Sunday, September 19, 2021

School board elections: Deer Park

Daily Inter Lake | April 20, 2021 12:00 AM

School elections are May 4 with contested trustee races in several school districts.

Information on candidates will be published throughout the week. Candidates were invited to respond to questions emailed by the Daily Inter Lake to provide voters with more information such as a candidate’s background, experience and reason for running.

The following information is for Deer Park School District candidates.

There are three candidates running for two three-year terms. Candidates are Mickale Carter, Jeremy Grady and Andrew Kriss.

A mail-ballot election will be held. The district has until April 19 to mail ballots to registered voters. Ballots may be returned by mail or in-person to the district office, 2105 Middle Road, Columbia Falls. The district must receive ballots by 8 p.m. May 4.

Name: Mickale Carter

Occupation: Part-time pro bono family law legal work

Background/experience: Graduated from Deer Park School and Columbia Falls High School; earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in education/emphasis in special education and Juris Doctor degree, all from the University of Montana.

Teaching experience: taught for about 10 years before going to law school, at Bissell Olney and in Eastern Montana; taught high school and junior high math, then remedial math, then grades 6-8 all subjects; taught evidence for Pepperdine Law School, London Program for two semesters and taught business law at Flathead Valley Community College, spring semester 2020.

Legal experience: law clerk; insurance defense attorney; assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Alaska; after marrying my husband, who was in the Air Force, practiced law as a sole practitioner in the Washington, D.C., area, England, Germany, New Mexico and Virginia; worked as an independent contractor attorney for the court system; independent contractor Guardian ad Litem attorney for the court system in Dodge County, representing the best interest of children caught up in the legal system.

Community service: Anchorage Women’s Commission, past chair and vice-chair; foster parent in Germany for American military children; Beaver Dam Rotary member and past president; Beaver Dam Exchange Club past president; board of directors Big Brother Big Sisters of Dodge County; a “Big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dodge County; Master Gardener, Dodge County; Youth Master Gardener Program.

Why are you running for the school board? I have a deep connection to Deer Park School. The solid educational background and life experience I received there provided the foundation for success in my life. I would like to ensure that all students at Deer Park have a similar positive experience which prepares them to be successful in high school and beyond.

Deer Park is also important to my family. My mother, Thelma “Tim” Carter, nee Leighty, and

her 17 siblings all went to school at Deer Park. My six siblings also went to school at Deer Park.

My father, Douglas “Todd” Carter was on the school board for a number of years.

While teaching business law at FVCC, I became aware that only two of my 22 students were

familiar with the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

In the early ’60s at Deer Park, we learned all this in seventh- and eighth-grade U.S. History class. I believe that knowledge about the history and foundation of our county is essential to ensure that the United States continues as a nation. I want to make sure that the history of our nation and its founding principles are being adequately taught at Deer Park.

If elected, is there anything you want to see accomplished? In addition to a curriculum and student achievement review, I would like to foster more community involvement in the school. The people in the Deer Park community have a lot to offer. I would like them to share their knowledge and skills with the students. This could include after-school programs similar to the Youth Master Gardener Program, and/or a mentor program not unlike the Big Brother Big Sister program, and/or a tutor program for students needing extra instruction. It could also include a “lecture” series made up of locals sharing their life story or expertise on a subject.

Name: Andy Kriss

Occupation: Installer at The Blind Guy, CrossFit coach, small business consultant, Montana real estate agent, certified specialist of wine, level II sommelier

Background/experience: Former small business owner; National Federation of Independent Business; Twin Birth Square Association vice president; South Many Lakes HOA; Columbia Heights Townhome Association vice-president; Bigfork Bandits; Columbia Falls Rapids; Mission 22 nonprofit for veteran suicide prevention.

Why are you running? I have a son, Sterling, in kindergarten at Deer Park and am dedicated to the success of the school. I have trained over 1,000 young men and women in my career in the restaurant business and can work with various ideas and compromise to achieve common goals. The challenges facing our schools are unprecedented and will require leadership with forethought and confidence. Mitigating and balancing the exponential growth we are experiencing will be the most daunting task. There are hot-button issues for parents and schools right now with a lot of emotions and I want to ensure that Deer Park is in the best position possible for the future of the school and more importantly for the future of the children and the education they receive. Thank you for your consideration.

If elected, is there anything you want to see accomplished? I will be an advocate for the children and for the future of our community.