Know your Center School Board candidates

April 2 is around the corner. Get to know your Center School Board candidates.

Center School Board Candidates

One Year Term (Vote for One)

Stephen Stricklin

 Stephen Stricklin, 52,  has served on the School Board since 2011. He graduated from a local community college and is currently employed as a technical field manager for a global communications company. Stricklin’s wife and three children have attended Center schools. Stricklin has been a boy scout leader, worked on the Mayor’s program to provide a safe space for teens during the summer months, and coached youth basketball and baseball.  “I would like to….work even harder to give each student in our district a chance to thrive and grow beyond anything they have ever believed,” he says. His priorities are to improve the safety and security of the schools, work alongside current leadership to improve student achievement, and, if the Bond issue passes,  invest money in buildings and facilities. While serving on the Board, Center was awarded the Top performing Urban District in the State of Missouri in 2014.

Danielle Quinn

Danielle Quinn, 48, graduated with a degree in marketing and has a Master of Divinity degree. She is an associate pastor with a large local church and an associate hospital chaplain. She has been an active member and a two-term president of Center’s PTA, a registered volunteer with Center Friends’ Mentorship Program and a regular volunteer at the Middle School. She is married with three school-aged children attending Boone Elementary and Center Middle School.

“I am concerned that Center has struggled in recent years to retain its best teachers and has slipped in its Annual Performance Report (APR) score” she says. “I believe we need new voices on Center’s school board to address these key issues that will help the District regain its former academic success.” Quinn would like better transparency and accountability from the Board.

Jonathan Decker

Jonathan Decker, 31, graduated with a Bachelors in Accounting  from Avila University and is working on a Masters in Accounting from UMKC. Decker emphasizes putting student achievement first, spending responsibly, and creating better community engagement. Decker does not have a child in the district, but believes his strengths lie in his profession as an accountant, enabling him to better review financial statements to analyze school operating efficiencies and performances.

Three Year Term (Vote for two)

Beverly Cunningham

Beverly Cunningham, 48, is the current Board Chairman. She has a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Public Administration. Cunningham has two children in the Center School District and has volunteered with various children’s organizations, including the Juvenile Justice Center, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Girl Scouts. She volunteers extensively in school programs. “Throughout my time in the Center School District we have faced ups and downs. Focusing on the ups, we have made significant gains having been accredited with distinction in 2014 and more recently earning 90.4% on our Annual Performance report,” she says. “I have also been a part of the not so good times and have worked with district administration to improve those areas that have been identified as needing work and will continue to do so by holding the superintendent and staff accountable to continue to become the best district we can be.”

Cecilia Ball

Cecilia Ball, 55 , graduated from Center High School and has an accounting degree from the University of Missouri. She is an auditor for the Office of Defense Office of Inspector General.  She has been a school board member for the past four years. She has two children; one a recent graduate of Center and the other in middle school. Ball believes having an analytical ability works toward ensuring fiscal responsibility at the school and improves excellence.

Ron Fritz

Ron Fritz, 64, is a retired public school administrator, teacher, coach and athletic director.  He carries a doctorate in education, a specialist degree in school superintendency, masters degree in school principalship, and bachelors degree in education. He has served school districts in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. Fritz  has two sons who are teachers in the District and three grandchildren who are students in District schools.

Fritz says during his career in education he made multiple decisions enhancing school districts. He believes his experience in school safety training will benefit the district students, staff and patrons. He also believes the recruitment, hiring and sustaining high quality teachers is a must for a successful school system. Fritz says he is committed, ready and available to listen and communicate. Finally, Fritz has the time and energy to serve as a Board of Education team member.

Sam Cook

Sam Cook, 40, has lived in the Center School District for seven years. His son is a 1st grader at Boone Elementary. He has a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s in Public Administration. For the past 16 years, he has worked for Kansas City non-profits providing services to youth and families living in poverty. He is currently the Area Director for Code Ninjas, youth education centers preparing kids for careers in STEM.

“A board of education should focus on the oversight of student educational achievement and

the appropriate use of public funds,” says Cook. “The most important task that a school board has is the hiring of a Superintendent who oversees day to day operations of the district. For Center, we must be focused on the financial oversight due to the $50 million bond we have on the ballot on April 2.”

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