The North Platte School District is the only district in the county to have a contested board of education race this year, with one incumbent facing three challengers for two seats on the board.
Incumbent Kerry Brooke Hyde, 42, has two children in the district and works as grain merchandiser for Bartlett Grain Company. She is in her third year of service on the board and wishes to continue her work to ensure a great learning environment for students.
“I was born and raised in the North Platte district, graduating in 1993,” she said. “Being an alumnae as well as a North Platte parent, it provides me with a unique perspective. I am very approachable, open minded and have the district’s best interests at heart. Additionally, my experience from currently sitting on the school board is a great asset.”
Brooke Hyde said she believes the district is currently academically and financially strong, but will need to look ahead to potential cuts in state funding.
“The district will have to make up the difference between the projected budget and actual monies received,” she said. “There is also the challenge of keeping the district learning resources updated for current and future curriculum needs.”
Karen Bartlett, 51, has one child in the district and works as director of marketing for Health Systems Inc. As a patron and 27-year resident of the district, she was approached by other patrons and staff who encouraged her to run for the board of education.
“I am a problem solver, a people person and good at conflict resolution,” Bartlett said. “I am always open minded to the circumstances and generally have positive outcomes. I am very involved with the school activities and volunteer when needed. I want what’s best for the students. I want to make sure the students have the tools they need in order to be successful. If that requires fund raising to benefit the students then I am more than happy to volunteer.”
She plans to be an advocate and voice for the patrons of the district and to review policies currently in place. She lists budget cuts, bullying and school safety as areas of concern to tackle.
Jennifer Hernandez, 42, has a child in the district and two older children. A North Platte graduate herself, she works for Nash Gas Company.
“I have lived in the North Platte School District all my life,” she said. “I care a lot about the children in the district and the future of North Platte. I’m someone who is very honest. I’m a good listener and open minded. I’m also good at working within a team.”
Hernandez cites budget cuts, communications and school safety as key concerns and said she would listen to input from students, faculty, parents and community members.
“I want to work diligently with the superintendent and current board members to achieve the goals and responsibilities that are in the best interests of the students’ education,” Hernandez said. “I want to get the community more involved and encourage them to attend board meetings.”
Trace Stone, 36, is the father of three children in the district and is active in the PTA. The former Marine has been a pipefitter for the past 14 years.
"I possess strong leadership skills, I'm a team player and strongly committed to serving others," Stone said. "I have received countless hours of training from Missouri PTA Board of Managers in many different areas such as conflict resolution, parental engagement and state budgeting and funding."
Stone cites issues with aging textbooks, looming state budget cuts and improving communication with district patrons as some key reasons for running.
"The district is needing to replace some of its aging textbooks and acquire a larger number of books to eliminate students needing to share study materials."