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The Lake News Online
  • Meet the School of the Osage board candidates

  • There are five candidates seeking two open seats on the School of the Osage Board of Education.

    Seats open are currently held by Barbara (B.J.) Page and Allison Schneider. Schneider was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Rocky Miller who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November. Schneider, a former board member, has chosen not to seek the full-time position.
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  • There are five candidates seeking two open seats on the School of the Osage Board of Education.
    Seats open are currently held by Barbara (B.J.) Page and Allison Schneider. Schneider was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Rocky Miller who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November. Schneider, a former board member, has chosen not to seek the full-time position.
    Lake Media asked the five candidates questions to help inform voters. Responses are as follows, in alphabetical order.
     
    Rusty Anderson
     
    Background:
    I am married to Andrea Anderson, RN, at Lake Regional Health Systems. We have two sons, Ryan, 16, sophomore at Osage High School, and Jake, 13, eighth grade student at Osage Middle School. We moved to the school district in 2005, and have enjoyed living and working in Lake Ozark for eight years.
    I am originally from Dallas, Texas, and moved from South Padre Island, Texas, to Lake Ozark. I attended college at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, and Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
    I work in the sales department at Glencove Marina in Lake Ozark.
    Why are you running for the board of education? Why should voters elect you?
    I am running for the position on the board of education to serve the public as a watchful caretaker of public funds, to promote the education of our children and to ensure the longevity and growth of Osage School District. I am conservative in my views, not a micromanager, nor wasteful of time or money.
    What do you see as the most immediate challenge for the school district?
    As far as immediate challenges, if voters elect to fund the bond issue, get moving on the project. School of the Osage has outstanding leadership, foresight of the future. Past school boards and administrators have positioned our district to succeed. I commend them on their cooperation and commitment.
    What do you think the top three goals should be for the district?
    Goals should include maintaining a vision for growth, as with the bond issue, retain our best employees and staff, help our children to grow into outstanding members of the community, follow through with current goals of becoming a “great” school. We are outstanding now, commitment to becoming great throughout should be a common goal.
    Do you think the district should pursue redevelopment and expansion of the Heritage Building as a combination classroom and administration facility to replace Mills Elementary?
    I support the Heritage Building development as planned and will be a careful watcher of its progress. I am running for office with the encouragement of family and friends. There is no political agenda, no financial gain to be had, no big political action committee, no signs, just word of mouth and social media.
    Page 2 of 9 -  
    Dale Law
     
    Background:
    I’m a life-long native of the lake area. I attended college at Central Missouri State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance in 1989. After graduation, I worked in Kansas City for a year as a stock broker before returning to the lake area and working for Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks for 10 years as a loan officer until I took a position with Marinemax (Port Arrowhead) where I have been the business manager for the last 13 years.
    I am married and have daughters and two stepdaughters. Both of my stepdaughters have attended School of the Osage. My wife Susan and I are local business owners within the School of the Osage School District.
    I have been proactive with legislation relative to the boating industry at the lake with the Marine Dealers Association. I have previously served public office for six years and understand the responsibilities of an elected position.
    Why are you running for the board of education?
    As a resident and business owner at the lake, I know the importance of the two major components that are foundations for maintaining economic growth in our area: Lake Regional Hospital and the schools. We have a great hospital system here and an excellent school district. These two industries are a base for what makes the lake a place where people want to relocate with their families. We do have an outstanding school district and I want to be a part of maintaining the Osage tradition as an active member on the School Board.
    Why should voters elect you?
    With 20-plus years or business and financing experience I believe I can help lead the School District in the right direction. The voters should know that I am here to serve School of the Osage and the district, and that I am not running for the board position to serve a specific interest group. I will do my best to help make decisions that will best benefit the students and teachers as well as the families of our community.
    What do you see as the most immediate challenge for the school district?
    •Growth/capital improvements
    •District healthcare
    •Increased state regulations of school evaluations
    There will always be issues and challenges within the district, but these are three that I see today as items we will be addressing in the near future.
    What do you think the top three goals should be for the district?
    Page 3 of 9 - 1. Create an atmosphere that says “Osage is the place that every teacher wants to teach” so that we can alleviate turnover and lose great teachers to other districts.
    2. Continue to improve the curriculum and improve on offering advance level classes for students wanting to achieve college credit for vo-tech trades. Advancing our elementary so that when they reach high school they are ready for college level classes.
    3. Maintaining a unified board that can work together for one goal! We Are Osage!
    Do you think the district should pursue redevelopment and expansion of the Heritage Building as a combination classroom and administration facility to replace Mills Elementary?
    I know there have been many months of discussion about the issue at Mills Elementary and the solutions for the growth of our district. Based on the months of discussion with the board and the committees formed to evaluate the situation, I believe the proposed plan is the right thing to do at the right time. I believe in looking to the future and being proactive, not reactive, to the growth issue the district faces. Given the overall economic situation, there may be some opposition to the bond issue; but based on the rates that are currently available in the marketplace, this actually may be the best time to raise money for the redevelopment and expansion by issuing bonds.
     
