, what shifts would you propose in funding? How would you fund the priorities you listed above (question #2)?

What else would you like us to know about you?

Personal Biography Karla is a graduate of Leavenworth High School. She attained a B.A. in Social Work from Kansas State University in 1997. She is married to Scott Hagemeister, a sergeant for the Riley County Police Department. Karla and Scott have lived in Manhattan since 1993 and are the parents of Jakob, a December 2020 graduate of Manhattan High School, and Emmaly, who will be in the 8th grade at Eisenhower Middle School in the fall.
Campaign Phone (785) 410-0132
Campaign Email
Education Leavenworth High School 1993 Kansas State University, BA Social Work 1997
Community/Public Service Board of Directors- The Crisis Center, Inc, Board of Directors-Thrive!, Site Councils-MHS, EMS, Woodrow Wilson, Bluemont, Marlatt, Change the World Sundays- FUMC, CASA
I ran for the USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden Board of Education in 2017 because I wanted to support the students, teachers and staff, and families of our community. I have had the opportunity to serve during a time of vast challenges and change. I believe that I have served thoughtfully, giving consideration to the many factors that impact our schools and students, and I would like to continue to serve to carry on this service. In the short term, I hope to continue to support students and staff as they return to school in August. Looking ahead, I want to carry on the work in progress to support long term student success through implementing programs and partnerships that prepare our graduates for ongoing education or entry into the work force. And through all of our efforts, I want to continue to foster a spirit of caring for each other, celebrating our successes, learning from our mistakes, and growing together. I want to continue to serve because there is still work to be done.
1. Support for students, teachers, staff and families during this transition. New elementary boundary lines, the return of approximately 1800 remote students to our buildings across the district, and the movement of 6th grade to the middle schools is a lot of change to manage after a very stressful year. I want us to be mindful of that at all levels. Relationships will change and new ones must be intentionally made and there must be time and space for that to happen. 2. Creating and enhancing opportunities for academic and social emotional growth for all students. Focusing on equipping teachers with tools needed to meet each student where they are to create classroom environments where all students feel safe, celebrated and able to learn. 3. Moving forward with community partnerships that prepare students for ongoing education or job skills that will all them to successfully enter the work force at jobs that are well paying and in demand. The Career Academy is an exciting opportunity.
We must follow our Strategic Framework, which was developed by many stakeholders, including our teachers and staff. Our Core Beliefs are Acceptance, Accountability, Courage, Joy, and Trust. Living out these beliefs means that we are willing to take a hard look at our policies, our procedures, and ourselves to see where we are falling short of our goals. I support opportunities for teachers and staff to increase their skills, knowledge and comfort in creating relationships with and educating students who come to school with all sorts of differences, whether they be socio-economic, religious, neuro-diversity, cultural, linguistic, racial, LGBT, or any other thing that makes each student unique. All students need to feel safe, seen, and celebrated in their school. The same is true for our teachers, staff and families. Some avenues are relatively easy, such as having books and visual representation of all types of people. Other avenues will be challenging, but we are up to the task.
We have certainly reinforced the knowledge that relationships are essential to student success. We have also learned that many students actually did well learning in a more flexible or independent environment, whether due to a particular learning style, the ability to work at their own pace, less social pressure and the anxiety that can accompany it, or a number of other factors. We also clearly saw how many factors outside of school impact student learning and success- access to internet and technology, the challenge presented to parents to support student learning while also maintaining employment, access to basic items like food, shelter, safety and access to mental health services. Schools have expanded their reach into these areas because we know that these needs must be met before learning can happen. We need to retain the compassion, flexibility, openness to trying new things, and connections to our community partners who were key to our success during the 2020-2021 school year.
