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USD 453 Leavenworth At-Large BOE

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    Mike Carney

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    Douglas A. Darling

  • Chris Eckley

  • Ronald S. Grossman

  • Alisa Mahone-Murphy

  • Vanessa Reid

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    Brian E. Stephens

Biographical Information

What is your experience with the school district and why do you want to serve.

What is the most important issue facing the district in the next 4 years.

What are the budget problems in the district and how will you address it.

How do envision recruiting the best personnel to the district.

Personal Biography Born and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas. Elementary and Secondary education in Catholic Schools. Graduated from Kansas University BSE with Emphasis in Recreation Administration. Served with the US Navy in Vietnam and received 100% permanent and total disability because of cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange. Work history includes Youth Activities manager, Recreation Director, and Vocational Training Director all at Fort Leavenworth. Married with four children and nine grandchildren.
Campaign Phone (913) 240-6721
Campaign Email Carnac1027@gmail.c
Education Certified Bookkeeper Kansas City Business College; BSE with Recreation Management emphasis
Community/Public Service Past President Leavenworth Parks and Community Activities, Board Member Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Board member Kansas High School Activities Association, Treasurer Leavenworth County Historical Society, past President USD 453 Leavenworth, Board member for Workmans Compensation fund KASB representing 119 School Districts, three term Board member USD 453, Member of Marketing Committee Leavenworth Catholic Schools
phone (mobile) 913 240-6721
telephone 913-240-6721
I am in the third term of serving on the Board of USD 453 and have served as both Vice President and President, Legislative Liaison, and Board of Trustee for Workman Compensation. Chaired Committee implementing Career Center partnering with Kansas City Community College; Chaired Committee establishing first ever Baseball and Softball complex for Leavenworth High students. My spouse and I were both educators and I was driven to expand educational opportunity for the children in USD 453. I also wanted to see our educators and support staff to have comparable benefits to other districts our size. I additionally wanted to serve the constituents who had confidence in my abilities and who continually voted for me!
Obviously the most important issue with our School District and Districts throughout the nation is recovering the learning lost because of the Pandemic that reared it’s ugly head in early 2020. Coupled with the learning loss is the decline of dedicated individuals in the Education Field. Shortages are seen all across the country. There is a need for Para Professionals ad well. Many Support staff are needed to ensure the cleanliness and food service in all the schools in the District. Funding for schools in Kansas has been an issue since 1999 and only got partially resolved through a Kansas Supreme Court ruling oh a decade old law suit seeking affordable funding.
USD 453 has been blessed with three different Business Managers over the last 20 years. This expertise in looking out for local taxpayers while insuring that budgetary funding was allocated as directed by the Board. The current Superintendent was a big plus to the finance team and the School Board. Budgets are fairly consistent and are driven by pluses and minuses in numbers of students. MOST of the facilities in the District are new or have under gone extensive renovation, and we have more than adequate Capital Outlay funds.