    Mike Ruck
     
    Background:
    I grew up in St. Louis and was fortunate to have grandparents living at the lake. Fond memories include exploring the lake as a young boy in a 14-ft fishing boat. I can remember Horseshoe Bend being a one-lane gravel road. I’ve witnessed a lot of changes at the lake and in our schools.
    Luanne and I will be married 34 years in June. Twelve years ago we relocated to the lake. Luanne is a fixture at Osage, having served as a PTA officer in each school. She was at school so often one year our daughter’s friend asked if Luanne “owned” the school. Kristina is a sophomore and proud member of the Lady Indians soccer team. Kaitlyn is in eighth grade, a member of NJHS and the cheer squad. We are the host family for our “temporary daughter” Giula Notari, Osage’s Rotary Exchange Student. As a family we attend Riverview Baptist Church.
    My involvement at Osage includes 10 years as an officer for the Athletic Booster Club, an Osage Youth Athletic Council (OYAC) board member and coach, Osage Facilities Planning Steering Committee member, and current marketing chair for the upcoming school bond issue. I also serve as an appointed member to the board of adjustment for the Village of Four Seasons.
    Page 4 of 9 - Professionally I was a sales executive for a national sales promotion and marketing company prior to moving to the lake to start a small development and construction company
    Why are you running for the board of education?
    This is a unique board election for Osage. One open position is due to the resignation of long-time board member Rocky Miller, who resigned to fill his role as our State Representative. Rocky was a dedicated and responsible board member for many years.
    I think it’s important to fill this seat with someone who shares his passion for the district and the skills necessary to address broad and diverse issues that come before the board. I feel this is the next logical step beyond my current involvement with Osage. I would like to ensure future students have the same positive experience and opportunities my girls have enjoyed.
    Why should voters elect you?
    “Are you here again? I always see you at school.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard that. Seems I spend a lot of time around Osage. Whether volunteering, serving on various school committees, cooking for football games, or attending sporting events, I simply enjoy the energy surrounding the school. I would like to be part of the team directing our school district’s future growth.
    As a board member, I’ll bring a passion for everything Osage. Over the past 10 years I was instrumental in growing the awareness and revenue of the Athletic Booster Club allowing the club to assist coaches and teams with various purchases. I’m one of the original members of the OYAC soccer and basketball programs, which now serve hundreds of Osage students. It’s important that Osage students have a balanced academic and extra-curricular experience while attending school.
    I enjoy problem solving. Professionally, I have the leadership and executive background needed to work through important and complicated issues. My past experience with budgeting, personnel development and building organizations may be beneficial to the board. I have the commitment to work through the learning curve necessary to be a productive Board Member.
    What do you see as the most immediate challenge for the school district?
    The most immediate challenge is passing the School Bond Issue on April 2. Passage will address overcrowding at Mills Elementary by providing the classrooms necessary to accommodate anticipated enrollment and community growth. It’s important that we provide the most up-to-date and safest learning experience for our youngest students
    Should the bond issue fail, the board will be challenged with defining an interim plan of action to address the overcrowding. Either way, our elementary school is the most immediate challenge. The bond also addresses important security improvements to existing schools in the light of recent national events.
    Page 5 of 9 - What do you think the top three goals should be for the district?
    As stated earlier, with or without passage of the Bond Issue, the first goal of the district must be to address the overcrowding at Mils Elementary, and security improvements to existing schools.
    The second goal should be reviewing options for funding the health insurance program. As health care cost continue to rise, it becomes more challenging to fund our self-insured insurance program. This is a complex issue requiring much research, agreement, and compromise among staff, administration and faculty members.
    Third, I have a genuine interest in making sure our high school students are prepared for and understand the opportunities and challenges that lie before them after graduation. With an improving economy, indicators suggest our community is poised for growth, thus providing opportunities for students wanting to find employment locally. I’d like to see more dialog between the business community and our schools, creating pathways for students interested in local employment or even exploring entrepreneurial opportunities locally. As our community grows so should our district’s outreach to the community.
    Do you think the district should pursue redevelopment and expansion of the Heritage Building as a combination classroom and administration facility to replace Mills Elementary?
    Several months ago I was asked to join the Osage Facilities Planning Steering Committee. The primary focus was to review options addressing overcrowding at Mills Elementary. I immediately dismissed the idea of adding on to, or renovating Mills. It didn’t make financial sense and would have required relocating students during construction, at additional costs to the district. Ultimately we would have ended up with a patched together school that would eventually need more attention.
    While several options were discussed, the two most prevalent were building a new elementary campus on Rt. 42 or renovating the Heritage Campus. I am currently the Marketing Chair for the Vote Yes Osage School Bond Committee, but most people may be surprised to learn I was not initially in favor of the Heritage proposal. I personally preferred a new campus on Hwy 42, but after understanding this would leave the district with two un-occupied buildings (Heritage and Mills) and costs of maintaining such, I was more receptive to the Heritage proposal.
    The Heritage proposal utilizes an existing campus and building and saves $6 million in costs over a comparably sized new elementary campus. We also retain use of the athletic field below Heritage, currently used by over 200 Osage students involved in OYAC soccer programs. The outdoor learning center and pavilion, enjoyed by elementary students over past years, will remain, too. It also gives us the unique opportunity of introducing a state of art new elementary addition, while preserving a bit of our history in the renovated halls of the Heritage Building. Overall, I think this is the best solution in our current economy.
    Page 6 of 9 -  
    Barbara (B.J.) Page
     