There will always be challenges facing us because we are always growing and changing. In the short term, bringing students back to our buildings in the fall in a manner that is both safe and allows for the development of dynamic and welcoming learning environments is essential. A longer term challenge that we must confront now and commit to seeing through is addressing why some groups of students do not experience the same level of success as others. We must look at how we are serving all of our students to identify what needs to be done to improve the education and services that we provide to them. This might mean changing policies, increasing staffing or professional development in specific areas, targeting specific interventions, working with community partners, and any number of things to achieve our goals. Our students are as diverse as the world around us and we have a tremendous gift and responsibility to prepare them for success in that world.
I appreciate the diligent financial planning by district administration, especially the finance office. School budgeting is complicated and detailed work. The district has made careful financial decisions over the past years to set money aside to open Oliver Brown Elementary, to have money planned in the budget for large known expenses such as roof replacements on the middle schools, and to prepare for the increase in necessary technology as we moved to 1:1 devices. Much needed support is coming now through Covid relief dollars, but that money is specific in how it can be spent and is not long term. I am encouraged to see that the State BOE recently approved a 5 year phase-in that would cover 92% (currently 73%) of special education costs that are not met by federal allocations. Fundamentally, I support a budget plan that supports our teachers and staff with the salaries and tools they deserve, provides safe and appropriate physical spaces, and allows all students to be successful.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Serving on the Board of Education these past four years has certainly changed parts of who I am, I hope for the better. I have had many challenging conversations and made countless difficult decisions. At the center of all of my decisions has been the key question, "What is best for the whole district- all of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383?" Not what will be easy or make my children or my neighbors happy. It was tempting at times to step back and not run again, to let someone else pick up the work. But that is not who I am. I might struggle through the challenges, but I want the best for all of our students, teachers, families and community. I am proud of every part of what makes our district special, especially how we all came together to help each other last year. It has been an honor to have even a small role on this team and I hope to have more time to work with them.
Personal Biography Originally from Maryland, the US Army brought my family to Fort Riley, and we retired and set roots in the Manhattan community. I have two children, and my husband has three children. We have seven grandchildren.
Campaign Phone (785) 341-6186
Campaign Email
Education Kansas State University baccalaureate of Science, Interior Design
I have lived in Manhattan since 2001 and have been involved with the community from the start. I am a K-State graduate, and a local business owner of Paradoxx Design, an interior design firm. My husband and I have a blended family with a total of five children and seven grandchildren. All of Ken’s children, and my son attended USD 383 schools. I have been on several architectural teams that worked closely with numerous school district’s designing schools with my husband’s previous architectural firm, where I was a Vice President, and now with my current firm. I enjoy creating learning spaces for populations with special needs, to give them tools to be comfortable in their surroundings.

