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Tag Archive | "Mistie Bowser"

Local election results


By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs and Sand Lake will both have new members on the boards, and the results of Cedar Springs Board of Education write-in votes are still unknown.

In the Cedar Springs City Council race, the two seats went to newcomer Renee Race with 558, and incumbent Pam Conley with 545. Shandell Napieralski had 304, and there were 18 write in votes. Voter turnout was 47.1%.

For the Cedar Springs Board of Education, there were four seats open, with three candidates running unopposed for three of the seats, and a two-year partial term with only write-ins running. The three unopposed candidates were Mistie Bowser (5,190 votes); Jeff Rivard (4,850 votes), and Tracie Slager (4,455 votes). Since only write-ins were running for the two-year partial term, we haven’t received those results yet. The Board of Canvassers at Kent County was due to start validating ballots at 1 p.m. Wednesday, but it could be another week before we have those results.

In Sand Lake, there were three positions open for trustee. Marcia Helton was on the ballot, and received 152 votes. There were also two others running running as write-ins, but only 37 votes were received for write-ins, so it is unknown yet who received those votes.

In the race for the 28th District Michigan senate seat, incumbent Peter MacGregor (R) won with 58.39 percent of the vote. Craig Beach (D) received 39.02 percent; and Nathan Hewer (L) received 2.6 percent.

In the race for 73rd District representative, Lynn Afendoulis (R) won with 60.11 percent of the vote, and Bill Saxton (D) received 39.89 percent.

In the race for 74th District representative, Mark Huizenga (R) won with 60.40 percent, and Meagan Carr (D) received 39.51 percent.

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Don’t forget to vote on November 6


 

Midterm elections are here, and this week the Post will be highlighting local candidates for school board and the City of Cedar Springs. Next week watch for an article on candidates in the Village of Sand Lake, those running for county/state offices, and a summary of proposals.

Cedar Springs Board of Education

There are four seats open for the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Three people will show up on the ballot for three of the seats: Mistie Bowser, Jeff Rivard, and Traci Slager. The other seat will not show names, but there are three people running for it as qualified write ins: Trent Gilmore, Paul Stark, and Rachel VanHorn.

Two four year terms:

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser is running for a four-year term. She has lived in Courtland Township for 18 years. “I built a house in the CSPS school district after deciding this is where I wanted to raise my family,” she said. Four have already graduated from Cedar Springs, and one is still in school. “They’ve all been strong athletes and students in Cedar Springs and we are a very involved family within our schools and community.” She is a graduate of Rockford High School and Grand Valley State University, where she earned a Bachelors degree in PR/Advertising, and minored in communications.

“My primary reason in running for the CSPS board of education is my desire to be even more involved in my children’s education and have a direct impact in the different curriculums that will set a great foundation in learning for them,” she said.

She served on Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kent County (2000-2009) as treasurer, VP and president and on the public policy committee. She also served on the American Lung Association as a co chairwoman for RLC, a 2016 lung force hero and a spokesperson. 

“My main strength that I’m bringing to the board is my communication skills. I’ve learned these skills from embracing my faith, studying verbal/nonverbal communication at GVSU, my experience on other boards, in leadership roles, professional roles and being an involved parent with 4 children.

“The major challenge our district is facing is that our board is mostly a new board with new people. I look at this as a new beginning to take what worked from our boards in the past and build off of that with new ideas and continue to put students, staff and community first. I will listen with an open mind to all ideas and concerns and work with my fellow board members to come to a solution.”

Jeff Rivard

Jeff Rivard is running for the other four-year term. He currently serves as an appointee on the board. He and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, and have lived in the district for 11 years. He is a plant manager at a manufacturing company in Grand Rapids.

Jeff’s primary reason to run for office: “With my personal and professional experience, I can help our district improve,” he said. 

Besides the few months he’s been on the board, other experience includes serving on the CSHS parental advisory panel and the AYSO board of directors.

Main strength he brings to the board: “I have leadership skills that I have gained over years of leading people and assuring processes are implemented and followed. I have the ability to ask the right people the right questions to get the response that will affect the outcome.”

