Archive for Wednesday, January 3, 2007

School incumbents seek re-election

January 3, 2007

Last week, two Tonganoxie school board members filed for re-election.

Diane Truesdell filed to hold Position No. 1, and Leana Leslie filed to retain Position No. 3.

Truesdell has been on the board since February, when she was appointed to fill the unexpired term of The Rev. Rick Lamb, who moved to Texas.

Truesdell described herself as someone who's willing to listen, who's willing to process other opinions and who's a team player.

She said the district's strengths lie in what she said was an excellent staff.

"It's shown by their longevity, that they stay in their jobs," Truesdell said. "And I think we have a very caring school district."

Truesdell and her husband, Jim Truesdell, have three children. Their 18-year-old son, Tyler, is a freshman at Kansas University. Lindsey, 13, is in seventh grade, and Keaton, 11, is in the fifth grade.

Both their younger children will be attending classes in the district's new middle school when the spring semester starts.

"I'm excited about the new middle school, and I think that's a strong point that we built the new school," Truesdell said.

And, she's aware of challenges the district faces, one of the biggest she said, is watching the budget. And there's possible future enrollment growth.

"People don't want to hear it, but probably in the future there are going to be space problems," Truesdell said. "Growing pains."

Leslie, in her fourth year on the board, filed Friday.

Leslie said she made the decision after talking to her husband, Ron Leslie, and their children, Makayla, 12, and Justyn, 10.

The family is involved in 4-H and Makayla plays competitive softball, activities that require family time commitments.

"I wanted to make sure that it's not going to take away from my family time," said the 38-year-old Leslie. "I also wanted to feel that I can give my full attention, 100 percent, to the district when needed to."

Leslie said one of the district's top priorities should be to work to continue to make a smooth transition into the new middle school. And, she said, throughout the district, student safety is paramount. The students need to feel comfortable and safe in their environment, she said.

"It's very hard as a student to learn if you don't feel safe," Leslie said.

Leslie, who has lived in Tonganoxie for eight years, said she's willing to talk about patrons' concerns at board meetings.

"The whole point of us being elected is for the people in the community's voice to be heard," she said. "I feel like we need to make sure that we're open to the communication to let those voices be heard."

As of Friday, no one else had filed to run for Leslie's seat, which is Position No. 3. Last month, Tonganoxie resident Alan Theno filed to run for the Position No. 1 seat. And Mildred McMillon and Francie Campbell are contending for the at-large Position No. 4 seat held by Dr. Richard Dean, who is not running for re-election. As of Friday, no one had filed for Position No. 2, held by Ron Moore, who does not plan to run for re-election.

The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23, and the general election will be April 3.

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