Transparency – I will ensure all committee meetings, curriculums, and decision-making processes will be transparent. This will include fiscal responsibility, which protects our residents that are on fixed incomes. Inclusivity – I will listen to all parents, teachers, and community members’ input and concerns. Empowerment – I will make sure roles and boundaries are defined and protected so teachers and staff are equipped and supported.
I will embrace diversity and individual freedom, with an emphasis on freedom of thought. If this means teacher development programs, that discuss cultural differences I am in favor of this type of training. As I see it, the Board of Education exists to serve the needs of all students, families, and teachers, not a political agenda. I am committed to attending meetings, and the time required to ensure our teachers, staff, and children have the support needed.
I believe we have learned that students should be prepared to work remotely even if for homework through technology. As a community we should research and promote better internet connections to our lower income and rural students. We also must maintain the rigorous cleaning policies of our buildings.
Upcoming challenges, as I see them will be introducing children, back into classrooms fulltime. Many of our younger children have not experiences in school education and it is going to be a different experience for them. I also believe children with mental, and health special needs are going to have difficulty returning to a school building fulltime.
Redundant programs and services should be removed from the budget to be fiscally responsible. We need to be creative and ensure we can help pay for teacher development programs that equip them to be more effective in their classrooms. We also need to be creative in ways to help our academically challenged students succeed, possibly incorporate mentoring programs, job shadowing, and internships by partnering with local businesses.
I am committed to attending meetings, and the time required to ensure our teachers, staff, and children have the support needed. Some qualifications over the years: • Voluntarily taught reading classes in my own children’s schools for many years. • Chair of the School Advisory Board with DoDDS, Goeppingen, Germany • Manhattan High School Pathways CTE (Career and Technical Education) Advisory Committee Member • Pilot Club of Manhattan – emphasis on brain health and provided educators and parents an annual autism workshop with breakout seminars. • K-State Women’s Studies Advisory Board, Chair • City of Manhattan Historic Resources Board • Leadership Manhattan Graduate, and Board Member • Flint Hills Volunteer Center, Board Chair • University interior design student mentor • NCIDQ (National Council of Interior Design Qualifications) – Test Grader • MATC 3DT Advisory Committee • Coronado Council, Boy Scouts Corporate Pinewood Derby Committee member • BNI – Flint Hills Power Team
Personal Biography I have lived in Manhattan for 30 years and have spent my career working in the non-profit arena. I have served as an Advocate Supervisor and Executive Director of Sunflower CASA Project, an agency whose purpose is to advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect. I helped start Thrive!, a non-profit poverty reduction program and currently serve as its Executive Director. My husband nad I have two children, ages 27 and 13. I have volunteered extensively in their schools and in the community.
Campaign Phone (785) 341-2922
Campaign Email
Education BS in Biochemistry and Biology from Kansas State University MS in Animal Sciences and Molecular Biology from Kansas State University
Community/Public Service 4 years on the Manhattan City Commission 20 years as an Education Advocate for children whose parental rights have been terminated 21 years as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer) Volunteer with Schools of Hope literacy program and the USD 383 FIT Closet Currently serving on the Manhattan Public Library board, the Joint Corrections Advisory Board, and the board of Aspire. Served on the boards of ATA Bus, the Riley County Senior Services Center, the Manhattan Housing Authority, the Riley County Law Enforcement Board, Kansas CASA Association, and the Kansas Children's Advocacy Centers.
I have always been passionate about public education and the role it plays in the lives of children and our community. I have dedicated my career to working with some of the most vulnerable children in our community and serving on the school board would allow me to expand the number of children for whom I can advocate. I believe I have the experience and passion to serve effectively in this role. My time on the City Commission provided me with valuable knowledge of governmental budgeting and experience with hearing all sides of an issue before making a decision in the best interest of the community. As a parent of two children, I have spent countless hours volunteering in their classrooms and schools and have seen the impact of the incredible teachers in our district. I want to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs most effectively, and I want to be sure our district is providing a place where every child can learn effectively.
1) Ensure every child has the best opportunity to learn. USD 383 is starting to implement personalized learning for every student, which I strongly support. The current Mental Health Initiative with Pawnee Mental Health is also a positive step toward addressing high levels of stress and trauma children bring with them to school, which can impede learning. The newly proposed Career and Technical Academy partnership with MATC is just one example of thinking outside the box when it comes to providing diverse educational opportunities. 2) I have always been an advocate for JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and equity), and I will bring that passion to the board. Staff education on issues faced by LGBTQ students, students of different races and cultures, and students in poverty is one avenue to continue to address JEDI. 3) Increasing volunteerism, community partnerships, and parent engagement in the classroom allows the district to stretch the budget while better supporting students.
1) Increase staff education on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 2) Make sure every school is operating in a trauma-informed manner. 3) Supporting the work of the Diversity and Inclusion committee. 4) Examine ways the district can ensure every child can participate fully in school activities, for example, reinstating activity buses so children with limited transportation options can participate in after school sports and clubs. 5) Consider re-hiring a Diversity Coordinator for the district. 6) Increase volunteerism in our schools.
