My wife and I attended the Liberty School Board candidate forum on March 1, 2012. The five candidates that attended and answered questions were Charlene Armitage, Becky Anderson-Poitras, Dan Krueger, Bruce Cantwell, and David Evans.

I guess the best way to describe the candidates is that they can be placed in two tiers, qualified, and….well…thanks for participating in our civic process.

Our first tier candidates are Armitage, Krueger, and Evans. The second tier candidates are Anderson-Poitras and Cantwell.

The two candidates that I am endorsing are Charlene Armitage and David Evans.

ClayCoMOPolitics has endorsed Ms. Armitage before. Ms. Armitage has 30 years of experience inside of education. She has been a teacher, a principal, a director of HR, and a school board member. Ms. Armitage strikes me as the type that is able to build consensus and work with people of differing opinions. She seems to have a good grasp on the needs of the Liberty School District and the direction it needs to be going.

I was impressed with Mr. Evans for a couple reasons. First, his private sector experience:

  • Business Development, 2008 – 2011, Cerner Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Human Resources, 1998 – 2008, Cerner Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Benefits & Payroll, 1993 – 1998, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
  • Human Resource Consulting, 1990 – 1992, Hewitt Associates, Woodlands, Texas

I think having people like this on a school board in economic times like these is an imperative. I want someone who has accomplished, who has led, and who has had a large role in things that matter. It was apparent that Mr. Evans has an experience that matches that order.

Second, as Mr. Evans answered questions, it became quickly apparent that he has a skill set that will be a huge advantage to the board. I was most impressed with his understanding of education and how it connects to the real world. One of the questions was in regards to 21st century education. He mentioned something to the fact that learners need to know how to learn, that education must be relevant, and that the district needs to engage with workplaces. Yes on all three points!

Mr. Krueger is qualified enough and has a great background. He probably would make a decent school board member. Unfortunately, I was left with a similar impression as I was the last time he ran for school board, just not a lot of substance and I was not impressed with any of his answers.

UPDATE 3/17/2012 I met Mr. Krueger today at the Clay County Republican brawl….err…caucus. (Oh, do I have some thoughts on that!!!) He is a nice guy, and definitely qualified. I offered the ability to have a one-on-one conversation with him and gave him my number. He believes that I should give him a second look. I am definitely willing to listen.

I see no reason to seriously consider the other two candidates. Neither of them have websites or Facebook pages that give you any ability to find out any more about them. Ms. Anderson-Poitras’ responses were weak and struck me as if she was reaching for an answer. At times it seemed like she was stringing multi-syllabic words together just because they sounded good. Mr. Cantwell’s responses made little sense. Looking back at my notes from the meeting I have “rambling” written with regards to his answers. I spoke with a friend who was in attendance and he said he was trying to sum up their answers in a couple words. He said Mr. Cantwell’s responses kept ending up as question marks. I respect the fact that these two individuals are interested in running for office, but I just do not see them as viable candidates for Liberty School Board.

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