“Our largest challenge in Cedar Springs is now to focus on assuring that our students are receiving the best education that our district can give them.  The best way to properly address this challenge is to listen, learn and be willing to make tough decisions.”

Partial term ending in 2020 one seat:

no names are on the ballot, so you will need to write-in one of the candidates below: Trent Gilmore, Paul Stark, or Rachel VanHorn.

Trent Gilmore

Trent Gilmore is currently an appointee to the board. He grew up in Clare, Michigan. He and his wife and three children live in Algoma Township, and his wife grew up on a farm about two miles away. Trent works for Consumers Energy in a leadership role, and he and his family moved to Cedar Springs in 2014 when he had the opportunity to manage statewide. His education includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Management as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a career working with people and making difficult decisions to best serve the community. 

Primary reason he is running for office: “I am running for the write-in term ending 2020 because I am personally vested in the success of the Cedar Springs School district as I have two children currently attending. I would like to serve our school district, students, and community with my skill set and help ensure that we continue to provide a quality educational environment for my kids and others who attend school at Cedar Springs Public School.” 

Besides currently serving on the board, other leadership experience includes serving on the parks and recreation committee in the City of Clare; and serving on a joint union and management committee at Consumers Energy to develop training for their workforce. “I have also led the Apprenticeship Committees for Electric Lines, Substation Construction, Substation Maintenance and Electric Meter Operations to ensure quality training and OJT,” he said.

The main strength he would bring to the board: “I have seen public education from several perspectives, first as a child of educators, as a student myself and now as a parent of students. I understand the need to support our schools and teachers to allow them to deliver a quality educational opportunity for our kids. I am familiar and experienced in labor relations having managed in a union environment for approximately 18 years in various roles in leadership and maintain a positive and healthy relationship with the union. I have experience making decisions related to customer service, finance and operations to deliver the best and serve others.”

The major challenge facing our district is the same challenge that faces every district: How do we give our kids the best education possible? The answer is we put them first and support our teachers, staff, and community to do all we can to invest in their future.

Paul Stark

Paul Stark is also running for the partial term ending in 2020. He has lived in Cedar Springs for 61 years—since he was 5 years old. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School, and taught fourth or fifth grade in the district for 37 years. His wife, Judy, is also a retired educator from Cedar Springs. They have one daughter who also graduated from Cedar Springs.

His primary reason to run for office: “I care that our district will continue to be a place where students are challenged, where staff is respected and empowered, and parents and community are included in the direction of the district.”

Other leadership experience: “I am currently a member of the Cedar Springs Community Library board, and while teaching I was on several committees. I also have been on the leadership board of The Springs Church.”

Main strength he would bring to the board: “I have been on the collaborative team while teaching. I have experienced outstanding partnerships with staff, administration, the school board and community.”

The major challenge facing the district: “There will be funding issues at any public school but it is imperative that the board choose wisely where the funds go. It is necessary to continue to support staff and administrators.”

Rachel Van Horn

Rachel Van Horn is also running for the partial term ending in 2020. She was born and raised in the Flint area and went to MSU for college. “I graduated in 2002 with a BS in Zoology. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Grand Rapids and started work as a Public Health Educator at the Kent County Health Department.” During her 13 years there she taught a substance abuse prevention program to elementary and middle school students; developed and taught a dog bite prevention/responsible pet ownership program in classrooms throughout the county; developed informational programs on substance abuse, communicable diseases, and West Nile Virus; and more. She decided to become a stay at home mom in 2015. She and her husband Aaron and two children have lived in the district for six years.

Her primary reason to run for office: “To ensure that ALL of children are represented and advocated for, regardless of ANY “difference” and to advocate for our teachers—that they may have everything they need to provide a safe and effective learning environment for our children.”

Other leadership experience: I am currently serving on the PTO board at Cedar Trails as the volunteer coordinator. I served on various committees during my time as a health educator including the Kent County Health Connect and Kent County Prevention Coalition.

