Three Candidates for Piggott School Board

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Early voting is underway for this year's school election in Arkansas, and will continue through the end of business on Monday, Sept. 15. This year there are three candidates for one seat on the Piggott Board, while Mike Trail is the lone candidate for the open seat at Rector.

This week we profile the three candidates for the Piggott position, as each was asked to respond to a series of questions on their candidacy, background and education.

Jennifer Rahn

One of the three candidates for the open seat on the Piggott School Board is Jennifer Rahn.

A resident of Piggott, Rahn and her husband, Joey, have three children including Mason, Madison "Sassy" and Morgan. She is employed as a fifth grade teacher with the Holcomb R-III School District.

In citing her educational background, Rahn noted following her graduation from high school she attended Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. She graduated Cum Laude from SEMO with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1998. Then, in 2004 she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master's Degree of Arts in Education.

Rahn notes her life and work experience will benefit her as a member of the Piggott School Board. "I have 18 years experience in the education system, with the last 16 years as a certified teacher," she notes. "I am the mother of two students in the Piggott School system as well as a 2014 PHS graduate. I have been a volunteer in the community including, but not limited to coaching softball and basketball, as a Boy and Girl Scout leader and football booster."

When asked why she felt she was the best candidate for the job she remarked, "because I can offer a perspective and my experience in education that is not already present on the current board--or among the candidates running. I stand strong in what I believe in, and am 100 percent dedicated to education and our community. I can use my knowledge as an educator and parent to work alongside the current board to continue to make the Piggott School District the best it can be."

"I believe one of the many challenges that the district will face in the next five years is the continually increasing pressure of above-average performances on standardized testing in conjunction with teacher evaluations," she surmised. "I believe this pressure will in-turn affect the population of quality teachers and the integrity of the education system. I can also foresee state and federal funding being affected by this issue.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts is one of three candidates for the open seat on the Piggott School Board.

Roberts, a lifelong Piggott resident, is a 1990 graduate of PHS. He and his wife of 19 years, Dana, have three children--one in college, a second grader and fourth grader at PES.

In reviewing his educational background he notes, "my educational background is simple, I may not be a teacher or a college graduate with a huge degree, but I was educated here by great people--some of who still teacher our children. I was also educated by my parents about right and wrong, as parents we must unite for the future."

Roberts has worked at L.A. Darling for 19 years, and has been active in a variety of efforts. "I was a member of the Little League board for nine years, have been on the Cemetery Association Board for four years and have volunteered my time for many local groups and activities." That involvement included 14 years as a Little League coach and several years as PA announcer for Mohawk football games.

Roberts notes he looks at the school board race as an opportunity, not a job. "It's an opportunity to create a better future for our children and community," he noted. "A job pays, I do this as a volunteer."

In looking ahead to the challenges the district faces he notes, "every day brings a new challenge, we must be prepared to handle and face every issue." He added the community and parents should join together for a closer relationship with teachers and administrators and pointed to closing the achievement gap, need for a new awareness program and substance abuse intervention, updating resources for special education and re-evaluating the transition from sixth to seventh grade.

"Education needs to be in the hands of the community, not the government," he surmised. "I will fight for the students, the parents and the educators."

Brent Sanders

Brent Sanders is one of three candidates running for the open seat on the Piggott School Board.

A lifelong resident of Piggott, Sanders is married to the former Misti French and they have three children, Halli, Chase and Josi. He is a 1991 graduate of Piggott High School, and notes one thing prompted him to seek the position on the school board. "First and foremost would be the fact that I have three children in the Piggott School system right now, and their future is very important to me."

Sanders, who works for CenturyLink, also points to the strong local ties he has developed in the town where he was born, and raised. "I work here in town, and I have had the chance to work with many different businesses, and in many different forms of public life," he explained.

When asked why he felt he was the best candidate for the job he explained his approach was not complicated, "I'm simply a typical parent just like any other parent out there. I have no special interests, except for what's best for our students, faculty and school."

In response to a question concerning what the biggest challenge will be for the local district over the course of the next five years he was clear in his thinking, "the biggest challenge is going to be keeping our good teachers," he explained. "Keeping the good teachers we have, and keeping our teacher turn-over rate down and to a minimum is going to be very important."

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