We learned that flexibility and adaptability are key. I don't think we are close to the end of the pandemic, so I think schools must stay flexible on the ways education is provided should there be an outbreak in a particular classroom or school. My daughter participated in remote 7th grade last year, and she did not have the best educational experience. I think the last year made it clear that in-person education is the most effective. I do think parent/teacher conferences could be offered by Zoom, which might increase the number of parents participating, particularly those with transportation barriers. This is just one example of thinking creatively about how to increase parent engagement with the schools.
There are significant learning gaps for various student populations in our district. In particular, the State has identified African American and homeless youth as less likely to graduate than their peers. Stress is at an all-time high in the homes of many of our children, which means they come to school in a state where learning is difficult. Our brains are designed to disengage thinking, planning, and learning in times of high stress. Teachers are being asked to cope with this in their classroom on a daily basis, and we must provide them with tools to help these students feel safe and calm enough to learn.
Many of my priorities could be addressed through increasing the number of volunteers and community partnerships in our district rather than spending additional financial resources. The district does an excellent job of securing grant funding for various programs, and this must continue and grow. In a state where the Legislature has shown again and again that they do not value public education, alternative funding sources are essential for student success.
I will bring experience, passion, leadership, and knowlege to the school board, and I would be thrilled to serve.
Personal Biography A long-time resident of Manhattan, KS and graduate of the USD 383 school system, Teresa Parks has spent the majority of her professional career advocating for persons in need, and empowering others through education and training. A mother of four young adults, all who have graduated from Manhattan High School, one of whom had special needs and special services with an IEP the entire time in school, she understands the value of quality education and the importance of access to opportunities.
Campaign Phone (785) 341-8482
Education Bachelors Degree From Kansas State University-Major-Sociology with Criminology emphasis. Minors in Women's Studies and American Ethnic Studies Master's Degree from University of Phoenix in Administration of Justice and Security.
Community/Public Service Be Able Community Center Volunteer Black Lives Movement Manhattan-co-founder RCPD Community Advisory Board Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force Member Community Conversations on Race and Relations Facilitator
As a long time Manhattan resident I have become invested in this community. I have four children who have graduated from Manhattan High School and I myself am a product of the USD 383 school district. I have seen my children deal with a variety of issues in school to include safety concerns, racial and educational struggles. One of my children id high functioning on the Autism spectrum and had an IEP all through school. I would love to advocate for our student population with the same passion and concern that I did for my own children.
1. Adequate funding to sufficiently train and pay our paraprofessionals in the schools. 2.Ensuring that students and their parents have access to information regarding alternate career paths such as vocational trades. This would include individual learning plans and mentoring opportunities. 3. To make sure that every child's needs are taken into consideration as were strive to create a more inclusive and equitable school curriculum and atmosphere. This is to include mental health concerns, food insecurity and housing just to name a few.
I fully support Culturally Responsive Training for teachers and more inclusive clubs, activities and extracurricular options for students to find their niche. As a co-founder of Black Lives Movement Manhattan and a member of the city's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task force I would love to implement strategies to address the needs of our student population from LGBTQ concerns and cultural sensitivity to
I have learned that our school system is adaptable and I would like to see more options created for students that cater to their specific learning styles. Education should not be a cookie cutter experience but rather one that prepares each child to be confident and competent in their chosen fields.
Equitable resource distribution, learning and achievement gaps for marginalized populations, and support for teachers in and out of the classrooms. There are areas in our school budget where there is serious underfunding which makes it difficult for teachers and students to be their best. I would love to devise more proactive solutions so that we can help them both feel supported and ready to succeed. We also need more resources in the schools for mental health and emotional support for both students and staff to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
I would love to see a shift to include more student support services and adult education opportunities for those families who need help elevating the quality of life for our students. It would be helpful for us to develop strong relationships with the people and businesses in our community so that we can utilize volunteers and people willing to donate to assist in these endeavors. Special education services are another area of concern that I would like to
I have been an advocate in various arenas for the majority of my professional career. Whether it was survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault, wounded service members or at-risk youth, my passion has always been helping people. I have worked in administrative capacities as well and I understand the need to balance budgetary concerns with achieving objectives and meeting benchmarks for organizational progress. I am committed to making sure that our youth have access to information, training and opportunities to be successful in life.
Personal Biography I have been in the Manhattan area since 2013, and graduated from K-State with a degree in Management of Information Systems and a certificate of Data Analytics, I work as a Data Analyst, and am a follower of Jesus Christ.
Campaign Phone (913) 544-9896
Education Bachelors of Science in Management of Information Systems, Kansas State University. Certificate of Data Analytics, Kansas State University
I have been in the Manhattan area since 2013, and graduated from K-State with a degree in Management of Information Systems and a certificate of Data Analytics, I work as a Data Analyst, and am a follower of Jesus Christ.