Main strength she would bring to the board: I have the ability to look at the big picture…I don’t narrowly focus on solutions without considering the steps necessary to get to the solutions. I don’t favor band-aids that hide the true problems. My focus is, and will always be, on our children and how we can give them the best opportunities in life no matter what their circumstances may be. 

Major challenge facing our district: “The biggest challenge our district has right now is finding understanding and common ground between the Board, the superintendent, the district staff and the community. We need to listen to each other. We need to have the best interest of all of our children as a priority and work together to serve our community. We must regain the trust of our community. Each of these groups must be willing to listen, be open-minded, collaborate, and make tough decisions.” 

Partial term ending in 2022:

Traci Slager

Traci Slager is running to finish out a term ending in 2022. She currently is serving as an appointee in that position. She and her husband have lived here since 2007, and have three boys in Cedar Springs schools. She spent her early years in NE Grand Rapids and Rockford. She graduated from Taylor University (B.A. in Social Work) and the Indiana University School of Social Work (MSW). “I have worked as a youth director, ministry leader, substance abuse and theft intervention therapist, mentor, and advocate,” she said.

Traci’s primary reason to run for office: “I want to do my part ensuring that Cedar Springs Public Schools are a positive transformative force in the lives of young people. Working with youth has always been my passion and joy. I care deeply about seeing students have every opportunity possible to use their gifts and abilities to flourish and reach their fullest potential,” she said.

Besides serving on the board, her other experience includes being a founding member of two nonprofit organizations and serving on a handful of nonprofit boards and committees; serving as an adjunct professor at two universities; and she is currently on staff in Student Ministries at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, MI and teaches as an online Instructor for Taylor University. 

She said the main strength she brings to the board is building collaborative and healthy relationships within the district and broader community.

The major challenge she sees in the district is the support of teachers. “While there are many exciting opportunities for growth and further development within the district, I am most passionate about the challenge to make sure our teachers and staff have the support and resources necessary to handle the mounting pressures of being in the trenches. Without teachers and staff reaching their maximum potential, our students will not be able to reach theirs either.”

Cedar Springs City Council

There are two seats open on the Cedar Springs City Council this fall, and three people running for them. Both seats are four-year terms.

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley is running for her third term on the City Council. She and her family have lived in Cedar Springs since 1999. She is a high school teacher for Forest Hills Central High School teaching support classes, communications, and policy debate. She coaches competitive policy debate and forensic speaking. She and her husband Clint have two children, a daughter who is a student at Grand Valley State University, and a son, who is a 6th grader at Red Hawk Elementary. 

Primary reason running for office: The goal of my last term was completion of the library and upgrades to the water system. We have accomplished those. We are now working to build a new fire station to meet the needs of the growing community, work with the Community Building Development Team to further develop The Heart Of Cedar Springs with an amphitheater and a connection to the North Country Trail. My next focus is to fix our roads, repair and add to our sidewalks, and with the continued revelations of PFAS in the water of our neighboring communities, I want to continue to test…and be prepared to filter for this in the event it becomes evident in our water system.” 

Other leadership experience: “I have been the Communications Representative and the Mayor Pro-tem for the City Council for the past 3 years. In these roles I have served on a variety of committees including the library construction and funding committees and the Red Flannel Festival contract committee. In addition to the 2 previous terms on City Council, I was elected to 2 terms on the Cedars Springs Board of Education, where I served as the Legislative Representative. I made multiple trips to both Washington DC and Lansing to advocate for funding and policy needs for Cedar Springs Public Schools.” She also served six years on the CS Library board, and was a founding member of the Garden Club.

Main strength she brings to the board: “I have experience and a long history of leadership and policy making for the Cedar Springs Community.”

Major challenge facing the City of Cedar Springs: “Our roads are in terrible shape and we have limited funds. We need to seek grants and work strategically to repair and replace roads as we also continue to repair and replace water infrastructure. This needs to be addressed strategically to get the best use of our limited funds.”  

