Three newcomers and one incumbent have registered as candidates for the South Callaway R-2 School District's Board of Education, with two seats open in the April 2 municipal election.
Candidates who would be new to the board if elected are Richard Jones, Sharon Frazee and Robert Munford. Todd Mealy, current board president, is the only incumbent in the running.
"I'm going to do my part to see that we provide the best education that we can," said Jones, who's been involved with South Callaway since the district was formed when he was a third-grader in 1959.
Jones, a retired farmer, said he graduated from South Callaway before going on to Central Missouri State University, now the University of Central Missouri, and returning to the area. He's since played a part in organizing the summer baseball league and was president of the booster club for several years.
Two of his children graduated from South Callaway, he added, and he still attends events with several grandchildren in elementary school.
Jones said he wants to prioritize increasing the opportunities students have to earn college credits while at South Callaway and helping prepare those who choose to immediately enter the workforce. He said he believes he would be a good steward of how tax dollars are spent.
As well as being board president, Mealy has served on the board for six years.
"Being on the board's not always easy," Mealy said. "There's very tough decisions to be made at times. I guess the only thing I've always done is try to make the best decisions regardless of how it affects myself or children."
Mealy, a lineman with Ameren, said he has no agenda going forward; he "just wants to make the best decisions for kids in the district."
As well as having gone to South Callaway himself, Mealy said he's had one child graduate from the school and three still attending.
"I just feel like we have a great school," he said. "I'm proud of our school, and I've been proud to be part of it and hopefully have more to offer in trying to keep us going in the right direction."
Frazee said she retired from South Callaway in May 2017 after 18 years of teaching — three years in kindergarten and 15 years in first grade. She also had two children attend the district from elementary through high school.
"I feel it's important that there's an educator on the board to look at things from the teacher's point of view, and now that I'm retired, I'm able to do that," Frazee said.
She has no specific goals if elected to the board, she said, and believes the district is currently in good standing.
"I think it's a very strong district, and I'm very positive about the things that the teachers are doing," Frazee said.
Munford, a union carpenter, said he decided to run for a position on the board after years of being a coach with several youth sports in the district. Three of his children are attending South Callaway, he added, with the oldest a junior in the high school.
"I've been involved with the school as far as coaching and, you know, everything I can be involved in as a parent," he said. "And I just kind of want to be more involved in the day-to-day decision-making."
Munford said he wants to focus on keeping the school's campus well maintained and ensuring teachers have the resources they need.
With his oldest son being hearing-impaired, Munford added he feels blessed to be part of a caring school district and wants to contribute more.
"We went to Fulton schools and North Callaway schools, and it just seemed like it was a really big issue, having a kid with a hearing impairment," Munford said. "And we went to South Callaway school, and they just welcomed us with open arms and have never been nothing but helpful."