Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 29, 2012

Four seeking two seats in Fairfield school board District 3 race


GOSHEN — Four candidates are competing for two open District 3 spots on the Fairfield Communty Schools’ Board of Trustees.

Candidate information follows:

Kevin Miller

Address: 18990 Wild Rose Road, New Paris

Age: 41

Education: High School; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

Related experience: As a Goshen Police Department school resource officer I was assigned to the Goshen Middle School. I worked closely with school officials on all levels regarding school safety issues. This would also include developing and implementing school safety procedures for Goshen School Corp.

Occupation: Goshen police detective (child victim cases)

Website: http://www.facebook.com/KevinMillerForFairfieldSchoolBoard?ref=hl

Why have you decided to run for election?

As a parent of two Fairfield students my children have been in the school system since elementary school. I felt that with the opening available on the school board this was a way that I could give back to our wonderful school system. I feel that it would be an honor to serve as a representative for the people not only in my township but all over the school district and to be a voice for their concerns on the school board.

What do you feel are some of the biggest issues or challenges currently facing the school board, or schools in general?

I feel that one of the biggest issues facing schools today, not only at Fairfield, but all over the state, is in regards to funding. Available funds is a huge issue for all schools. Maintaining the highest academics level possible, including teacher’s salaries, staffing, and making sure we have the best academic programs to prepare our students for the future is a high priority. It is also important to maintain the extracurricular activities, not just sports but also in fine Aarts and the many other wonderful programs Fairfield has to offer. These activities have all been proven to benefit a student’s chance at a successful future. It is also important for our students to have the best technology available. This would not only include computers, but also lab equipment and other items needed for teaching. All of these items require a lot of funding.

How would you work to address those issues if elected?

If elected, I look forward to working alongside the superintendent, current school board members, administrators, and other school officials to help keep Fairfield one of the finest school corporations in the state. Educating myself on the issues and making a responsible vote on those issues that come before the board is a necessity. It is important to also listen to what our teachers and parents have to say about these issues and getting their input is equally as important.

Joel Conrad

Address: 68435 N. Main St., New Paris

Age: 43

Education: Bachelor’s of Science in Organizational Leadership

Related experience: Fairfield Music Boosters (president), American Heart Association Board Member (Elkhart South), Center for Healing and Hope Board of Directors (secretary)

Occupation: Director of Business Solutions at Indiana University Health Goshen Hospital

Why have you decided to run for election?

I have chosen to run for school board because I feel that my professional background and board experience will provide the needed experience and insight to set goals and visions for the Fairfield School Corp.

What do you feel are some of the biggest issues or challenges currently facing the school board, or schools in general?

Some of the biggest issues include fiscal responsibility, implementation of a new superintendent, teacher evaluation instrument, and an increasing need for up-to-date technology for both students and staff.

How would you work to address those issues if elected?

We are very data-driven in my professional occupation. Problems are addressed through analyzing data then developing several possible solutions before implementing a process or change. This method has proven successful for many endeavors throughout my career. I feel this would work well with all situations that school boards face. Developing several options with input from all levels of the school system is the best way to provide buy-in and support.

Marilee J. Keim

Address: 67639 C.R. 31, Goshen

Age: 65

Education: Millersburg High School, Goshen College bachelor of science in education, Indiana Wesleyan University master of science in education, Indiana University, government and economics endorsements

Related experience: Former social studies teacher Fairfield Jr.-Sr. High School, department chairperson, former adult leader Elkhart County 4-H Saddle Club¸ committee member Fairfield Dollars for Scholars, board of trustees, Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, S.C.

Occupation: Retired

Why have you decided to run for election?

My background in education puts me in a unique position to advocate for students and student improvement. Fairfield students must be afforded the resources that will enable them to compete in our global economy. In pursuing excellence our school board must provide these resources. We can not become complacent and satisfied with the status quo, rather we must continue to offer a challenging curriculum including advanced placement courses.

What do you feel are some of the biggest issues or challenges currently facing the school board, or schools in general?

All Indiana schools are facing funding challenges. This is not likely to change in the near future. As enrollment decreases, so does state funding. Our school must continue to attract additional students. Our school board must maintain our infrastructure while providing competitive wages and benefits for all school employees. Workable technology remains a challenge corporationwide. State testing requires this technology. Our students must be technologically competitive as they enter the job market. The state of Indiana is requiring all school corporations to initiate new teacher performance evaluations. This requires workable technology for our administrators and also for teachers who are targeted in specific growth areas.

How would you work to address those issues if elected?

School boards must continue to communicate with local state representatives and state education officials advocating for reasonable state funding. While our corporation is blessed by our strong parental involvement, education needs to become a priority in all our students’ homes. More parent involvement will enable parents to also communicate to state officials the financial struggles their schools are facing. Specifically, Fairfield schools would benefit through the efforts of a grant writer. Grant writing would facilitate our corporation in gaining additional monies awarded by private and public entities. These monies would offset the salary of the grant writer. I will encourage all students, Fairfield residents, and employees to embrace our mission of “Maximum performance is achieved through maximum effort with maximum opportunity.” This achievement is reliant on all of our Fairfield community working together.

Kevin Noble

Address: 20442 Falcon Brook Court, New Paris, IN 46553

Age: 47

Education: Graduated from Indiana University at South Bend with a bachelor’s of business science degree with a double major (majoring in finance and business administration).

Related experience: U.S. Navy veteran, past president of the New Paris Fire Department, team Leader of Grace Community Church’s men’s ministry called Fight Club, current president of Fairfield’s Football Booster Club. Worked with the school board and Fairfield’s athletic department to create and spearheaded getting a new press box/storage building for our football field.   

Occupation: Sales representative for Hostetler Door Inc.

Why have you decided to run for election?

As a 23-plus year resident of New Paris I believe we have the best school system in the state of Indiana. I’m saying this as a guy who didn’t grow up in Indiana and as someone who has personally witnessed the impact this school has had on my kids. I know most of the administrators and many of the teachers. They have a passion for not only teaching the kids but also for caring and mentoring them in the classroom, in extracurricular activities and in many cases outside of school in our community where many of them live. In a nutshell, I want to make sure that our school continues to impact the kids with this type of caring heart and at the same time getting the best education.

What do you feel are some of the biggest issues or challenges currently facing the school board, or schools in general?

First, our school corporation needs to review, discuss and implement detailed guidelines and procedures with respect to the new teacher evaluation law. Second, our school’s information technology (IT) must be re-evaluated and a solid viable plan needs to be generated and implemented as soon as possible. Third, we need to look at viable ways to add to our “technical” trades. And fourth, we must look at establishing goals to improve our students’ ISTEP and other tests that the state requires.

How would you work to address those issues if elected?

In my 20-plus years of experience in working for organizations and in volunteering, the best way to address any issue or problem or to capitalize on opportunities, is to get the right people involved. There is no magical formula for doing this other than strong leadership and a vision.  This worked when we needed a new press box at the football field and it can work to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. Our kids and our community deserve the best in problem-solutions and taking advantage of opportunities to expand programs.