Shandell Napieralski is also seeking one of the seats. She was born in Illinois, and her family moved to Cedar Springs when she began high school. She graduated in 1991, attended Grand Rapids Community College and then later Northwood University. “I have always lived in the area and returned specifically to settle my family here in Cedar Springs. I have lived here most recently for three years, but collectively 10 years. I work for Materials Testing Consultants, Inc., a Civil Engineering firm as a Constructions Material Testing Technician and Sample Runner. I am once divorced, once widowed, and recently have become engaged. I have four biological children, but also have stepchildren, exchange students, and other lost kids welcomed in our home.”

Primary reason running for office: “I care about my neighbors and community. I want to do more than hear their concerns and challenges. Through action, I aspire to participate in decision-making that will impact us as a whole.”

Other leadership experience: She has served as a Cedar Springs Election Commission Member and as the Board of Review Alternate.

Main strength she would bring to the board: “Problem solving is my key strength. I seek practical information and use critical thinking combined.”

Major challenge facing the City of Cedar Springs: As with most councils and boards, (the major challenge is) projects and resources. By becoming a part of the decision making, I would become more involved in the direction of our community growth and learn more of the how, when, what, why, and how much.”

Renee Race

Renee Race is also looking to fill one of the seats. “My husband and I have lived in Cedar Springs for over 12 years and live within walking distance to the heart of Cedar Springs. We have a daughter who attends CSPS and of course, I can’t forget our dog Clark. I work full time for a local company and enjoy volunteering for one of the local Girl Scout Troops. I joined the Cedar Springs Planning Commission in 2017 working alongside my fellow Commissioners, taking on the task of updating the city ordinances to make it easier for businesses to settle their roots here in Cedar Springs.”

Primary reason for running for office: “To educate the community about the challenges we face living in a small community and speak for the community on the topics that are most concerning to them.”

Other leadership experience:  “I am presently on the Cedar Springs Planning Commission, a volunteer leader for one of the local Girl Scout troops and I volunteer my time working on different United Way projects.”

Main strength she brings to the position: “I’m personally and emotionally connected to our community. I always strive to understand other viewpoints. I treat everyone as equals knowing different viewpoints are important in making decisions that will affect our community.”

Major challenge facing the City of Cedar Springs: “Community engagement and feedback. I enjoy connecting with neighbors and friends in our city. I am all about finding effective communication channels to get a wide range of community feedback on issues that concern our citizens. I want everyone to be comfortable with providing input to keep our small town feel, as we continue to improve our city and community.”

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School board appoints new member


Trent Gilmore

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education interviewed five candidates Tuesday evening for the open board seat left by the recent resignation of secretary Brook Nichols.

The board took applications until Tuesday morning. The five who were interviewed included Tony Owens, Paul Stark, Mistie Bowser, Trent Gilmore, and James Halstead. The board then discussed the candidates and voted to offer the position to Gilmore.

Gilmore lives with his wife and children in Algoma Township. Two attend Cedar Springs Public Schools and another will start in a couple of years, according to his biography on the school’s website. Gilmore said his wife grew up in Cedar Springs and graduated from Cedar Springs Public Schools. He also said he grew up in an educational household because both his parents were teachers, and his father-in-law is also a teacher.

Gilmore works for Consumers Energy as Director of Revenue Operations. He is also experienced in labor relations, having managed in a union environment. 

The board liked several things about him—the focus on students; that he seemed well-rounded; had expertise in financial matters; and good decision-making skills.

“I have a strong desire to help provide the best for the schools,” said Gilmore. “Quality education is the key to our children’s future. I wanted to help ensure a quality educational environment and opportunity for my kids and all the children in the Cedar Springs school district.”

He also said he would be willing to run as a write-in in the November election.

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Board of Education appoints new trustee


Jeff Rivard was appointed to the Cedar Springs Board of Education Tuesday evening, May 1.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening, May 1, to interview candidates for the seat vacated by former trustee Tim Bauer.

Four candidates interviewed for the position. Six were scheduled to interview, but two dropped out. The four that were interviewed were Jeff Rivard, Pastor Craig Owens, Mistie Bowser, and Jeff Tolar.

