School board candidates gear up for race

December 14, 2012

There will be a contested race in the April 2 election for two seats on the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education.

Sedalia School District Foundation Alumni Committee Chair Diana Nichols filed as a candidate on Thursday morning; incumbents Stan Bowlin and David Wolf both filed Tuesday, the first day documents could be submitted.

Bowlin is finishing his fifth term on the board, first winning a seat in 1997. On his first campaign, he said his goal was to make certain that all students were reading at grade level.

“That’s one of the questions I always asked the superintendent,” Bowlin said. “When I was first on the board, the athletic area was the most important thing in the district. Now it’s changed to where academics is most important, and everything else around is better because of that.”

If re-elected, Bowlin’s goal is for the community to work together with the board to ensure district success.

“Before, there was division in the community and special interest groups were trying to run things. I’m always trying to keep the community together, working for all of the kids. When we all pull together, we can get much, much more done,” he said.

Wolf’s first term on the board is coming to a close. He is proud of how the board worked with administrators to get the district through the recent financial crunch.

“Dr. (Harriet) Wolfe is a wonderful financial administrator,” he said of the superintendent. “Her guidance was important in getting us through that. We made some tough decisions, but I think we came out pretty strong. We are now ahead of the game on other districts.”

Wolf also was pleased to play a role in hiring Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt as the replacement for Wolfe, who is retiring at the end of the current school year.

“Mr. Pollitt is going to do a great job,” Wolf said. “I like seeing a local person in that role.”

If re-elected, Wolf looks forward to continuing to work as a team with other board members. He said the current board is focused on “the betterment of the district and the kids. We get along well; we don’t always agree, but when we don’t it is done respectfully. It is important to continue with that.”

Nichols said she has been involved with the district ever since her daughter entered kindergarten 23 years ago.

“PTA, home-room mom, class activities, field trips — it got in my blood,” she said.

Nichols has been involved with the foundation for the past eight years and said she believes in the district and its “amazing staff.” About five years ago, she was approached about running for the board but since she had begun taking college courses, board candidacy was put “on the back burner for three or four years.”

“The last two years, I have started paying more attention and reading more, listening more. I am excited about the possibility of taking my involvement with the school district even further,” she said.

Nichols said there was no specific issue that prompted her to seek a school board seat, but she has seen the district improve “by leaps and bounds, and it has been fun to watch — maybe that motivated me. ... I don’t feel like I am running against anyone, I am running for something I believe in.

“I just want to do what I can to keep the district on top.”