    Background:
    I grew up in Perry, Mo., and graduated from Mark Twain High School. I am a graduate of Missouri State University with a major in Interior Design. My husband is Mike Page. We have three children, Libby, Emily and Alec – all School of the Osage graduates.
    We own The Leather Man, DogPatch and Grandma’s Candy Kitchen on the Strip in Lake Ozark. Mike and I moved to the Lake of the Ozarks in 1986 but have had businesses here since 1976. We are active members of the Horseshoe Bend Baptist Church and many civic groups and charities.
    Living at the lake has provided many opportunities to get involved in my community. I started out with Small Wonders Pre-School when my children were small, and then moved to PTA when they started public school In PTA, I held many offices as treasurer, secretary, president and co-chair of Project Graduation (three times!). Then in 2004 I ran and was elected to the School of the Osage Board of Education where I currently serve as president of the board. In 2009, I was appointed to the Camden County Planning and Zoning commission where I have served for four years. In 2010, I was named as one of t5he Top 10 Women of the Year in the lake area by Lake Lifestyles magazine where the focus was on women who volunteer and serve their community.
    Why are you running for the board of education?
    I am running for re-election to the board of education because I love our school district. I have had the opportunity to work with great administrators, teachers and employees as well as fellow board members who know how important our schools are to the community.
    Why should voters elect you?
    I am a committed and experienced school board member. I am certified by the state of Missouri and have 150-plus hours of education in board operations and governance, contemporary issues in education, student achievement and school law and finance. I am a member of the Missouri School Boards association and attend their annual conferences, regional meetings and legislative days in Jefferson City to lobby our state elected officials on school issues. Three times while I have been on the board, we have been finalists as School Board of the Year by the Missouri School Boards Association. For all nine years I have served on the board, Osage has received from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the “Accredited with Distinction in Performance” award. In addition to the regular board of education meetings, I attend three monthly board committee meetings. These committees are Student Achievement, Facilities and Finance, and Communications and Community. I have dedicated nine years to making our school district great and want the opportunity to keep “Raising Excellence – The Osage Way!”
    Page 7 of 9 - What do you see as the most immediate challenge for the school district?
    Student achievement is always our most immediate challenge. We cannot let one student down. This means providing the students with the best curriculum, teachers, technology, nutrition and environment possible for learning. With current changes in state expectations and Common Core Standards, we are constantly working to find the best way to prepare our students for the future. We have implemented the Professional Learning Communities model to help our district to focus on learning to build a collaborative culture among our teachers, and to establish a plan for the results of testing.
    We do have other challenges. The current economic environment, health insurance for employees, cuts in funding, federal and state mandates and legislative issues affecting education keep us challenged daily.
    What do you think the top three goals should be for the district?
    My top three goals for our district would be to provide a safe learning environment for our students, to redevelop and build onto the Heritage Building and to fully implement our new mission statement: “School of the Osage, in partnership with our community, educators and families, will equip all students to reach their maximum potential for a lifetime of success.” Safety, space and student achievement.
    Do you think the district should pursue redevelopment and expansion of the Heritage Building as a combination classroom and administration facility to replace Mills Elementary?
    As a current board of education member I can say I support the bond issue to redevelop and expand the Heritage Building to replace Mills Elementary.
    We have spent the last two years working with engineers, architects, surveyors and a community steering committee to come to this conclusion. First of all, the current Mills building is at capacity and has no room to expand. It is in need of updates to make it the learning facility we need for our students. The option to build onto and renovate the Heritage Building will provide us with space for many years to come with a new, three-story addition of 24 classrooms built onto this historic and beloved school building. Capacity will go from 400 to 700 students. This option will also cost millions of dollars less to build than a new and smaller building on the Highway 42 campus, so we don’t have to ask the taxpayers for more money. This option will avoid the traffic problems an additional building on Highway 42 would cause. This option also will address the safety concerns we have about the current design for the Mills building. The Heritage School is a well-built facility and is worth saving for now and the future.
    The bond issue on April 2 not only builds an elementary school, but also will help make safety improvements to all buildings in the district as well as improve science labs at the high school. This benefits all students.
    Page 8 of 9 -  
    Jill Wade
     
