Meet your School Board candidates

Meet your School Board candidates

Davis Corman, News Editor

 

Along with college student Jordan Emely, here are your other five School Board candidates running in next week’s election on Tuesday, May 18:

 

 

Jack Bechdel

(No photo submitted)

Why are you running for School Board?

In the simplest term, it’s about the Red Raider. Back in June, a board member suggested that the students decide on the status of the Red Raider. Flash forward to February 2nd and the board is discussing a student poll where 70% of the students responded and 80% of the respondents wanted to keep the Red Raider. This equates to 56% of the entire population offered the poll, a clear majority.The discussion continued about the thirty percent who didn’t respond and the rejection of the poll outright. I find it a travesty that a board, who gained their seats with less than forty percent of registered voters responding, cannot accept a poll with a greater turnout. It is hypocrisy. 

What do you think you can bring to the School Board that the other candidates cannot?

I’m paraphrasing. Using my phone to answer. I call it like I see it. There has been far too much sugar coating of facts in the past year. The public at large were duped into thinking that the board was only concerned with the Red Raider and nothing else. This makes the board look like simpletons, unable to accomplish more than one thing at a time. I’m a firm believer of cause and effect. Things happen for a reason and sometimes that reason isn’t with the best interests of the students in mind. I could sit here and promise the world to students and staff of Bellefonte like some people have. But I’m a realist. There are limits to what can be provided. I would prefer that the students of Bellefonte become members of society in good standing based on their merits and not expecting other entities to provide every aspect of their life.

If you are elected, what changes would you immediately want to see?

I would change how the board is conducted. The purpose of the board is to bring various viewpoints and experiences into one room and use them to ensure the success of the students and faculty. Civil discussion over topics in favor over animosity and derision. The board is not a place for individuals to conduct their own power trip. It’s cooperation and collaboration. Working together to prepare young minds to become a positive part of society. And it all started with a petition…

Anything else you would like to add?

(Received no response from candidate on this particular inquiry.)

 

Jon Guizar

Jon Guizar (Submitted Photo)

Why are you running for School Board?

I am proud to be running for School Director of the Bellefonte Area School District.  I have enjoyed the sense of service and giving back to the community where my family lives, works, and worships.

What do you think you can bring to the School Board that the other candidates cannot?

I feel I have a very unique perspective to bring to issues that others do not.  My wife Leah and I currently have 3 students in the District.  Their education has included the special education program, through regular education and to the gifted program.  We have now expanded that to include the Bellefonte E-Learning Academy, or BelA.  This, combined with my previous years of service as a School Director, and my 3 years experience as the Board President, provides me with a very unique working knowledge of district policies, offerings, and operations that no one currently serving or running has.  Additionally, I am a Civil Engineering graduate from Penn State University with a focus on structures.  I am currently employed by Nestlerode Contracting Company in Lock Haven as a senior project manager and estimator.  Given the state of our elementary buildings and the ongoing effort to choose a path forward and secure an architect, as well as the funding streams to get that project moving, I feel again that my profession and my experience on the board puts me in a position to be beneficial to the district that no one currently serving or running for the office is in.  I look forward to drawing from those experiences moving forward as school director.

If you are elected, what changes would you immediately want to see?

I would like to see the Board be unified in our effort to address the ever deepening learning gaps that have been worsened by the school closures and shifting learning models over the past year.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would just ask that our community work hard to be a model to others on how to come together around controversial issues and support those initiatives that are student focused and that put students first as we work hard to create a positive environment for all.  Let our diversity be the strength that binds us in that effort and reject those that try to leverage our diversity as a means to divide us.  Thank you for getting the word out to all and I would remind everyone to please remember to Vote.

 

Rodney Musser

(No photo submitted)

Why are you running for School Board?

I am running for reelection because there is a renewed awareness that all members of our community must be represented. That representation includes all our students as well as the taxpayers and residents of our district. In our society we must learn to respect and understand the opinions of those in the minority as well as we hear the thinking of the majority.

What do you think you can bring to the School Board that the other candidates cannot?

I bring experience with the budget, building needs, contract negotiations, legislation and the capacity to explore the needs of our staff and students. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and this is a position that requires continuous learning.

If you are elected, what changes would you immediately want to see?.

Governing the district as a team of ten requires a thoughtful process that extends over a period of time. Certainly there are uncontrollable events like the Covid virus that require immediate action but much thought has been put into the future needs of the district. For example, as bond issues are paid down opportunity then arises to tackle the needs of the elementary schools. We currently have a triple A bond rating that allows us favorable rates and benefits our tax base. We have maintained a 0 to 1 percent tax increase over the past 7 years because we have exercised smart money management.

 

Andrea Royer

Andrea Royer (Submitted Photo)

Why are you running for School Board?

 I am running for school board to help effect positive change in our district.  I have two students in the school system and I want the best for them educationally, socially and emotionally, as well as all the other students in the district.

What do you think you can bring to the School Board that the other candidates cannot?

I have years of experience in education, mental health and counseling.  I also have my Master’s in Education.  I’ve spent my life devoted to social services and my family.  Currently, I’m working with adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, so I have a real world approach to issues that others may not have experienced.  I understand the struggles some parents are facing and hope to be able to give them a clearer path to services, changes and programs that will benefit their children.

If you are elected, what changes would you immediately want to see?

If elected, the immediate changes I want to see would be a cohesive, student focused, student first board.  A board that will allow our talented and capable administration to do the jobs they’ve been hired to do without micromanaging or interfering in their day to day responsibilities of the District’s operations.  

Anything else you would like to add?

As an alumnus, a community member, a mother, a social service worker, I truly hope that I will have the opportunity to effectively serve our students, faculty, staff and community through my role as a Bellefonte School Board Member.   

 

Jeff Steiner

Jeff Steiner (Submitted Photo )

Why are you running for School Board?

Increasingly over time I have found that my greatest success and fulfillment in life has come from service to others, through both my employment and my volunteer work. It is a sacred honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity, to serve you – the students, the staff, the teachers, the administration and our incredible community.

What do you think you can bring to the School Board that the other candidates cannot?

I won’t compare myself to any other member or candidate but believe that I bring good experience and strong leadership. My primary focus is to ensure the proper processes are in place and followed, and toward that end in my two terms as a Director I have loyally served two board presidents as their vice president. I ran for this term on renovating Rogers Stadium and getting the district a track and field facility and am so grateful we were finally able to get it done.

If you are elected, what changes would you immediately want to see?

The elementary schools need to be dealt with. We have to finish the work we started pre-Covid to determine the best way to proceed, get community feedback and support. But, the stadium capital project was a real learning experience, particularly dealing with the architectural firms and project manager. This project will be a lot bigger and more complex. The district will need tough and savvy board members to watch out for its best interests.

Anything else you would like to add?

If elected, this will be my final term. My hope is that over the next four years I can help to see through the elementary school updates, work with my fellow board members and the administration to take the district to even greater heights, hand Alexa and Zoey their diplomas and ride off into the sunset.