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School board elections: Helena Flats

by HILARY MATHESON
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 Helena Flats School District candidates.

Helena Flats has two three-year terms open with three candidates — Kevin Fritz and Jessica Dyer, both incumbents, and Lynsi DeWaard.

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, 1000 Helena Flats Road, Kalispell. The district must receive ballots by 8 p.m. May 4.

Name: Kevin Fritz (i)

Occupation: IT manager/ farmer

Background/experience: 4-H leader, president of 4-H Ag Committee, and former elementary teacher.

Why are you running? I want to help improve education for our kids. There have been several initiatives we started in the last couple of years that I want to see through to completion. We have evaluated some of the most proven and effective curriculums and are beginning to implement the first of those curriculums. It should improve our students reading and writing skills and provide resources to our teaching staff. We need to improve our STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses. I would like all students that graduate from Helena Flats be familiar with spreadsheets, some programming, experienced with 3D printers and other basic skills so they can choose to pursue additional courses in high school and beyond to make themselves more competitive in today’s market world.

The teaching staff has done a wonderful job this year of assessing students and providing additional support to meet students' needs after Covid shut down the schools last year. There is still more work that needs to be done. We need to offer summer school, and after-school programs to not just get students caught up, but to have them excel. Students should always be the priority. It’s what parents expect and our community.

Name: Jessica Dyer (i)

Occupation: Preschool owner/teacher at Spread Their Wings Preschool

Background/experience: I have sat on the school board for Helena Flats School for the last three years. Over the past 10 years, I have held office on our school's Parent/Teacher Organization, volunteered at the school, sat on the board of other nonprofits, and have been an active member/parent in our small community.

Why are you running? I am running for our school board because I truly believe in our school and in public education. I think that it is my duty as a parent and community member to show support for our school. I have learned about school finance/budgets, how tax dollars are spent, what it means to support a staff and administration, and what it truly takes to make sure that our kids are receiving the best possible education.

As a school board member, I want to represent our community, our staff, and our kids.

Name: Lynsi DeWaard

Occupation: Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Northwest Montana

Background/experience: Zookeeper for 10 years (everything from customer service, educational presentations, news segments, supervising, and more). I have served on different types of boards: Pheasants for the Future; Associate Leadership Council at my company (two years); Evergreen Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador; host community events to raise funds for Humane Society; president of my HOA; and launch coach for new agents in my office. I am also on the NMAR Professional Development Committee (NMAR Educational Board for Realtors).

Why are you running? I am running for the Helena Flats School Board because parents and students need to have someone be their voice, their voice needs to be heard. I have heard from many parents, from many school districts that they are not being heard, their concerns are not being addressed. That is part of the school board’s job. They represent the people; they are voted in by the parents. I want to be that voice. Students of all ages/grades are struggling, as are parents, we need to fix that. How the students are being taught and what they are being taught needs to be transparent to the parents. A constitutional curriculum, remove the masks and let kids be kids.

The kids need to come first!