St. Joseph School Board Pres. Williams has goals in mind for 2nd term

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KFEQ broadcast the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce school board candidate forum/file photo

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

St. Joseph School Board President LaTonya Williams led a
crowded field for three school board seats during Tuesday’s election.

Williams was the top vote-getter, receiving 4,383 voters or
nearly 15%, of the vote. Williams was excited to receive the most votes in a
10-candidate field.

“Yes, yes. Out of everything, I am extremely most surprised about
that,” Williams tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post.

Williams says she has an agenda in mind for a second term.

“Number one, I would like to continue with our goals and
vision, like our long-range plan,” Williams says. “Getting an action plan in
order to make those things happen and then, of course, a levy for teacher pay.”

School Superintendent Gabe Edgar has released a wide-ranging
long-range plan for the Board of Education to consider. It deals with teacher
pay, student academics, and the structure of the St. Joseph School District
from elementary through high school.

Voters chose two new school board members, Mike Moore and
Ronda Chesney.

Moore says the contentious school board debate over the
proposed four-day school week disclosed something beyond a shorten week.

“No matter where you stand on that issue, it was clear that
the teachers need our help and they need our support,” Moore tells KFEQ/St.
Joseph Post.

Moore came in second Tuesday with 4,193 votes, or 14.31%, of
the vote.

One of Moore’s goals aims directly at school board member
conduct, hoping to settle a school board recently rocked by controversy.

“As a board, we want to represent the behaviors that we expect
from our students,” Moore says. “And, so, I look forward to that being a very
functional board with the teachers’ and students’ best interest in mind.”

The St. Joseph School Board has voted to censure member
Whitney Lanning for her confrontation with member Isaura Garcia after the
February 26th school board meeting, in which the board narrowly
rejected a proposed four-day school week. A counter censure measure made by
Lanning against Garcia, for Garcia allegedly insulting Lanning’s child, failed
to pass.

Winning the third seat on the school board was Ronda Chesney,
a former teacher and now an education instructor at Missouri Western, who says her
background gives her a unique perspective.

“So, I’m just excited to be able to be a board member and be
able to talk the school talk that has to happen between board members and
administration,” Chesney tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post.

Chesney received 4,012 votes Tuesday or 13.69% of the vote.

All three were the only candidates to top 4,000 votes in
Tuesday’s election.

Jacob McMillian came in fourth with former school board member,
Tami Pasley, coming in fifth. School Board Vice President Kenneth Reeder lost
his re-election bid, coming in sixth.

You can follow Brent on X @GBrentKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.