There are two open positions on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, and two people running. Incumbent Brook Nichols, currently Board President, is seeking reelection, and newcomer Patricia Eary is running for Trustee Tim Avery’s seat, who opted not to run again. These are six-year terms. Voters are reminded to vote at their local city or township hall.
Brook Nichols grew up in Edwardsburg, Michigan and then graduated from Grand Valley State before moving to Cedar Springs in 1997. She works in the Financial Service industry and started her own Financial Planning business in 2001. “I help clients plan and save for retirement as well as assist them with college planning and life insurance needs.” She and her husband have two daughters, and you can often quite often find them at soccer, volleyball and basketball games, working in the Band Boosters concessions or attending marching band competitions. Brook was elected to the Board of Education in 2004, and has served as Trustee, Secretary, Vice President and President. She has also served on several different committees.
“I have learned so much being on the board and am proud of our district for their collaborative approach in contract negotiations and solving day to day problems to make our schools better,” she said. “The past six years have been challenging financially, but the staff and administration has worked tirelessly to overcome these obstacles to continue to provide an excellent education for our students.”
She said the major challenges of the district continue to be related to our funding. “We need to continue to work together be efficient with our resources. One of my main concerns is class size, especially at the elementary level. Another concern is keeping up with technology. While updates have been made in many buildings and we have a few pilot classrooms using the ipad, technology changes so fast and can be very costly, but is necessary in keeping our students up to date and preparing them for the future,” she said.
Patricia Eary grew up in Kent City, and has lived in the Cedar Springs School district for 26 years. She and her husband, David, a lifelong resident, have one son, Sam, who graduated in 2008 and will graduate from GVSU in December with a mathematics degree with an emphasis in secondary education. Patricia said she is running for the board because she knows her son received an excellent education at Cedar Springs, and she wants to ensure that students will continue to receive an outstanding education in the future.
Other organizations or boards Patricia has served with include the Cedar Springs Music Boosters for 10 years, five of them as president; and on the Shaffer Estates neighborhood board, as secretary and then as treasurer for many years. She has also volunteered in Cedar Springs school classrooms for 17 years, and understands challenges faced by both staff and students.
She sees Ample funding from the State and Federal government as the major challenge facing the district. “The school administration and the school board have been creative and have done an outstanding job with the limited funding they have received,” she said. “I would strive to continue to seek appropriate funding levels for our school district.”