The candidates are vying for a term that expires June 30, 2024

Three candidates are up for election to a single seat on the Lake Forest School Board in elections to be held Tuesday, May 14.

The candidates are Kimberly L. Hurd, Wendy Omans and Sarah Starkey. The winner will serve a five-year term, expiring June 30, 2024.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. and are located in the Frederica Fire Hall, 6 Front St., Frederica, Lake Forest North Elementary School, 319 E. Martin St., Felton, the Lake Forest South Elementary School, 852 S. Little Creek Road, Harrington, and the Lake Forest High School, 301 Dorman St., Felton.

All voters will be asked for proof of identity and address. Voters must be United States citizens, over the age of 18 and residents of the district in which they are voting.

------------------------------------------------------

Kimberly Hurd

AGE 35

RESIDENCE Felton

PRIOR ELECTED OFFICE Vice president, Lake Forest East Elementary PTA

YEARS IN THE DISTRICT 11

What is your assessment of the state of the school district?

My assessment of the state of our district is that it’s very healthy at the elementary levels. Achievements include Blue Ribbon schools, award-winning schools and schools ranked in the state’s top 10 for literacy. However, it appears that we may struggle at the secondary level, and I want to be in the position to evaluate processes that would help the school faculty to obtain successes as our elementary schools.

What areas are your priorities given budget limitations? Where, specifically, would you advocate for more funding and what areas would you advocate for cuts?

I have areas of priority, but specifically supporting, given budget restrictions, I am a huge advocate for early literacy and programs for our special education population. Funding for these areas should always be a priority. Another area is the turnover rate at the secondary schools for teachers is high. I would absolutely focus on defining ways to retain our outstanding staff. As for cuts, one must always be cautionary to cut any educational program because all avenues offer opportunities for achievement for our children.

When was the last time you visited a district school? What did you see in that school that you felt was going well? What did you see that concerned you and what did you do to follow up?

I am in the Lake Forest School District every day. Dropping off/picking up my oldest son, PTA meetings, fundraisers, special events, or due to my business engagement with the district. I work with each school very closely and the morale, from my perspective, is super-charged for our children. The smiles and conversations all portray a healthy learning environment. My main concern is the safety of our students and staff. Example, North Elementary has an enclosed playground. If a situation were to arise where a perpetrator should enter the playground, the children have little time to evacuate effectively. I have mentioned this to a school staff member, but specifically, I made the decision to actively pursue a position on the school board in order to better position myself to not only address my concerns but the concerns of other parents!

----------------------------------------------------

Wendy Omans

AGE 44

RESIDENCE Frederica

PRIOR ELECTED OFFICE None

YEARS IN THE DISTRICT 11

What is your assessment of the state of the school district?

The Lake Forest School District is supported by a great community. Many students in the district walk the same halls that their parents walked, know their parents’ friends and their children, and everyone looks out for one another and for all of our children. However, the district is currently faced with declining enrollment due in part to school choice, primarily at the high school. When students choice out of your district, funds allocated for that student go with them to their choice district. While the loss of these funds can be problematic, students leaving the district bring about systemic issues which are not limited to funding alone. Everyone and every program within a district is affected when you continuously have declining enrollment. Data needs to be collected to ascertain why students are leaving the district. With this data, the district should then put a plan in place to curtail the exodus of our students to neighboring districts.

What areas are your priorities given budget limitations” Where, specifically, would you advocate for more funding and what areas would you advocate for cuts?

Stakeholder input and evaluation of district enrollment issues are top priorities. Specific needs cannot be determined without more information.

When was the last time you visited a district school? What did you see in that school that you felt was going well? What did you see that concerned you and what did you do to follow up?

I am an active parent of three current students in the Lake Forest School District and visit three district schools on a regular basis. As an educator for the past 18 years, I can say with the utmost confidence that simply visiting a school cannot give anyone an accurate picture of what is actually happening at that school. It’s imperative to speak to the teachers, support staff and students at schools throughout the district to accurately assess concerns within their building. As an involved parent and educator for many years, concerns that have consistently arisen have not been successfully addressed. I decided to run for the school board to give a voice to all stakeholders in the district.

----------------------------------------------------

Sarah Starkey

AGE 37

RESIDENCE Felton

PRIOR ELECTED OFFICE None

YEARS LIVED IN THE DISTRICT 11

What is your assessment of the state of the school district?

Look at any district, and there will always be something that can be improved upon, but the Lake Forest School District is on its way to truly being “your best choice:” an Odyssey of the Mind program, sending five teams to the national competition; an FFA program that is equipping and empowering students to contribute to the foundation of our community; career and technical education tracks that prepare students to enter the workforce; college prep courses that prepare students for higher learning; several sports teams that are competitive and making a name for themselves across the state; an incredible staff who contribute to the success of each student; and buildings that have been renovated to ensure student and staff safety.

What areas are your priorities given budget limitations? Where, specifically, would you advocate for more funding and what areas would you advocate for cuts?

Without full insight, it’s difficult to say specifically where I would advocate for more funds and where I would pursue cuts. If elected, though, I would advocate for programs that generate the most value per student dollar, programs that benefit a large percentage of the student population and programs that generate the greatest student success.

When was the last time you visited a district school? What did you see in that school that you felt was going well? What did you see that concerned you and what did you do to follow up?

I have four children attending Lake Forest schools, so I visit their schools quite often. The first thing I always notice is the importance placed on our students’ safety, given the procedures that need to be followed just to enter the school. Most recently, I attended an honor roll assembly at the middle school, and I was amazed to see so many parents and so proud of how many students received honor roll. It really is an honor to be a part of such an incredible school district.

Thankfully, I really have not had any major concerns in the nine years my children have attended Lake Forest, but I feel that the administrators are approachable, and they would address my concerns quickly and efficiently.