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Bridger, Hayes, Wagoner
seek spot on R-3 board

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

After Tammy Glick announced she was resigning to focus on her campaign for Platte County Prosecutor, three interested persons stepped forward to become candidates for the vacated one-year spot on the Platte County R-3 School Board.

Dorothy Bridger, who has lived in Platte City nearly all of her life, believes her 29-years of educational background could be the right touch to get her elected to the school board.

"I feel my strongest suit is my background in education and I feel I have a special interest and background in the Platte City community," said Bridger.

She has been a teacher in West Platte, Platte County R-3 and North Platte School Districts over the past 29 years.

"My decision to run for the seat came about from my intrigue at this time in the increased growth of the district," stated Bridger.

"I want to make sure our increase in growth doesn't deteriorate our quality and excellence in education. We have a great district and I want to uphold that standard even though we're getting larger and larger all the time."

In order to maintain that quality of education, Bridger suggests maintaining small class sizes, quality teachers, and maintaining programs for special and gifted needs.

Bridger graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, a master's in reading from UMKC and is certified in art. She and her husband David have three children: Shane, Shannon, and Chance, and one grandchild.

For Jeff Hayes, being a spouse of a teacher and a parent of children in the district gives him a special interest in the Platte County R-3 District.

Hayes stated he has been actively involved in the board meetings, sitting in the audience for the past two years watching the board in action.

"Looking at the district as a whole I feel the growth in the district could become a potential problem," stated Hayes. "We really need to take the bull by the horns and take a hard look and plan for the growth before it's right on top of us."

One way Hayes proposes to take the bulls by the horns is, "to work with the City of Platte City and Platte County in staying ahead of the ball game regarding proposed major neighborhood developments."

Hayes stated another issue facing the district is the need to look five years down the road.

"Within five years we will need to look at a new middle school. Right now the high school is landlocked and the logical place for the district to look to is the middle school for expansion and then build a new middle school."

According to Hayes, the transportation and congestion at the main campus in Platte City is one focus needed by the board. "The transportation and congestion issue needs to be looked at and balanced out," said Hayes. "I'm not sure of a solution but we have to come together as a board and a district to look at solutions."

Hayes says the perceived division of the district between north and south must come to an end, and that would start with him if elected.

"There are many people that want to divide the district into the north and the south and may see that I'm not qualified because I'm from the southern part of the district and not a Platte Citian," explained Hayes.

"What those people have to realize is there's 700 kids in the southern part of the district that need attention too and we need to begin to view the district as a whole, not north or south."

Hayes has served on the VISION 2007 committee, worked with the petition initiative with the district, serves on the PTA District Council, serves on the Barry PTA Executive Committee and will be serving on a committee for the future expansion of the district.

"I want to make sure this district is the one other districts strive to be like," stated Hayes.

Hayes, who has lived in the Platte County R-3 School District for seven years, and his wife Chris have two girls, Kaleigh and Maddison.

For Karen Wagoner the need to maintain the school district's excellence while experiencing the inevitable growth of the district, is a main priority.

"The fact that Platte City will see growth that they've not seen before is going to make an obvious impact on the school district. This is the greatest challenge the district faces," said Wagoner. "I feel I'd be an asset to the district when it comes to finding effective ways to handle the growth."

According to Wagoner, handling the growth in a way that won't hurt the current staff and students is a major priority.

"The main issue is that the school district stays ahead of the growth and is able to handle it without adverse affects on the students and staff," explained Wagoner.

"The district needs to strive to maintain the 'accredited with distinction' status and the student achievements of the district. I'd like to see Platte County R-3 become a model school district. I want us to be the district everybody wants their kids to attend and the district that everybody wants to teach in."

Wagoner also noted that more cohesiveness needs to be seen among the schools in the district.

"There shouldn't be a division between north and south," she said.

Wagoner serves on the board of Platte County Economic Development Council, the board of Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the public relations committee for the school district, serves as a PTA volunteer and is a "lead parent"/"youth friend" at Siegrist Elementary.

"Actions speak louder than words. I've been active in the schools for nine years, my children are in the district, and I've spent a lot of time volunteering in the school and the community," she said.

"I give 110 percent to anything I do. I'm not dying to do the job, I'm willing to do the job."

Wagoner and her husband Roger have two daughters, Megan and Emily. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.