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Candidates look for fresh start on Garden City Community College Board of Trustees

Over the past 18 months, Garden City Community College has faced some turbulent moments. Among them:

  • The institution terminated the contract of President Herbert Swender after faculty alleged that he created a hostile work environment and was putting the college’s accreditation in jeopardy.
  • The death of a college football player from New Jersey of exertional heatstroke that remains under investigation.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to recall members of the college’s board of trustees over investigations of allegations against the president.

In the aftermath of those events, voters will go to the polls Nov. 5 to elect a slate of candidates for the board. None of the three incumbents whose terms expire are running for reelection.

Perhaps reinforcing the desire for a fresh start, none of the candidates surveyed by The Journal directly mentioned the recent turmoil at the college. But improving the confidence constituents had in the college was mentioned, as was maintaining accreditation and serving the area better.

Candidates also discussed the college’s interests and role in addressing the child care shortage hurting Finney County.

Read more about each of the candidates in their own words below. For more information about other races up for vote this fall in Garden City and Finney County, please visit klcjournal.com/local2019gardencity.

Your Local Candidates: In Their Own Words Nov. 5 2019 Kansas local election

Editor’s note: To help readers make their voting choices in the Nov. 5 general election for local offices, The Journal, the Kansas Leadership Center’s quarterly magazine, sent out a survey to more than 250 candidates in communities where our magazine’s readership is the largest. What follows is information from your local candidates, in their own words.

Scott Myers, candidate for the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

Hello, my name is Scott Myers. I am a husband to my wife and father to my three adult children. I am a career educator, having served the students of Kansas in a variety of roles. I have been a high school English teacher, a high school principal, a superintendent of schools, an assistant professor of education, the Director of Teacher Licensing and Accreditation at the Kansas State Department of Education and a member of a local school board. I am running to serve as a member of the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees because I believe it is important to play a role in helping make or communities and state an even better place to live. I am specifically interested in joining the board of trustees in Garden City as I deeply believe providing individually pertinent educational experiences makes all the difference in a person’s life. It simply provides people with the route to a fulfilling and successful life.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

As I feel the ultimate survival of our great country depends on an educated population, I would like to ensure EVERY resident of Kansas has the opportunity to take advantage of educational opportunities that exist today and will exist in the future. Serving on the board of trustees will provide me with a position to work with all subsections of the community, and I look forward to that opportunity.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

I know it is important to be visible and present throughout the community to engage with people to communicate with them about their wishes and desires for the future. Toward that end, I would attend a variety of community activities throughout the service area of Garden City Community College, not just those activities in Garden City. Also, I would continue my efforts in working with the business community to build further educational opportunities for people.

To what extent do you see a lack of child care holding your community back?

To a very great extent

As a local official, what, if anything, would you do about a lack of child care in your community?

We need to continue our efforts to provide opportunities for additional affordable child care options for families. I am personally involved in efforts to create a child care opportunity in Holcomb, but I know that single effort will not be enough. By serving on the board of trustees of GCCC, I would be better positioned to work with local school districts, other agencies, and private businesses to explore opportunities for creating child care opportunities.

How would you prioritize this issue in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

This is a top priority as not having affordable child care options serves as a barrier to people who want to work outside of the home. The reality negatively impacts the overall economy of the Garden City area and of the state. Along with this reality, not having enough child care keeps people from realizing their personal and economic dreams.

 

Aaron Kucharik, candidate for the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

I am running for GCCC Trustee to help ensure that Garden City Community College continues to provide the highest level of education and to produce positive contributors to the social and economic well being of society.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

The single most important issue facing Finney County is child care. Due to the lack of child care in Finney County, some parents are not able to further their education on the campus of Garden City Community College and faculty, staff and administrator candidates may not be as willing to relocate to Finney County.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

I feel the trustees and college administration need to do research and look into on campus child care for both students, faculty, and staff.

To what extent do you see a lack of child care holding your community back?

To a very great extent

As a local official, what, if anything, would you do about a lack of child care in your community?

I would host round table discussions with other elected officials, early childcare experts, and community members to find a solution to the childcare crisis that is affordable and located in the areas of the community that it is needed in.

How would you prioritize this issue in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

I feel this issue is a very important issue and ranks among the top five issues that I will face.

Beth Tedrow, candidate for the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

My name is Beth Tedrow, from Garden City, and I am running for the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees. I am a graduate of the college and worked in various positions at the college for 47 years before retiring in 2009. I was a mathematics instructor, dean of women, counselor and recruitment coordinator, director of admissions, and dean of student services. 

Because of these various experiences serving the College, I believe that I have the background, knowledge of policies and procedures, and the policy governance model that would make me an excellent college trustee. Both of my daughters, as well as my five brothers and sisters, and my mother, attended GCCC. I am committed to GCCC and I am running to “give back” and to “pay it forward” to this outstanding institution.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

GCCC has experienced some very challenging difficulties the past few years and some of the local/regional residents (stakeholders) have lost confidence in the college and the services that it is to provide its students. My No. 1 goal is to assist the college trustees, and college administrators continue to regain the confidence of our constituents that we are a very great college for our students and community members.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

The current board and the administrators have made tremendous steps this past year in prioritizing, planning, and implementing changes to meet this challenge. I will be a “strong team member” to assist in continued growth and to accomplish even more. Open transparency and strengthening communications to our stakeholders, i.e., in our community/surrounding areas is very important in increasing this support.

To what extent do you see a lack of child care holding your community back?

To a great extent

As a local official, what, if anything, would you do about a lack of child care in your community?

Child care is a definite concern for Garden City and the college is well aware of this serious issue. The college is working with the county, city, Garden City USD 457 and Holcomb USD 363, as well as several community agencies to address this issue.

How would you prioritize this issue in comparison to other issues that you expect to deal with while serving in office?

It is extremely important that the issue is being addressed to bring successful implementation of more child care availability. This is a priority for the college if we are able to continue attracting qualified administrators, faculty, staff, and students to our area. This issue has become a “total community project” in order to insure the continued growth and success of our community!

David Rupp, candidate for the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees

Please provide a brief introduction and a description of why you are running for office.

I have considered running in the past. However, due to the fact I was employed by the college as an instructor, I could not because it was against Kansas law. I have been involved in public and community service for most of my life. I served on the 3-I committee for over 30 years. I was a member of the Garden City Jaycees when they built the sidewalk on Jennie Barker Road, and the gazebo at the zoo. I have been on the city’s traffic advisory board and the housing authority board. At an early age, I assisted with the clean-up of branches in Valley View Cemetery after the tornado in the 1960’s. I do not have any specific platform that I am running on; I just want to continue to make Garden City Community College one of the premier colleges in the state.

Should you be elected, what is the single most important issue that you would like to see improvement on during your term in office? Please write a few sentences explaining your choice.

I believe the most important issue facing the college today is maintaining the accreditation and to continue to provide the best services to the stakeholders. I would like to see the college continue to grow and be the premier college of the region.

As an office holder, how would you try to mobilize efforts to address the important issue you identified above? If you have a sense of specific steps you might take, please share those.

To better serve our stakeholders, I would like to see an effort into surveying the areas and determining what classes and training the college can provide to meet the needs of the area.

The Journal did not receive responses to its survey from Garden City Community College Board of Trustees candidate Shanda Smith.

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