Election day is Tuesday, April 3. Carthage residents will choose two of three candidates serve for the next three years on the Carthage R-9 Board of Education. On the ballot are Michael Goolsby, Lee Elliff Pound and Bill Lasley. These three candidates answered a list of questions from The Carthage Press to allow us to give you a snapshot of these people who are seeking your vote.
Lee Elliff Pound
Husband, Mike Pound (married 27 years in August), and daughter, Emma Pound, a Carthage High School Graduate of 2016, now a Sophomore at the University of Kansas in the School of Architecture.
How long have you lived in Carthage:
I am a life-long resident of Carthage, and lived away two short years after college graduation
What do you do for a living:
I am the Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations for Missouri Southern State University and have worked there in that position for 21 1/2 years.
What made you decide to run for school board:
I am running and seeking re-election for the Carthage R-9 Board of Education because I am very passionate about education and how it affects our students, faculty and staff, and our community. We have a very strong school district in Carthage and we have been very successful to date in defining our challenges and seeking our new opportunities to meet those challenges. It is my hope to be able to continue to serve in this volunteer capacity for our district and our community to further strengthen the school system and continue to meet our goals we had set forth with the Carthage 2020 Committee, established through the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.
Are there issues in Carthage you feel are not being addressed by school leaders:
Carthage is a very unique community and had very unique challenges. I believe, after serving on the Board of Education for the past 12 1/2 years that our school leaders not only address the issues, but are very proactive. You cannot tell how successful a school district is just by looking at things like MAP scores. There are a variety of issues that factor into data - and although data is very important to use for comparison, to chart growth and to set a path for success, that is only one portion of how to view our success. Fairview School recently showed us how they individually chart each student on their personal reading success and goals. Because of this unique way of charting their students' success, they had the ability to know where each student currently stood on the individual path, where they should be at this point of the year and how they can help get them there. That is not something you can just look at as a "number" or a "score", but that is where you see true leadership and caring by school leaders, principals, teachers, faculty and staff. And that is what takes place in each one of our Carthage R9 schools, and that is something of which we should all be very proud.
What is good about the Carthage school district:
I believe we have so many great things about the Carthage R9 School District. First and foremost - our Administration, faculty and staff. You can't have a great district if you don't have great people working in it. Secondly, our great students. They are achieving amazing things every day - from winning state awards, to being recognized for their academic achievements, to representing our Dual Language Program at the Missouri State Capital. These students go on to do great things after they graduate - starting businesses, going on to Trade and Tech programs, continuing their education in College and University settings, just to name a few things. Over the past 12 1/2 years that I have served on the Carthage Board of Education, we have been able to do these great things to make our district even stronger:
• Pass a $30 Million bond issue in 2006 to build a new high school, with a 64.78 percent pass rate in 2006 and serving as Communications Chair.
• Pass a $2.15 Million bond issue, no tax increase, with matching grant funds to build the Carthage Tech Center, with a 76.74 percent pass rate in 2009 and serving as the Communications Chair and also serving in the capacity of BOE Secretary.
• Pass an $18 Million bond issue, no tax increase, with a 66.99 percent pass rate in 2014 and serving as BOE President.
• Assist in raising over $300,00 in private funds to build the Early Childhood/Special Education Center as serving as BOE President.
• Add safety implementations to schools, including door entryways and SAFE rooms throughout the district.
• Work with administration to support and implement a Dual Language Program for the district.
• Assisting in raising nearly $1 Million in private funds to build the new football stadium.
What can be Improved about the Carthage School District:
While I think we have an amazing school district, we can always make improvements, and you see those improvements continually - the thought process of using each and every building to its best ability to suit the needs of our students, to continue to grow the Dual Language Program in our district, the continued volunteer service to stuff backpacks for our students who need extra food over the weekends - these are the signs of our continual improvement in the district. Improvements are made by carefully reviewing the needs of the district and using what is available to us to conservatively use the finances for the best use possible. Our Carthage 2020 vision and focus groups have helped us to define these needs and we carefully follow those plans for improvement, while also looking for outside support to get those projects accomplished in a reasonable timeframe and at the best cost possible.
Anything else to add:
I am proud to have served with such an exceptional group of leaders on the Carthage R9 Board of Education and it was a true privilege to receive the Outstanding Board of Education in Teaching, Learning and Assessment by the Missouri School Board Association while serving at the Board President.