    Background:
    I have lived in Lake Ozark for the past 18 years, raising three sons, Josh 25, Jake 18, and Jordon 13. For 10 years I worked as a co-owner and operator of two convenience stores in the lake area. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Upper Iowa University, and received a Master’s degree in education with an emphasis on agency counseling from Lincoln University.
    During the past 18 years I have been involved with School of the Osage School District in a variety of ways: as a substitute teacher in all grades, working in each and every school building including the special needs classrooms of the Upper Elementary; a room mom, PTA member, and currently participating in my second go around with Project Graduation activities.
    In 1998, I was elected alderman for the city of Lake Ozark and served for six years.
    After graduation, I worked at Cedar Ridge, an inpatient treatment center for men with substance abuse issues. I have been a therapist at CALO, (Change Academy Lake Ozark). CALO is a long-term inpatient treatment center for adolescents with reactive attachment disorder. In addition, I worked with the Pathways organization for two and a half years, as Adolescent Substance Abuse Counselor for the Camden, Miller, and Morgan County offices. I developed curriculum for group therapy sessions and spoke to youth groups in all three counties on issues of drug abuse.
    I am currently employed at CADV (Citizens Against Domestic Violence) as the Clinical Coordinator in charge of therapy for the residents of the shelter. Furthermore, I am available for any women over the age of 17 who have had or are having issues with sexual assault or domestic violence in the tri-county area. I have written curriculum for and facilitate CADV’s support group; have spoken to numerous community organizations in regards to the issues of domestic and sexual violence. In addition, I teach a course on teen dating violence written for junior high and high school students. Also, I’m a member of Project Healthy Living, which is responsible for the Parent Teen Info Expo held every year at the local high schools.
    I am a member of Lake Ozark Christian Church.
    Why are you running for the board of education?
    I believe now, more than ever, we need a school board that is more transparent! A school board that keeps parents and taxpayers informed of decisions that affect us all. Parents need to know the school district plans to keep our children safe. I feel every child should have an equal opportunity to participate in all school activities. With my business experience and education, I believe I will be a positive, proactive and informative school board member. I look forward to the challenges and possibilities that 2013 can bring.
    Page 9 of 9 - Why should voters elect you?
    A vote for me is a vote for you and your children. With a Masters Degree in education, 25 years experience working with children, 10 years experience operating my own business, and six years of serving on city council, I believe I am the most qualified candidate running for office. I know how to get things done, I am not afraid to ask the tough questions. I don’t believe in complaining, I believe in being part of the solution not the problem.
    What do you see as the most immediate challenge for the school district?
    How do we make our schools safe?
    In three out of our four buildings you walk right into the lunch area. There is nothing to stop anyone or anything from getting to our children during lunchtime. This must be one of our top priorities!
    How are we going to accommodate for our growing school population? Our lake area is growing and we will be receiving more funds from new businesses. How will this money be used. Taxpayers must be more informed on the school board’s decisions. How do we communicate better with parents? Do our teachers believe they have a voice on the board? When was the last time a survey went out to the students asking them to rate the effectiveness of their teachers?
    These are the tough questions I would like to see the board address in the near future.
    What do you think the top three goals should be for the district?
    1. To make our existing buildings safe.
    2. To raise the academic performance of all students and make extra curricular activities available for all children no mater where they live in the school district.
    3. To secure the financial well being of the school district so it can make the necessary improvements while keeping in its budget.
    Do you think the district should pursue redevelopment and expansion of the Heritage Building as a combination classroom and administration facility to replace Mills Elementary?
    I believe the district needs to look at what we have currently budgeted for expansion. The board has not shared with the community future population projections, or the conditions of the current facilities. There has been one article in the newspaper explaining the need for a bond. I would like to see exactly how much will be spent on making the schools safe, and what amount is going to the expansion.
    I cannot comment further one way or another because that information hasn’t been shared.
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