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Mon, Feb. 17

Eight vie for 3 Mayer school board seats

(EDITOR'S NOTE – This is the fourth installment in a series of articles highlighting the candidates area voters will see on their Nov. 2 ballots. Five governing boards will face the voter's scrutiny on Nov. 2, encompassing 29 candidates vying for 15 positions combined.)

Voters in the Mayer Unified School District (MUSD) will elect as many as three directors to serve on the MUSD Governing Board.

The two candidates vying for a single one-year position are, (in alphabetical order): Jesse Bais and Laura Tew.

Jesse Bais is a consultant and has lived in Mayer since he was six.

An MUSD board member from 1980-88 and from 2000 to the present, Bais says he is proud to have helped guide the MUSD Information Technology upgrade effort.

"What I hope to accomplish is to help make sound and informative decisions based on facts," says Bais.

Laura Tew has lived in Mayer for the last three years and is a homemaker.

Tew is currently the Parent/Teachers Organization president for Mayer Elementary School. She has three children attending MUSD schools.

"I am running for the school board because, as a parent, I wanted a say in my children's education," says Tew, "I have two children in the gifted program and one in special needs, so I have a pretty good idea of what happens at our schools. If elected, some of my priorities will be giving parents a voice on our board, the gifted programs at our schools and improving our junior high school."

The six candidates who are competing for two four-year positions are, (in alphabetical order): Kathy King, Mark Mathern, Sharon Richardson, Mark T. Remington, Kathryn Want and Diane Wortman.

Kathy King has lived in Mayer for the last 16 years and is a middle school teacher at the Orme School.

"Before that, I was a secretary at Mayer Elementary School," says King, "I have over 25 years experience working in educational institutions from elementary to college level."

"I'm motivated to run for this position because of a strong commitment to family, education and community," says King.

Mark Mathern has lived in the MUSD for the past 32 years.

"My children have attended Mayer schools for the past 12 years and I will have children in the school for the next six years," says Mathern. " I am running for the board because I want my children and all the other children in this community to receive a quality education."

Mathern believes an important goal for the MUSD is "increasing the awareness of what's happening in our schools by electing school board members who actually have children in the MUSD."

Sharon Richardson has lived in Arizona for the past eight years and is a regional pharmacy manager.

"I am running for this seat on the school board because I value education and the role of our schools in society," says Richardson. "I also have a personal interest, as my third grade daughter has attended Mayer Elementary since kindergarten and I expect all of her elementary and high school years will be spent in this district."

One of Richardson's key goals, if elected, is accountability.

"This is the standard in business and I see no reason why the school district should not operate under the same standard. The difference here is that our business is children," says Richardson.

Mark T. Remington is a therapeutic foster parent.

He says two of his main areas of interest are continuing the "great strides towards meeting government standards" he's seen at MUSD and increasing community involvement in MUSD.

"Our schools should reflect the best that is in all of us and our community," says Remington. "I believe that not just students but parents, teachers, administration and school board members are accountable for what happens in our schools."

Diane Wortman has lived in Cordes Lakes for the last three years and runs a business there.

"Being a local business owner, has given me a unique opportunity to talk to kids and parents about the issues of our schools," says Wortman. "The biggest concern I hear seems to be a reduction in enrollment, with kids leaving MUSD and going to other schools."

Wortman says investigation of this matter and possible separation of the junior and senior high, without raising taxes, would be her priorities, if elected.

Kathryn Want has served several terms as a member of the MUSD Governing Board and has completed two courses on boardsmanship.

"All board members need this knowledge," says Want. "So they can make an informed decision."

Want said she is proud of previous board accomplishments: the new cafeteria at Mayer Junior/Senior High School, new classrooms at Mayer Elementary and the MUSD Computer Tech Center.

"A committee has been formed to seek information from the community as how to better serve our students," says Want, "I'd like to remain on the board to see these new undertakings accomplished."

Voters in the MUSD election will choose as many as three candidates to serve on the MUSD Governing Board. They also may "write-in" the name of a qualified candidate.

For the location of a polling station or other information about the voting process, voters should call the Yavapai County Elections Department at 928-771-3250.

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