Q&A with three candidates vying for two seats on Morgan County R-II school board April 3

Q&A with three candidates vying for two seats on Morgan County R-II school board April 3

April Boicourt

Please provide some background information including education, community service, any involvement with the school district, family, etc.

My name is April Boicourt. I have a BA in psychology and elementary education certification from Columbia College. I am married to Corey Boicourt who is a lifelong resident of the area and a graduate of MCR2. We have lived in Barnett for 19 years and have 3 sons in the school district: Colbey, a junior; Cash, who is in 4th grade; and Cannon, who is 5 and will start kindergarten next year. I work for 10 area McDonald's restaurants as a training coordinator and project manager. 

I am currently a member of Versailles Community Betterment and the vice chairman for the youth services group, a parent member of the District Wellness Committee, a member of the Health Advisory Board, and treasurer of MCAC. I am also a founder and Vice President of Tiger Nation, a group that was formed to enhance the student athlete experience and community involvement. 

Why are you running for the board of education?

I am running for this office because I have a vested interest in our school. I want to be actively involved in the children of Morgan county's education and help our school move forward. I want to continue to see our school succeed and help our community become more involved with the school. My ultimate goal is that  every student in our district will have a successful and fulfilling school career specific to their individual needs and talents. 

•In the wake of the most recent school shootings, what can Morgan County R-II do to ensure the safety of its students?

I think our school has made great strides in keeping our children safe over the last few years but there is always room for improvement. Our students and teachers must feel safe at school. One of the best ways to do this is to work closely with our local law enforcement officers and encourage the community to stay alert and keep administrators informed of possible threats. I also believe increasing the security by adding additional school resource officers and more police presence at each building would be beneficial in reducing the threat to our schools. We must also look at our building design and facilities to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our schools secure.

How do you think the school is doing in state testing and accountability standards? 

I believe our school is moving in the right direction. We can certainly improve but we have implemented many programs over the last several years to help our students succeed in the classroom and improve their scores. 

What are three major challenges facing the school district, and how do you overcome those?

The three major challenges I see facing our school district are funding, safety and security, and keeping up with technology.

As the state continues to cut funding it will become more and more difficult to keep moving forward. I believe one of the best ways to overcome this is to keep our community actively involved in the school so when it comes time to vote on important issues, such as funding for specific projects, they have more of a vested interest. 

As mentioned above safety and security of our schools is at the top of everyone’s mind. We must continue to keep our students and faculty safe. No one should feel scared to be at school. Again, I believe additional security at every building and working closely with our local law enforcement is one way to ensure the safety of our schools. 

Technology is advancing every day but it is important that we continue to offer our students access to technology to provide them with a well rounded education. Students today learn differently and have grown up with technology. We have to keep up with that. We can do that by upgrading old equipment, increasing our technology infrastructure, and applying for grants to help us afford the costs of keeping technology current. Integrating more technology into the classroom is going to increase student engagement. 

Add any other comments you'd like.

It would be an honor to serve as a school board member for Morgan County R2. I am passionate about education and ensuring that our students become lifelong learners and succeed in whatever they choose to do. I believe in enhancing the student experience by offering the best academics, athletics, and extra curricular activities available to our students. 

My family epitomizes what it means to "Bleed Black and Gold" and "Tiger Pride" and I have a vested interest in our school for many years to come. I love our school, our teachers and staff, and our community and I am proud to call myself a Versailles Tiger. 

I would appreciate your vote on April 3rd and I assure you that I will continue to work toward the betterment of our school and community. Thank you. 

 

Chad Courter

Please provide some background information including education, community service, any involvement with the school district, family, etc.

Our family has been a part of the Versailles community for over 17 years.  My wife is the elementary technology teacher and I am pastor of Trinity Southern Baptist Church.  We have a 7th grader, 5th grader, preschooler and 2-year-old twins at home.  I have served with Habitat for Humanity, Children’s House, Food for Morgan County, Versailles Ministerial Alliance, and worked with the Versailles Betterment Community.

I have worked with the school district to help bring in assemblies to address a variety of social issues, including social media and bullying.  I am constantly working to find ways our community can be involved with our school and helping our students get the best education they can. 

Why are you running for the board of education?

I’m running for school board because; I take a great interest in the education of my children, I want to see our school be excellent, and I feel like this is a way I can serve our community.

In the wake of the most recent school shootings, what can Morgan County R-II do to ensure the safety of its students?

My answer would be to continue to be diligent in assessing and investing in our school’s safety.  My wife and children sit in the classrooms and walk in the halls every day and their safety is important to me, and I understand that there is nothing in the world that is going to protect them from all the evils of this world.  However, I also understand that everyone is doing their best to protect them, and I will do my best to work to provide for my family’s safety as well as yours.  

How do you think the school is doing in state testing and accountability standards?

I feel like our school does a great job in preparing for state testing.  There are several views about state testing and how well it truly assesses students, teachers, and district performance.  I don’t believe it is the best assessment, yet it is the environment we live in.     