The candidates answered six questions, which they were all given ahead of time to prepare. After the interviews, the board voted to select Jeff Rivard to fill the open seat. The vote was 6-0.

Several board members noted they liked his fiscal background. He also spoke about the importance of the board members listening to every group—the administration, the staff, and the community—and being open-minded. 

In his biography on the school website he said: “I am a dad, father and businessman who lives in the city of Cedar Springs. My wife’s name is Jennifer and we have 2 daughters; Ryllie and Cassandra. We have lived in Cedar Springs for 10 years.

 “I wanted to join the School Board because I have the desire to help our community using my work and life experiences.

“My hobbies include golfing, fishing, biking and exercise.  I am happy to be part of the Cedar Springs Public Schools School Board.”

Rivard will serve until the end of 2018. If wants to retain the seat, he will need to run for election in November.

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Standing up to protect those with lung disease


 

On behalf of the American Lung Association in Michigan, I thank Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters for standing up and protecting healthcare for the Michiganders living with lung disease.

The Senate’s healthcare bill would have harmed the millions of Americans who need healthcare as part of their daily battle against lung diseases, including asthma, COPD and lung cancer, and Senators Stabenow and Peters were right to vote against it.

We are hopeful that now the Senate can work together in a bipartisan way to improve our nation’s healthcare system and ensure that all Americans have quality and affordable healthcare.

Mistie Bowser, Courtland Township

Chair of West Michigan Regional Leadership Board

American Lung Association in Michigan

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Candidates will help bridge communication gap


 

I have known Ted Sabinas for over 35 years. I have witnessed him give the majority of his life to serving the students and families of our community. I find him to be an honorable man possessing integrity. Even though retired, he again feels called to serve.

I have come to know Mistie Bowser over the past several months and witnessed her commitment and honesty. While a widowed mother of four, I appreciate her willingness to serve.

They both assured me they would respectfully ask the difficult questions, do their own research, and talk with our trained/experienced educational team for real answers. I believe they will serve as a trusting and transparent voice for all tax payers, educators, and most importantly our students.

Based on my direct conversations with Ted and Mistie (no rumors or hearsay), I am convinced they are the best choices for school board representatives. I believe Ted and Mistie’s motivation is based only on their commitment to making CSPS a place where children will become all they are meant to be, and will help bridge the current communication gap between staff and administration in a respectful way that will ease the current division and concerns of staff and help the administration find ways to connect and rebuild unity for the good of our kids.

For this important decision, I would ask that you gather accurate facts directly from Ted and Mistie before you cast your vote.

Tim Wolfe, Nelson Township

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Cedar Springs Board of Education candidates


 

By Judy Reed

It has been one of the most volatile campaigns for the Cedar Springs Board of Education in recent years. Four people are running for two six-year seats. Originally there were five candidates, but Rita Reimbold dropped out. The other four are:

Joe Marckini

Joe Marckini

Joseph Marckini: Joe Marckini has served on the Board of Education for the last nine years, and is looking for six more. He grew up in the Walker area, and Joe and his family moved to Algoma Township in 1996. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Emily and Maria. He said that he and his wife desire to serve the community and especially any organization which helps educate and support kids. He has been employed by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Local #7 for over 30 years as a sheet metal construction worker.

Joe said he is running for another term to ensure that every student receives fair and equal opportunities. “If re-elected, I will continue advocating for all students’ right to a S.T.R.E.A.M. education (Science, Technology, Recess, Engineering, Arts & Math). I will continue making KIDS FIRST decisions, supporting more intervention for at-risk students and more life-skills and trade skills training opportunities.” He said he would also continue to be a voice for education at the federal, state and local levels. He also wants to continue the changes he has seen under Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “I have been a part of bringing the current Superintendent to Cedar Springs. Under her leadership we have made many tough but important changes. So many positive things have happened over the last few years and I would like to be a part of the continued improvements.”

