School races revolve around quality issues
Peabody-Burns school board candidates bring different talents but similar visions to their campaign for school board.
Donna Glover was appointed to Peabody-Burns school board in 2015 to fill an unexpired term. This year she is up for election.
She brings perspective from several angles of education to serving on the board.
“I am in education, and actually worked for the Peabody-Burns district for 24 years,” Glover said.
She is now a school counselor in Valley Center.
“I thought board of education was another way to be involved in education, but from a different perspective,” Glover said.
She has two children in middle school at Peabody-Burns.
“One of the focuses for me, when I first got on, was to help reinstate counselors at Peabody-Burns,” Glover said. “We were able to do that this year with Mr. Perry in the counseling position.”
She’d like to see an elementary counselor added to the staff. That would provide emotional growth services to all students.
She’s enjoyed serving on the board because board members all work together to help the district improve.
Incumbent Shayla Clark has served on the school board six years, since being appointed to fill an unexpired term.
“One reason I was interested is, I have a child in the Peabody-Burns schools system,” Clark said. “In recent years, things have been tough on school districts. I wanted to see if I could make a difference.”
Her daughter is a freshman at Peabody-Burns and her husband’s daughter is a Peabody-Burns graduate.
Serving on a school board is something of a family tradition for Clark as well. Her father was a longtime school board member when she grew up at Ogallah.
She wants to help students become career-ready, whether they are headed to work, technical school, or college.
Having begun a seminar period program this year to provide extra help to students is one of the school board accomplishments Clark is proud to have been part of.
“I’m a big supporter of Peabody-Burns schools,” Clark said. “Both my children have had great educations there. I would like to see the school stay on its own and not be consolidated with another school.”
Current school board president Julia Ensminger has been part of the school board since April 2008 and president three years.
“I grew up in Peabody and graduated from Peabody schools,” Ensminger said. “This is a small community and you have to be involved in the community.”
Both her daughters are Peabody-Burns graduates.
Ensminger said she loves the way being on the board challenges her. She believes the district is fortunate to have the leadership of Superintendent Ron Traxson and she hopes the district can retain him.
“He’s done so many great things for our district and I want to keep that,” Ensminger said. “I also like the feeling of doing great things for our community.”
Part of doing great things for the community is encouraging the school and community to work together for the betterment of both.
“I like to see our communities go into the school and take part of our students’ lives,” Ensminger said. “I love Peabody and I love our schools, and I want both to be successful.”
She said she appreciates people supporting her for school board and she would be happy to answer questions residents would like to ask.
Tiana Gaines, who moved back to her native home of Peabody last year, has a son in preschool and an infant son as well.
“I graduated from Peabody-Burns and wanted to move back to let my kids grow up here,” Gaines said.
Growing up in Peabody was a good experience that she wants for her children, she said.
Several other family members with children have moved back to the community as well.
Helping the school board will help them as well, Gaines said.
She believes declining enrollment numbers are a challenge, but the district has maintained a steady keel.
“I want to be able to retain the experienced educators so we don’t lose them,” Gaines said.
She also wants to find more ways to connect the school and the community more.
Two of Hope Reynolds’ five children graduated from Peabody-Burns and the other three are students.
She and her family moved to the community five years ago to give the children the opportunity to get an education where teachers take time to help students and be available to them whenever needed.
That was a refreshing change from her children’s educational experience when the family lived in Wichita. The district’s testing scores and accomplishments were a primary reason the family chose to move to Peabody, Reynolds said.
“I want a good education for all the kids, and good teachers going into those positions,” Reynolds said. “I love the teacher support they give the kids.”
Budget cuts are a concern to her along with declining enrollment. The district has gone from 2A to 1A during the time the family has lived there.
“I think having that school in our district is very important,” Reynolds said.
Last modified Oct. 26, 2017