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Candidate profiles: Four vie for Creston School Board

Four candidates are challenging for three spots on the Creston School Board. Candidates are Tom Eagen, Rich Flynn, Sharon Snodgrass and Galen Zumbach. The election is Sept. 10.

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 11:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 11:58 a.m. CDT

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Tom Eagan

Tom Eagan has been a self-employed electrician for seven years. Before that, he worked at Central Iowa Power Cooperative for six years as a dispatcher, and as an electrician at Bunn-O-Matic for 12 years before that.

Q: What will you do to make Creston School District better?

A: “I’d like to see if there’s some way to maybe speed up the process,” Eagan said. “One example is how long it’s taking for the bus barn. There’s got to be a better way to maybe speed up, get information faster on the bus barn.”

Q: How will you go about achieving that goal?

A: “Hopefully, try to get the board to work together a little bit more,” said Eagan. “It seems they go off on tangents a little bit to me. As a person of the public, it’s hard to get the information if I’m not at every meeting. ... What I’d like to see them do is have a website, and record the meeting and have them put it on there for the public.”

Q: Why do you think you’re the right one for the job?

A: “As a parent, I’m more all about the kids, giving all the kids all the opportunities for them to succeed.”

Rich Flynn

Rich Flynn served on Creston School Board from 1999 to 2001. He then filled an empty position in 2003, and stayed on the board until 2006.

Q: What will you do to make Creston School District better?

A: “Continue working on the education of our students. We need to improve things for our younger children, not only in school, but at home, too. I wouldn’t have a problem with starting a student earlier. We’ve had the preschool grants. That helps with more class time with a teacher, which means you’d have to add either more hours to the day or days to the year. But then, you’ve got to be careful with that because that raises the cost to the taxpayer. And, half of my job is making sure the taxpayer gets their fair share.”

Q: How will you go about achieving that goal?

A: “We have to make the decision amongst our community that we are going to add more classroom time, maybe smaller classes, to get our students to have more time on task so that they can work better. The younger students need to be prepared ... so that they can get started. The more time that you spend in the classroom, more cost. We need to get everybody so that they are reading and comprehending at a younger age. We can add days to the year, we can add minutes to the days, we just have to have the minimum amount, but we have a great group of teachers that can provide a great education to the students. We need to get the parents involved at home. ... It’s just a cooperative effort amongst everybody to help educate our students.”

Q: Why do you think you’re the right one for the job?

A: “I’ve got 10 and a-half years on the school board. I have seen a lot of things that none of the other members have seen. I think I have more time than all of them combined. Maybe it’s the experience that I can bring back to the board. We’ve started a lot of projects that I would like to see finished. ... Somebody needs to be able to see things from a different light, maybe not from the business world or the agriculture or education. Maybe someone who has spent more time with people, working with people, and not in one particular area, and that’s something I have done over the years.”

Sharon Snodgrass

Sharon Snodgrass, Creston School Board president, has been on the board since May 2012 when she replaced Kevin Scadden after he resigned from the board April 2012.

Snodgrass was associate to the prekindergarten program at Creston Schools in 1970, and superintendent secretary in 1971-72. She then taught from 1972 to 2001. In 2001, she became curriculum director and school improvement coordinator 2001-2004 for Early Childhood Center, 2004-2011 principal kindergarten level, retired in 2011

Q: What will you do to make Creston School District better?

A: “I think one of the things that we have to keep foremost in our minds is what is best for kids. All the while, we have to be cognizant of our fiscal responsibilties. I think improving student achievement is foremost among the priorities on our board, and for me, but we have a board that has that priority.”

Q: How will you go about achieving that goal?

A: “We have to keep communication lines open between administrators and the teachers and the board. It’s important for us to have them share what they’re doing in terms of their instructional work. It’s also important for us to listen to administrators as to celebrations and challenges that they face.”

Q: Why do you think you’re the right one for the job?

A: “I do believe that I have a good working knowledge of the things that happen at school, that make it a good opportunity for our students. I do have the best interest for students in my heart. I want them to have the best that they can from us, as part of the leadershep of the Creston School District.”

Galen Zumbach

Galen Zumbach has been on Creston School Board for approximately two years. He replaced former board member Tammy Kavanaugh, who did not run for re-election. Zumbach graduated from Iowa State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He retired after 33 years of teaching ag science and FFA advising in 2010.

Q: What will you do to make Creston School District better?

A: “It’s kind of like what Yogi Bear once said, ‘You’ve got to be very careful where you’re going because you might not get there.’ I think we have in place an administration group and teachers that are working well together in accepting our student needs. ... I want to continue forward with the direction our school district is heading. I want to be accessible to the public. I want to work extremely hard to make our school a safe and orderly environment.”

Q: How will you go about achieving that goal?

A: “It’s hard to say what will you do. We’ve done a lot of things. ... We’re looking at a new technology plan. Whether it’s one on one, we want to make sure the technology is in place to support teacher instruction and student achievenemt in the 21st century. ... It’s interesting. Once you get on the board, there’s a reason the school board meetings last three hours or more. There are so many things going on, and it’s important teachers and administrators are working together, as well as with the support of the board.”

Q: Why do you think you’re the right one for the job?

A: “I taught 33 years in the Creston school system. I worked with young people, not only in the classroom, but outside the classroom, to develop their academic ability. I think I bring a unique perspective to the board. ... I worked for several publishing companies for previewing and reviewing test books, and those are the types of things a lot of board members don’t have. There are a lot of good board members out there, but they don’t have that (experience).”

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