Besides serving on the Board of Education, Joe has also served on the Cedar Springs Executive Board PTO, Kent Intermediate School Board Association, National School Board Association (NSBA) Federal Relation Network, Friends of Kent County Schools, NEOLA policy committee, Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation, Cedar Springs Public Schools negotiation committee, and is the representative of Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education to the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB).

Joe said that his main strength is the ability to make hard but necessary decisions. “I am a fierce advocate for kids. I am not on the board to make friends or get a pat on the back. I am here to make sure Cedar Springs Public Schools follows all rules and policies and is fair in its decision making regarding students and staff. I want to be sure that the parents in our district know that their child is not only getting an excellent education but will also be treated fairly and equitably and have not only the support of their teachers but also the staff, Superintendent and school board. As a member of the board I am often regarded as the policy-enforcer, I make sure we are operating within the law and within the guidelines we have set up for ourselves.”

Joe sees funding as the major challenge facing the district. “Funding and resources has an impact on everything we do and attempt to do. Security, smaller classroom sizes, busing, professional development, infrastructure improvements, they all rely on funding. That’s why being an advocate at all levels of government is so important. We have to keep working for our kids to ensure they get what they need and deserve as citizens of this great democracy.”

Ted Sabinas

Ted Sabinas

Ted Sabinas: Ted Sabinas and his wife Dianne have lived in Cedar Springs for 39 years.  He was a teacher in the district for 34 years and served as a Cedar Springs High School coach of cross country, track, and several other sports for 37 years. Their two daughters, Mrs. Kahler and Mrs K (Kacprzyk) graduated from Cedar Springs and are currently teaching in our district. Their grandchildren also attend school here. “I have been committed to Cedar Springs for 39 years and feel strongly about the opportunity to run for the school board to help impact and make a positive difference in our school district,” said Ted.

Ted said he his primary reason for running for office is to “bring a background of teaching, coaching and educational leadership, along with my passion for our district, and to help guide and participate in the decisions being made as they impact our school district, community, staff and most importantly our students,” he explained.

Sabinas said the main strength he would bring to the office lies in his years of teaching and coaching experience, and his collaborative training. “[My] teaching and coaching experience, along with my commitment to our district, can help me guide and participate in the decisions being made as they impact our school district. With my collaborative training I have the ability to see what needs to be accomplished and how to get to the correct outcome together.

“While serving as the Cedar Springs Association President and Head of Negotiations for 17 years, I was trained and practiced collaborative negotiations with past superintendents and Boards of Education with very successful outcomes,” he noted. “I have a proven track record of demonstrating collaboration, active listening, and driving results over the years.” He said that he and the teams he worked with created a culture in which all problems can be discussed openly and solved with support from all involved using the collaborative method.

Sabinas said that our district faces many challenges. “Challenges such as the district revenues and expenses; being responsible to the community that elected the board; and creating a district wide positive image, are just a few of the many challenges that a board member faces,” he said. “We must address these challenges with research, hope, and caution, and determine if the board decisions are the correct direction to follow for our students in Cedar Springs. As a board member I will always place students as the main priority but also keep the community and staff informed and seek input from students, community and the staff.”

Heidi Reed

Heidi Reed

Heidi Reed: Heidi Reed is a wife, mother and businesswoman who lives in the city of Cedar Springs. She has been married for 33 years to Steve Reed, a teacher.    Together they have three boys, Trey, Thomas and Trevor. Trey Reed, graduated from CSHS and recently Cornerstone University. Thomas and Trevor are 10th graders at CSHS. Heidi is Vice President/Associate Real Estate Broker for Red Oak Management Co., Inc. For 27 years she has been responsible for property management issues, finance and compliance for 1,300 families at 48 locations in Michigan.

Heidi said she is running for school board because she has a sense of duty to this community and is community centered. “I will keep kids first in decisions, by asking the question, who benefits? I will be financially focused and look for the highest and best use of the taxpayer dollars. I enjoy policy and finance work. I have no other agenda for seeking this position other than the desire to do what I can to help Cedar Springs Public Schools achieve and improve. Being in affordable housing, I see everyday, the nexus of how important education is to our society.”