Why I'm running: 1) I believe my background with technology can be an asset to the board, and that our schools need access to more technology-centered learning and training. 2) I believe we all have the duty and the privilege to invest our skills and knowledge into the next generation, and school board is an opportunity to give to our community. 3) I saw the school board sneak the ~$60,000 Better Lessons training through, and was galvanized to do something about it. 4) I do not believe that the school board is truly representative of our community. And we have a chance with this election to make that point loud and clear!
Technology: Promoting and encouraging Technology Opportunities for the children.

Financial Responsibility: Ensure that your tax-payer dollars are not wasted, but used wisely and effectively.

Transparency: I want to make sure every parent can easily check in on what the schools are teaching their kids. To make sure the board is open and honest, and serving the needs of the parents. And making sure the committees around the board are likewise open, honest, and available to the parents.
Equality of opportunity, not Equity of outcome.

The school board has a duty to ensure that every enrolled child is given the opportunities and tools to succeed. That no person is treated unfairly because of their culture or beliefs. In our community, we've heard a lot about the BetterLessons training, and I strongly oppose that, or any other Critical Race Theory based training because they are divisive, and teach a worldview based on collective identities instead of empowering individuals.

Our nation is the land of opportunity because we believe that any individual with hard work and determination can overcome any obstacle. Lets teach our kids to overcome the obstacles in their lives, and that they CAN do anything they set their mind to.
The schools have made great strides in using technology to help in the classroom, I'd like to see some of that continue even as we transition back into the buildings together.
There is still a lot of fear in the community about COVID. Hopefully by the time the new board sits in January, we're well past it and continuing to recover.

I believe that we need to trust parents to make the right choices for their children. Parents need to have more access to what their children are being taught, and the board and its committees need to be more accountable and transparent to them.
I want to get back to the fundamentals of education. Math, Science, Language, and Technology. I favor teaching our children the foundational knowledge they need, and spending less time and money on political sociology and ideology.
You may hear that I am not yet a parent, that is accurate. I don't believe that I need to have a child in the school to begin to make it a place that I'd WANT my children to go to. The school system is not a replacement for parenting, and should not be teaching children what ideologies or worldviews to believe. That is the job of the parent.

Growing up, my parents were always worried about what we were learning in school. Is that a familiar idea to you? Do you wonder what is going into your child's head every day? I want to empower you as parents to know those answers.
Personal Biography Christine and her husband, Sean, were both born in Manhattan, and have been married for 27 years. They have three children, one son in law, two grandchildren with one on the way and two beagles. Christine is and will remain a lifelong member of the Manhattan community. She has been a nurse for 28 years with part of that time serving as a public school nurse in USD 383.
Campaign Email
Education University of Missouri, Kansas City Kansas State University Cloud County Community College Manhattan Technical College Manhattan High School
Community/Public Service CASA Volunteer Manhattan Catholic Schools School Board
The main reason I’m running is because I want all of our students to succeed. I didn’t like seeing the politics that crept into our school board and how its stifling important conversations about education. I think there’s a lot of common ground that’s being missed or ignored because of it.
I want to listen and learn from others in the school system, and I want to see better connections being forged between the community and the school board. I think more transparency, more thoughtful spending, and a focus on academic success will go a very long way in improving the school experience for teachers, parents, and students alike.
Utilizing objective information to teach various facets of culture in order for teachers to make sure each student has what they need in the classroom to be successful.
Some students flourished utilizing technology and others did not. Making sure that the methods that worked for each student remain viable for them to continue to use.
Addressing the at risk population and seeing where the school can be helpful to meet needs, versus engaging community resources to help meet needs.
School finance is complicated but I think as a board member, taking time to explain to the general public where the money comes from, what the money needs to be used for if there are legal constraints and looking at options for accessing community partners to help meet some of the financial needs.
As a board member, personal views are put aside and decisions need to be made that will benefit ALL students.