What are three major challenges facing the school district, and how do you overcome those?

I feel like three major challenges that face our school district are communication, community, and funding.  Communication is a major challenge for any organization and I feel like our school does a good job of communicating but communication can always be improved upon.  I feel like our school does involve community organizations however I would like to see more community involvement.  Funding is always going to be an issue, from school safety to textbooks everything cost money.  

Add any other comments you'd like.

I believe we have a great school and I want to see it be even better.  I want to help find ways to showcase the caliber of students and teachers we have. Academics will be my top priority. I will invest my time to encourage our community to be involved in and support our school to make it excellent.  We have to realize that if we want our students to be safe to have the best tools and resources we are the ones that provide that for them, they will only have as much as we are willing to give.  

 

Veronica Dobbins

Please provide some background information including education, community service, any involvement with the school district, family, etc.

I graduated from Clinton High School in 1996 and went on to further my education at University of Central Missouri (UCM) in Warrensburg.  I graduated from UCM in 2002 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice.  While in attendance at UCM, I met my husband, Travis Dobbins.  Travis was born and raised in Laurie and a 1996 graduate of Versailles High School.  Travis and I have been blessed with our two sons, Taylor (Senior) and Brady (5th grade).  In 2003, we relocated from Kansas City to the Laurie area.  Travis and I preferred our children be raised in a smaller community rather than that of a city.  Since 2003, I have been employed at Osage Beach Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, where I hold the position of Social Services Director.

I currently serve on the Morgan County R-II School Board as I was appointed to fill a vacancy in February 2016 and then elected for a one-year term in 2017. I also serve on the Health Advisory Committee at MCR-II.  I am a founder of Tiger Nation, a group created to strengthen community support for our students, and currently serve as President.  I am also currently helping with Project graduation.  My husband and I serve on the Hillbilly Fair Committee.  Annually, my family and I volunteer to work the Enchanted Village of Lights in Laurie.  In 2014, my husband and I also served on the Committee for the Tornado Shelter.  While our children were attending Loving Hands Preschool, I assisted with multiple large scale fundraising efforts.  I volunteered to coach T-Ball and also helped with the Laurie City Softball League.  Being I work in long term care, I have helped organize Alzheimer's Walks in the lake area, as well as Dogwood Festival Senior King & Queen Pageants in the past.

Why are you running for the board of education?

My reasons for running for re-election to the Morgan County R-II School Board are no different last year. I believe that our students deserve to have a quality education and a valuable experience while attending MCR-II.

I am passionate about our school and community.  I have put forth efforts to enhance the student experience within our community and will continue to do so.  A journey that has been extremely rewarding and one I intend to continue.

Although I have not been on the Board a full term, I do have experience.  I have a clear understanding of the importance this position holds and will always do what I truly believe is best for the students of our entire School District.  I also understand that being a Board Member extends further than a single meeting once a month.  I carry the responsibility of being a Board Member everyday.  I believe "United for Tiger Excellence" and "Tiger Pride" are more than just hashtags and words on a shirt.  It is a way of life that brings pride and respect to our school and community.

In the wake of the most recent school shootings, what can Morgan County R-II do to ensure the safety of its students?

Recent events have been undoubtedly heartbreaking and has continued to devastate our nation.  There is no greater importance than the safety of our children, our most precious part of this community.  MCR-II has worked closely with the local Police Departments to ensure the safety of our children.  With the collaboration of both, there have been many procedures and policies reviewed and continued efforts to protect our children.  I, without hesitation, strongly believe that every measure has, and will be taken, to ensure the safety of our students.  As a mother of two current students, I do not want to fear sending them to school.  More than that, I want my children to feel safe while in the hallways and classroom.  With the placement of our SRO and continued training, I feel our district is working diligently to ensure the safety of our children. That being said, we cannot become complacent.  We cannot become stagnant and must continue to be vigilant as a district. Ongoing training to our students and staff, repeated drills and constant review of procedures and buildings must continue.

How do you think the school is doing in state testing and accountability standards?

We were very strong in some areas, and will concentrate on areas felt could be stronger. There are exceptional programs that have been implemented to drive our areas of focus toward the numbers we strive for.  We have top-notch educators who are willing to go the distance for our students so they receive a quality education. I feel our teachers constantly look for ways to better themselves as educators, working toward the goal of college and career readiness.

What are three major challenges facing the school district, and how do you overcome those?

As stated I stated earlier, the safety of our children is of utmost importance. We must continuously work proactively and in collaboration of local law enforcement.

Budget is a challenge that schools face year after year. We must use our funds in ways that best suit our district.

In this fast paced, technology driven world, we must best prepare our children and constantly seek knowledge and training in its advancement.

Add any other comments you'd like.

Thank you for your time in reading our profiles and for taking an such interest in our students. I have been proud to serve on the MCR-II School Board since 2016 and would feel privileged to continue doing so. I would appreciate your vote on April 3rd!!! Thank you!!!!