Heidi has been active on school and business committees. She serves on the Cedar Springs Public Schools Sinking Fund Committee 2010 to present; the Cedar Springs Public Schools: Strategic Planning Committee 2015-2016; and the Cedar Springs Public Schools District Improvement Team, to name a few.

Heidi said the main strength she will bring to the board is leadership. “I will bring:

  • Constant Leadership-knowledge of our students, educators and facilities.  I have been attending board meetings for a year in preparation for this position.
  • Balanced Leadership-understanding of the issues and opportunities we face as a district.
  • Engaged Leadership-the passion to lead forward.”

Heidi said there are multiple challenges facing the district, but the first is meeting all students’ needs with limited funding. “We are facing budgetary and operational issues now in our district that impact not just the students and their futures, but the economic and social health of Cedar Springs. I have the experience, judgment and desire to step up to these issues and listen, learn and lead. My corporate experience of blending multiple government programs together for success will be an asset to the school board.”

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser:  Mistie Bowser has been living in Courtland Township for 16 years. She said she has loved living here with her four children—Emily Umphrey, a 2013 CSHS graduate; Cameron Umphrey, a 2016 CSHS graduate; Myla Umphrey a junior at CSHS; and Elizabeth Bowser, a fourth-grader at Cedar View.
“I’m a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, where I travel and share my story, which helps bring more lung cancer awareness to help fight this disease,” she explained. “We are a very academic, arts and athletic family. I’ve been very involved with our football, hockey, soccer, cross country, track, theatre, advanced and resource learning programs.”

Mistie is a very involved mom and community member who takes great pride in where she chose to raise her children. “I’m running for the Cedar Springs School Board because I want to have a direct hand in the decisions being made that will directly affect our students education and extra curricular activities,” she explained. “I will research the options to ensure that I will be making the best decisions for our Cedar Springs students, which my youngest is only in 4th grade so I have many years to stay vested. Our students deserve the best and most competitive education and I want to ensure that happens by putting students first with our staff and community right behind them, making a successful collaborative triangle.  I want to serve my commuity of Cedar Springs by working hard for you on our Cedar Springs School Board.”

Mistie has served on several boards and committees, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for nine years as member, treasurer, vice president and president; American Lung Association Regional Leadership Council as Chairwoman; the Mothers Of Preschoolers(MOPS) steering committee board; coached AYSO soccer; senior all night part committee, and more.

Mistie said the main strength she would bring to the board would be “my strong communication skills, understanding the importance and experience of being fiscally responsible, along with ensuring that I am and others are held accountable for all the decisions being made. I bring the perspective of a parent of a student and athlete in our district. Before voting on an item I will ensure that I have all the information from all sides so I can make a well-informed decision, and vote for what’s best for our students. I bring many years of leading non-profit organization boards with successful collaborative and respectful communication skills. I believe in everyone being fiscally responsible and accountable for all decisions being made. I will bring open communication along with always putting our students, staff and community front and center.”

“The major challenge in our district right now is the over 50 staff members that have left since January 2016, the fiscal decisions that have been made that are still not answered by our administration, and the communication and the morale of our staff and our community. Our district is hurting along with our community over some decisions that have been made over the past 2 years. I agree; I don’t like a lot of the decisions made either. My plan to address these problems is to communicate more, hold people accountable for their decisions, bring collaboration back, and use our finances responsibly by ensuring that money is only spent if it will directly affect our students. My biggest goal is to listen and communicate with our students, staff and community.”

Look for city and township candidates in next week’s Post!

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Concerned voter


NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

Concerned voter

I am a taxpayer in the Cedar Springs District and have been dismayed over the ugly politics being played in our schools. I have observed the barrage of negative attacks against the superintendent and the school board as the new leadership had demanded accountability and transparency. These attacks, seemingly made by a few disgruntled employees, their families and friends, have promoted the dual ticket running for school board.

To the detriment of the entire educational system, Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser have steadfastly represented the interests of only a handful of voters. What is their true motive for running for school board?

