FORT WAYNE – The race for Wawasee Community Schools board pits two newcomers against two incumbents, while Whitko Community Schools has only one contested race.
In Wawasee District 1, challenger Brent Robinson faces incumbent Michael Wilson.
Wilson finished out the last two years of someone elses turn, then was elected to a four-year term. He has a bachelors degree and a masters degree in elementary education.
Im a firm believer in public education. I also believe in giving back to the community, Wilson said. This is one way to do that – I feel Ive got the background and can make things better.
Robinson works in the family construction business and has been very involved in the Wawasee schools, where his wife is a swim coach.
He said students graduating with honors are struggling in college courses that should be review.
Somethings wrong, Robinson said. My opinion is its the way the place is managed. I dont think its the teachers problem.
In Wawasee District 2, challenger Brandy Maney faces incumbent George Gilbert.
Gilbert is a retired school superintendent. Like Wilson, he finished out someone elses term but is now finishing his second full term.
Gilbert said he wants to remain on the board to maintain the good work it has been doing.
I think were headed in the right direction, he said. The budget is a big problem, but thats a state problem. And Id like to have better test scores. But the state keeps changing the rules on us.
Maney did not respond to several requests for comment.
In Whitko Community Schools, Joseph Begley is unopposed in District 3, while Georgia Tenney will face Philip Menzie in District 1.
Menzie was the business manager and director of finance for 13 years at Whitko before becoming business manager at Fairfield Community Schools.
Im still working in the business, so Im up to speed on the state legislature and what theyre doing, Menzie said.
The district is considering a building project, Menzie said, and while hes not opposed to it, he said he will give it the close scrutiny it deserves.
Im not saying it doesnt need to be done, but thats always a big issue for the taxpayers and the community, he said.
Tenney also has decades of experience in the schools: She retired last year after 32 years as the school secretary at Whitko Middle School.
I feel that I know Whitko inside and out, she said. I believe in excellence for all, and I hope to make sure that teachers and students have the necessary supplies and equipment to make them successful in the classroom.