USD 453 is blessed with outstanding personnel. We have a team that seeks out future educators at open house events at various colleges and universities around the country. As a Board member I felt it to do my duty to insure that we could be competitive in drawing people of character to our district. Competitive salaries, state of the arts facilities, and a nurturing environment for all potential employees!
Personal Biography Born in Iola, KS. Graduated from Salina High School in 1970. Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974. Married the late Paula Jesse also in 1974. All three sons are Leavenworth High School graduates. Have two grandkids with a third on the way. Active in my church and Scouts, BSA. Also a volunteer at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Campaign Phone (913) 240-7394
Campaign Web Site http://none
Education BS from the United States Military Academy 1974. MS from the Army War College 2002.
Community/Public Service USD 453 (Leavenworth) Board of Education for 16 years. Scouts, BSA for 35 years. Leavenworth Lions Club for 7 years. Sunday School teacher for 10 years. Sons of the American Revolution for five years. Volunter at the National World War One Museum and Memorial for four years.
Facebook none
Twitter @none
phone (work) not applicable
phone (mobile) 913-240-7394
phone (home) 913-651-2445
telephone 913-651-2445
All three of my sons went through the Leavenworth school system from Kindergarten to high school graduation. My late wife was a Parent-educator and a preschool and kindergarten teacher in the district for 17 years. Served on school site council at David Brewer Elementary School for five years. I also volunteered regulary in a 5th Grade and 1st Grade classroom at David Brewer Elementary since my retirement until Covid restrictions in March 2020 made that impossible. Previously elected to the USD 453 (Leavenworth) four times: 1995-1999, 2003-2007, 2013-2017, and 2017-2021. I serve because I think everybody has a duty to make their community better. As an Army Officer and Federal Civil Servant until my retirement in 2018 the only way I could serve in elected office was in a nonpartision position, thus the school board. I want to help keep the school district centered on student learning and achievement while avoiding nonproductive educational fads.
For the next six months it is keeping our schools open for in-person learning by our students in a pandemic. Then it breaks down into two primary long-term issues: #1. Overcomming the educational, emotional, and social impacts of Covid on Leavenworth's students. #2. Providing necessary services to special education students.
Budget is not really a problem in USD 453 thanks to the resolution of the Gannon case by the Kansas Supreme Court, the money being thrown at local schools by the federal government, and the wise expenditure of resources by USD 453. This should remain the case until 2023. USD 453 does have areas of concern in the areas of special education, transportation costs, and recruitment and retention of support staff. We also need to ensure the provision of cost of living adjustments to all district staff in a time when inflation is over 6%. Special education teachers are limited in number and difficult to recruit. Transportation costs are increasing rapidly at the same time USD 453 is trying to increase transportation services and support to our patrons. We have to remain an attractive employer to those non-licensed personnel able to pass background checks and work around kids which local businesses also want to hire.
Supporting the school district's current leadership team. We have superb people in that leadership team. That doesn't mean that they don't occassionally make mistakes. It also doesn't mean that the board of education mindlessly does whatever the superintendent wants. But the board assigns the mission of finding the right people for our district and the superintendent, building principles, department directors (i.e., building and grounds, information technology, human relations, and food service) execute that mission.
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Personal Biography M.A. Public Administration M.Ed. Education Director of Education - 7-12 Ephrata PA Vietnam Veteran Back in uniform for Iraq and Afganistan Teacher - HS and College
Campaign Phone (410) 693-3402
Education MA - Public Administration MEd - Education
Community/Public Service Several Non-Profit Boards
phone (mobile) 410-693-3402
Students are presently testing TWO grade levels below standards and have been prior to COVID. School Superintendent is compensated almost 1/4 million dollars while teachers pay for their own supplies WITH NO ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS THIS. Current Board has NEVER had a working session to review salaries and continually grants raises for poor performance of this Superintendent. Bullying is at an all time high. I am looking for accountability and would like to terminate the position of Superintendent and have the School Board take over those duties or am looking at a 30 % pay reduction for the current Superintendent while providing significantly more oversight and direction. I am retired and can commit to making this a full time position while present members admit they do not have the time to do any of this. I also want cameras in EVERY classroom.
Addressing the FACT that our students have been testing TWO grade levels below standards since before COVID WITH NO ACTION PLAN IN PLACE.
Total taxpayer funding for Education and Social Service Programs if 90 cents on the dollar. Reducing salary and benefits of a significantly overpaid and under producing School Superintendent is my number one priority. I would also have more cookie sales since everyone loves a good cookie.
We currently have some of the best teachers in KS. My focus would be on keeping them from 'jumping ship' for better opportunities and I would start by using the money saved by cutting the Superintendent's package.
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Personal Biography I have 20 years of Government service between the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs which all started after I graduated from Leavenworth High School in 2000. I have two sons in the district, one Senior and one 8th Grader. In my career I have served as a therapist and administrator taking on many leadership responsibilities. Outside of my work I have been a volunteer youth baseball coach, was an adjunct professor for KCKCC in the Addiction Studies Program, and invited as a guest lecturer.
Campaign Address 2614 South 25th Street
Campaign Phone (913) 290-0871
Education BS in Criminal Justice - Colorado Technical University MA in Counseling Psychology - University of Saint Mary
Community/Public Service Involved with the Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society, and have served as the primary community organizer for my neighborhood to advocate for improved roads, planning and safety
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Stephens-for-School-Board-105443575098463
telephone 913-290-0871
I have always been involved in my children's education and have volunteered my time, as I have been able, to assist with activities. I enjoy the most watching my two son's enjoy some of the great things the district has to offer, that I was able to as a youth in the same Leavenworth District. They are both third generation Pioneers. Just before the pandemic I moved to another job within the VA that allowed much more flexible time subsequently, able to be much more involved with my sons. When the pandemic began I noticed that many students struggled with mental health. I was able to work alongside the Middle School Principal to see all the resources available, and resources that should be available. I chose to get involved, because I want to make a difference as an advocate for mental health resources. Additionally, my leadership skills and data analytics will be an asset to the board as we tackle funding issues, state test scores, and educator retention especially.
The COVID gap is extremely concerning. This is represented by lower test scores and lost learning during the pandemic. With the current state of the Delta Variant, those struggles are likely to continue. As a board it is imperative that we ensure the students, educators and staff have the best available resources to close the gap, and continue to grow despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. Strong leadership, clear and concise messaging, connection to all stakeholders, and effective communication will be key in mitigating the overall cost the pandemic will have both financially, and with learning.
The USD 453 budget is healthy at the moment. There are plenty of reserves, and seems to have been balanced over the past several years. As technology becomes more and more prevalent in primary and secondary education however, the expense of those resources will continue to increase. I will be an advocate for pushing the limits of technology within the district to provide a cutting edge education system, better preparing our students for life after high school. Spending for special education, technical and vocational programs, as well as technology are imperative. Reducing waste by improving workflows and supply management within the district could be a way forward to better spending of available funds.
To me this starts with the public facing data. When potential educators and administrators are looking at moving to Leavenworth they have a few options to search for the school ratings in the community. Currently, those ratings are poor for USD 453 schools, and may influence decisions for families considering moving to Leavenworth. We must ensure the data points for each of those metrics in public facing data is reviewed for best practices, and points of opportunity. My experience as a parent does not match the ratings I see, and often there are gaps represented in the data that don't accurately reflect the hard work of our students and educators. Raising those scores makes the district much more appealing. Simultaneously, we need to ensure our current educators and staff are properly supplied and supported by the district. Word of mouth within education is very important. If the current staff are not engaging potential staff, we are not likely to attract the best of the best.