Two candidates face off in the runoff election for seat 4 of the Plainview School Board. The election is Tuesday and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The candidates are Bert Norton and Julie Reuter.
Norton, 43, is a firefighter and a business owner. He has lived in Ardmore for 11 years. He and his wife, Melody, have three children enrolled in Plainview. He holds an associates in fire science and is currently pursuing his bachelor's degree.
Reuter, 37, is an educator. She has lived in Ardmore for seven years. She and her husband, Ryan, have four children enrolled in Plainview. She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
The following are responses the Ardmoreite received from the candidates in early February.
1. Why are you running for this seat?
Norton: I believe that the school is moving and growing. I want to be part of the decision making process, so that we can continue to move the school forward.
Reuter: I am seeking to be elected to Plainview School District Seat 4 to continue Plainview excellence. I want to be a leader on the front line of education. I will support administrators, teachers and staff. I will be an advocate for the students. I will listen and be a voice for parents. I will work collaboratively with the board to continue Plainview’s success and to help solve the challenges that will arise. I want to serve the Plainview School System.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Plainview Public Schools?
Norton: I think the biggest challenges will be where do we grow and where do we expand. This district has continued a steady growth over the years.
Reuter: Plainview’s biggest challenge is increased student population. We are growing by leaps and bounds. This is a good thing, but also brings challenges. I am up for these challenges and look forward to solving the issues that arise from increased student population.
3. What is the biggest strengths of the school district?
Norton: I have watched the school continue to be the school that others want to attend. I think that the school has a strong reputation for academics and having students prepared for college.
Reuter: Plainview has fantastic facilities, exceptional administration, highly qualified teachers and great parent involvement. Plainview’s biggest strength is its rigorous academic program. Plainview offers a wide variety of programs while maintaining a focus on education. Educating our children is a huge responsibility; it is the cornerstone to society. I believe a school board plays an essential role in providing a quality education. I am hopeful I will have the opportunity to join a strong partnership with the board and continue Plainview’s academic program.
4. What problems have you observed and what solutions will you offer?
Norton: I am not sure if I would say that there are problems. I think that just as you grow in size you need to make sure that you are keeping up with services and the facilities.
Reuter: Due to the increased population at Plainview, the traffic flow at Plainview Elementary School is a problem. I would like to address those issues. There is a way to have the traffic flow more safely and efficiently. I am not a traffic expert so my solution would be to have administrators, a traffic engineer and parents collaborate and come up with a solution to this problem. The administrators and teachers have done their part but I think an expert needs to be brought in to help solve the issue. The parking lot before and after school concerns me and needs to be addressed before a child gets hurt. We must have a safe school.
5. What would you like to see the school district accomplish in the next five years?
Norton: I would like to see the school district secure some more parking, expand the AP program, and continue to set the standard in excellence.
Reuter: My personal goals, if elected, would be to support the Plainview students, teachers and administrators, to hear the Plainview community, to be active within the school and to collaborate with the other Plainview School Board members. My goal is to support the administrators and teachers as they are the heart of the school. I would like to do my part to help maintain or improve Plainview’s ranking as one of the best schools in Oklahoma. I want to be an advocate for the student as well. I have a desire to be active and involved within the schools and be in touch with the educators. I will listen and “hear” the voices of the Plainview community. And lastly, I will work collaboratively with the board to ensure that the best decisions are made to ensure Plainview Schools continue to thrive.
6. What else did we not ask that you want people to know?
Norton: I am a captain at the Midwest City Fire Department. I have been a firefighter for 19 years. I currently own Firehouse Chimney Sweeps. I have also served on the Oklahoma State Firefighters Pension and Retirement System. I served on it from 20072012. I served as Chairman of the board in 2011. During this time I had the honor to work with the Oklahoma State legislature on pension legislation to maintain the pension benefits for firefighters in Oklahoma. My family and I are active members at First Baptist Church in Ardmore and currently teach a fourth grade Sunday School class. I have coached little league baseball and softball for the past six years. I was a youth pastor before I was a fireman and even drove a school bus for a short time. I try to always be an example and stand for what is right even when it is not popular.
Reuter: I am a leader. I am focused, actively involved and committed; I am level headed, firm and have a passion for education. This board position requires all those attributes. I possess the attributes that would be fitting for a school board member. If elected, my role as a school board member would be to look out for the students, teachers and administrators, to be accessible to the public and to be accountable for the performance of Plainview School. I see Plainview School Board as a “watchdog” for the Plainview Community. The Plainview School Board ensures that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent. If elected, I will take my role as a Plainview School Board member very seriously. I am committed to Plainview!