They complain that our top three administrators don’t live in the district. Why don’t they complain about the five principals and 79 percent of the teaching staff who do not live in the district? Does it really matter where staff members live?

They seem to be concerned about the students and staff who have left our district. Student count has increased. Staff members choose to leave their jobs for a variety of reasons. Some retire, some move and others want to work closer to home.

They are unable to produce authoritative evidence to support the claims they make. Positive changes cannot be made by spreading negativity and rumors.

Mistie has run twice for the board in the past and wasn’t elected. I can’t think of any good reason to elect either one now.

I encourage those who are in favor of the positive progress being made in the district to vote for the two individuals running for the sake of the students and moving forward in Cedar Springs: incumbent Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed.

Concerned voter,

Denise Bremmer, Algoma Township

 

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In support of Sabinas and Bowser


Dear Community Members,

I am a graduate of Cedar Springs Public Schools and taught in Cedar for 24 years before retiring in 2010. I loved my job. We were a close-knit group. We learned from each other, helped each other and were supported by our administrators. I worked on the negotiating team with board members and administrators collaboratively. We could talk openly, expressing any concerns we had.

Cedar schools were at the cutting edge professionally and academically. Cedar was known as the “best kept secret in Kent County.” Now other districts are questioning what is going on in our district and we have become the laughing stock of West Michigan.

Teachers continuously go through change; new leadership, new curriculum, new students.  They are not afraid of “Change.”

The change I currently see and feel in our district makes me sad and concerned for the future. We have lost excellent teachers and administrators. We have lost more than 50 employees since January 2016. Why? Our district is divided with their loyalties to each other and the direction the district is going. They fear saying anything because they don’t know whom they can trust and have watched the retribution time and time again. They are scared and don’t want to be the next one targeted as so many to date.

Currently the board has lawyers showing up at “collaborative” contract negotiations. We have paidconsultants supporting some of our new administrators. I wonder how much money has been spent on lawyer fees and consultants in the last two years.

We have students leaving our school system because of the conflicts in the community. Our fund balance is diminishing.

Our top three administrators chose to not live in our wonderful district and the superintendent does not even send her children to Cedar schools. What does that tell our community?

Is this really the direction you think is best for us to be heading? The best thing for kids?

I support electing Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser for board members. What they stand for and their vision is what Cedar schools need now!!

Sincerely,

Concerned citizen for Cedar Springs Schools

Peggy (Nielsen) Hansen,

Nelson Township

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Change direction of school district by voting Nov. 8


Change direction of school district by voting Nov. 8

As we approach this upcoming November 8th election for Cedar Springs School board, I encourage everyone to learn about the current state in our district and the candidates running for two open board seats.

Our district’s integrity and our commitment to our children’s education, the teachers and each other matters.  We have endured much change over the last two years, some of it positive and some of it destructive. This is our home; it is where we chose to raise our children. This is something we all have in common.

The divide in our community is heart wrenching to experience. I have tried to seek information and understanding on the actions of our new leadership and Board of Education. Instead of conversation and communication, we are met with resistance and disregard. Walls have been built instead of bridges.

November 8 gives us the opportunity to change the trajectory. Who we vote into these seats matters. The board must be involved and active in building relationships, being strong stewards of our district, our budget and our success. They need to be brave, engaged and thoughtful members that are not afraid to challenge, negotiate and lead. Healthy debate is good and necessary. Accountability with checks and balances is critical. Our leadership needs to practice these qualities.

Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser are two candidates with a passion for getting involved and building us back to the education powerhouse we were.

Ted has rich experience from being a teacher and coach in our district for over 30 years. He is known as a balanced, smart, intuitive leader who is not afraid to work through the tough issues with grace, respect and accountability.

Mistie is a passionate mother who is centered on our kids and the well-rounded education and life experiences they get here. She is committed to tackling the tough challenges ahead and celebrating the successes. She has a proven commitment to serving our community.

I trust both of them and hope you will, too. Please join me in getting to know Ted and Mistie. On November 8, I hope they can count on your YES vote.

Laura Davis, Algoma Township

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