Five vying for three seats on Jefferson City School Board

Tuesday marked the final day of filing for several area school boards, including Jefferson City. The April 4, 2023, election will host a spate of familiar faces, along with several new ones.

The JC Schools Board has three three-year positions available, and five people have filed.

Incumbent Scott Hovis filed on the first day of filing. Hovis has experience as a member of the JC Schools Foundation Board and as the executive director of the Missouri Golf Association. Hovis, who currently serves as president of the school board, said the district is "making great progress" and is headed in the right direction under Superintendent Bryan McGraw.

Incumbent Brad Bates also filed on the first day of filing. Bates is executive director of Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association and has been involved in several district initiatives, including chairing the campaign to build Pioneer Trail Elementary School and passing a proposition to build Capital City High School. Bates said he's excited about the progress in the district, including increased Advanced Placement participation and a new STEM school. He wants to focus on teacher recruitment and retention, reducing classroom disruptions and emphasizing better academic outcomes.

Newcomer Michael D. Harvey brings experience in finance and public service to his campaign. Harvey has served four terms on the Cole County Republican Central Committee, four terms as a First Ward city councilman, and 11/2 terms as a Holts Summit alderman.

Harvey lives in Holts Summit and said he is passionate about all parts of the district.

"I'm very interested in the growth and the equity of our school district from east to west and north, to see that the children ... all have the same advantages throughout the district," he said.

Newcomer Tapiwa "Felix" Madondo has 17 years of experience working for the state government. He currently works for the Department of Revenue. Madondo said he'd like to see a focus on recruitment of new teachers. Madondo suggested starting the recruitment process earlier and targeting college sophomores and juniors, who may be undecided about their career plans.

Other subjects he'd like to focus on are maintaining a positive teaching environment and ensuring student safety, along with education about social media and responsible use of technology.

Suzanne Luther, a former educator, filed to run on Tuesday. Luther spent about 20 years teaching in the Jefferson City and Eldon school districts. Luther said she decided to run because she felt it was important to keep the focus on children, and she felt she was a candidate that could bring that focus.