By Sarah Pridgeon
The general election draws near and a range of candidates will appear on the ballot for Crook County School District #1, including all five incumbents and three new names.
Five seats will be elected for the school district, each for a four-year term. One trustee each will represent Hulett and Moorcroft and three will be elected as at-large officers.
While the Hulett and Moorcroft candidates will both run unopposed, there will be six candidates competing for the three at-large seats.
We asked each candidate the same question, offering each the opportunity to share their thoughts with voters prior to election day. That question was: why are you running for this seat?
Brian Marchant (incumbent): “The reason I’m running is that I think the current board has done some things that have been beneficial to the kids and to the school district as a whole. I would like to keep that momentum going, especially with the current budget crisis that’s occurring at the state, making sure that the district budget is as lean as possible yet takes care of the needs of the kids and the employees. I’d like to see if we can somehow boost the ag and industrial arts programs to benefit some of those kids who are not going to college and make them prepared for the trade employment that is out there, for which I think there is going to be an increase in demand in the future. If we can somehow tailor our curriculums or help that branch of kids to succeed, that would be somewhere I would like to go.”
Chase Williams (incumbent): “First of all, I’d like to thank all the teachers and administrators for all that they do for the students of Crook County. I want to run to make this great school district an even better school district, to continue to strengthen the board with common sense and business sense. I’d like to improve the parking situation at both the Moorcroft schools and I’d like to continue to make sure Moorcroft gets a fair shake in the district due to the fact that our student numbers are higher than the other schools. I just want to make sure that students come first in my book. If anyone out there has a problem, never hesitate to call me or approach me about it. I feel like I’m a guy you want to have in your corner, I will advocate for Moorcroft students and Crook County issues and I would appreciate your vote.”
Dustin Buckmiller: “As a life-long resident, I feel that we all have a civic duty to help and represent our community. I chose to run for the school board at-large position to make sure that Moorcroft, Pine Haven and the surrounding communities have a positive voice speaking for them. I ask everyone to get out and vote, take a friend with you. Text a buddy and remind them. Vote.”
Marlene Edwards (incumbent): “I am running for CCSD#1 Board Trustee because, after four years of service, I feel that I’d like to give four more years. I feel that the present board is sound and well grounded and I’m fortunate to be a part of that. We have had some serious budget issues in our state and the present board has been able to condense things, so that we did not have to lose valuable staff who are critical to the education of our children. It is the mission of the school to prepare and empower all students for successful, lifelong learning through effective teaching. I would like to continue my board service, to aid in that action.”
Jerome (Jerry) Fischbach: “I’ve been involved with education for my entire life – I’ve just retired as a teacher. I’m very concerned about vocational education in the county and I’m very concerned about school safety. Even though I’m retired, I still want to continue to be involved with the school system. I’m going to try to come in with an open mind and see what happens.”
Rick Gill (incumbent): “I am running for re-election because I like the direction CCSD #1 is heading in. In the last four years, the board has made some difficult decisions that I feel have had a very positive impact on the district as a whole. I feel I make informed decisions and keep the well being of the students and staff as the top priority when making these decisions. Our district houses five different schools with very different needs and it is important that our board members are sensitive to these needs. The future is very bright for CCSD#1 and I hope to be a part of its continued success.”
Peggy Howard: “It’s time for a change from the status quo. I am running for the school board and museum board for one basic reason: the existing board members have been serving for too long. It seems some have been on the individual boards for 30 to 20 years. I think it is time for a change. Having lived in Sundance for 33 years and worked as a secondary teacher, I feel qualified. I also have one son who graduated out of the Crook County school system. There are some vital items on both boards that have not changed, as well as other issues.”
Kenneth Rathbun (incumbent): “I’ve served on the CCSD#1 Board since 2002, and have had the privilege of serving as an appointed member of the Wyoming State Board of Education since 2013. I hope to continue to bring my perspective from my role on the State Board of Education to help our district with strategies for student success. With the implementation of the new Statewide Assessment system in 2017, our staff and students will finally be able to shoot at the same target for multiple years. I recognize the difficulty educating students in a system where the rules from higher up are continually changing, and am excited to be able to see the true growth happening with our students now that we will be able to compare apples and apples with the state’s new assessment system. One primary belief that I carry is the value of Early Childhood Education. It’s well known that children greatly benefit by receiving some level of education before kindergarten, whether that be at home or in some more structured environment. Without taking away from parents’ rights prior to the compulsory education age, the ability to make early childhood education resources available to parents who choose to use them would be beneficial to those young children. Even though K-12 education in Wyoming is not responsible for education of students prior to kindergarten, I hope to continue to be in a position to advocate for resources for pre-K students. It is my hope that I continue to bring value to the Board of Trustees.”