NEW BREMEN — Five candidates will be competing for two open slots next week in the New Bremen Board of Education election.
Scott Bertke, Kami Fox, Troy Grillot, Robert Parker and Timothy Paul are on the ballot for two spots in the Nov. 8 election.
Bertke, a lifelong resident of New Bremen, said he is interested in joining the school board because he would like to serve the community.
“I want to give back to the community and to the school district that I was born and raised in,” he said. “I want to see the quality of excellence that we have in the New Bremen school district to continue.”
Bertke noted that his experience as a salesperson could be a benefit to the board in that he has experience working with customers and working in a team.
Bertke said he would like to see more facts before making a decision on the building project.
“I haven’t made a decision one way or another,” he said. “I’m still looking at the facts that were presented to see if it’s feasible at this time. I think there’s some merit to what they say they needed but I’m not sure if all the questions have been answered.”
If elected to the board, Bertke said he would like to carry on the tradition of excellence that New Bremen Local Schools has created.
“We’ve got a good quality of education and I want to see that continue in the future,” he said.
Fox is up for re-election this year, as she will complete her first term on Dec. 31. She noted that her first term was a learning experience.
“In my first term I was learning and I was the first woman to be on the board in a really long time,” she said. “I felt like I’ve got some growing to do but I learned more about finances and the roles of a board member.”
Fox said she would like to continue working on the projects that she has seen in her first term.
“I feel like the district is in a state of transition,” Fox said. “I’m the second most experienced board member right now. We are functioning with an interim superintendent and we are looking at a building project. I feel like it would be helpful if I am able to stay on the board to try and help get through some of those things.”
Fox noted that she feels the community should decide if the building project is right for the district.
“We’re bringing that to the community because we do not feel that a board of five can make that decision to turn down that money that the state is offering,” Fox said. “I think that’s the best way to do it. If the community wants to turn down the money, that’s their right but we need to try to take advantage of it.”
She said her goal for a new term is to find a new superintendent and to follow through with the community’s desire for the building project.
“To get a new superintendent hired and to have some sort of closure on the building project — those are the two biggest things we face,” Fox said. “I would like to see those two things taken care of in the next term.”
Grillot said he has always had a love for the village of New Bremen, and he would like to make a contribution to the town.
“New Bremen has always been my favorite place, and I told my wife that if we ever came back to New Bremen I’d love to be on the school board,” he said.
He noted that his experience in the construction industry could be useful in the building project the board is considering.
“I was in the construction industry for nearly 10 years as an electrician,” Grillot said.
“I spent a lot of time in schools remodeling and wiring new schools. I’ve also been with the railroad in a union job for nine years now and I’ve been heavily involved in the union. I’ve been the financial secretary for the past five years and local chairman for the past three or four years.”
Grillot said he supports the building project.
“I’m leaning more toward being in favor of building a new school for a lot of reasons,” Grillot said. “One of the biggest reasons is it’s not going to get any cheaper. If we don’t build it today and in 15 years we decide to build the school, it’s going to cost a lot more money.”
If elected to the board of education, Grillot said he would like to bring a positive influence.
“I’m going to have to learn as I go, but I think my experience and my passion for the town — I hope to learn the ropes and to have a positive influence in discussion and making decisions,” Grillot said.
Parker said he has always been interested in running for the board of education.
“I’ve always thought about running and we got notice several months ago that there was nobody currently running for the position so I thought I could throw my hat in the ring,” Parker said. “I currently have four children in the school system so I had some interest in running and I have a vested interest in my children’s education.”
Parker said he has experience serving the community in his involvement in local organizations.
“I do have my bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton, and I’ve got my MBA,” he said. “I’m a paramedic with the New Bremen Emergency Squad and I’m on the finance committee and parish council at my church, so I do have a lot involvement in other organizations.”
He noted that he would like the district to continue to move forward.
“I want to continue to invest in the good administration that we have and our teachers,” Parker said. “I’m for the new school in New Bremen. I’d like to see us vote that in. I’d like to see us increase the technology that we have in the school system and prepare our kids for college and thereafter, giving them the best opportunity that we can for their futures.”
Paul, a lifelong resident of New Bremen, also said he would like to see the district move forward.
“I want to see that New Bremen continues in a positive direction,” Paul said.
Paul noted that he has experience as a small business owner that can translate to skills needed to help with decisions for the board.
“I would like to use the experience I have running my small business and use those skills to run the school board in a business like way, and to make good decisions based on common sense and the needs of the school,” he said.
Paul said the decision on the school should be left to the community.
“My dad was on the school board for 16 years and I’m following through what he has done in the past, too,” he said. “I think it has to be based on the needs. It’s up to the community and they’ll decide whether they’re for it or not. If elected, it’s my duty to see that the wishes of the community are followed through on.”