New Natrona Trustees Each Speak About Being on the Board
At the Natrona County School District Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, the four new board members, Kevin Christopherson, Jenifer Hopkins, Mary Schmidt, and Michael Stedillie each talked during trustee comments about what people can expect from them on the board.
While Christopherson served on the board up until 2020 after having been elected in 2012, the other three board members haven't served previously, though Hopkins and Schmidt are both part of the conservative group Moms for Liberty.
Stedillie said that it has been quite a journey to get onto the board.
"This has been quite a journey over the last few months, and this is where it takes us. I don't often quote rock bands, hardly ever, and I'm not sure how many people have heard of Timbuktu 3. But one of their famous songs has the line that I think really applies, because of all the things that I've heard here this evening. 'The future's so bright, I've gotta wear shades.'"
Hopkins said that even though she's been accused of things before, she isn't a bigot and just wants to help the children.
"So to talk about the concerns about education. I think we're all here, I'm going to speak for the four that were here for the children...I just want to assure everyone that I'm not a bigot and that we are not here, I am not here to target any students or a student group. And I'm here to work towards the education of our children."
Schmidt said that she's looking forward to getting more feedback from the public so that the board can better tailor its policies.
"I just want to say I look forward to working with everybody. I know I've been on the other side of the tables for a year and a half and I look forward to working with you all and learning about the job more in detail. And I look forward to hearing the public's comments. It's very important to get your comments and your feedback because we can't be in every place at every moment. So what you know and what you experience in schools is very important for us to hear. I do look forward to hearing it. I will answer your emails and I am here for the children because I have three in the district. So I want to make sure their experience, as well as everybody else's experience in the school, is good."
Christopherson said that he appreciates the expansion of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at schools and misses working with a previous trustee, Dave Applegate.
"Well, it's good to be back. I've missed a lot of you. I'm looking forward to getting to know and work with the new board members and I think we can do great things here. I wasn't here, so I'd look to say goodbye to the old board members. I never sat on a board where Dave Applegate wasn't on, Dave and I sat through a lot of things and we worked really hard for the kids. It really warms my heart to see the CTE focus because that was always my focus and I don't know if you guys know it, but, mainly because of Dave and me and a couple of the other board members, Kelly Walsh got 25% more CTE space and so did NCHS. They came here telling us now that the CTE space is full so there was a lot of thought that went into building those buildings and I remember when I was fighting to get one standalone class for Roosevelt so those kids would have an entryway the PIC and they finally gave that to me. Now they converted part of Roosevelt to a CTE and I'm a classified person, I'm a trucker and 70, 80% of the kids that come through this school are gonna end up just out there working. Some of them right after high school. And I think it's very important that we bring back space for those kids to get in there and have a great education."