What experience do you have that prompted you to run for this position? My entire life has been about education. I am a well-rounded leader who has a passion for life-long learning. USD 373 is well-respected, and becoming a leadership team member allows me to participate in the process of moving our district from good to great. I am committed to give back to my community and its most valuable resource: our children. I have a reputation for selflessly giving of my time, talent and treasure.

• Education:

Masters of education in counseling and school psychology from Wichita State University; bachelor of science in secondary education, double major English/history from Illinois State University; Leadership Newton; Leadership For Tomorrow Kansas; National Council of Planned Giving Certification; Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor I.

• Job: Independent Education Management Professional; former teacher, school counselor, alcohol/drug counselor, community liaison (marketing, fund-raising and education).

• Family: Husband, Robert “Bob” J. Bunting Sr., (Bunting Magnetics Co.); son, Robert J. Bunting Jr., (Bunting Magnetics sales); daughter, Molly Claassen (Topeka USD 501 teacher), married to Cody Claassen (Washburn School of Law student).

• Community and public service: Newton USD 373 Board of Education, eight years, past vice president; Kansas Association of School Boards, two years, immediate past president; National School Board Association, one year, Western Region past president; KASB legislative committee chairwoman; Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas Board vice president; Early Childhood Coalition Task Force; Harvey County Special Education Board; Community Vocational Area Training Services Board; Kidron-Bethel Retirement Village Board and fund development committee;

Northview Developmental Services Inc. Board past president; St. Mary’s stewardship committee past chairwoman; Diocesan stewardship committee; Kansas State University Kappa Delta Gramma Sorority Parents’ Club past president; multiple school activities.

• What prompted you to run for office this term? I believe I can continue to make a difference. The current educational financial crisis requires an experienced and visionary leader, focused upon student achievement, to advocate for Newton’s students, district and community on a local, state and federal level. I am that advocate.

• What challenges does the school district face in the next four years? What would you do to address those challenges?

I. Finances

A. Reduced funding: Legislative advocacy with fiscal responsibility.

B. Bond project:

1. Attentive to details.

2. Accountable to community.

II. Student achievement

A. Changing student demographics:

1. Amend federal/state mandates.

2. Intensive interventions for students with challenges: poverty, at-risk, disabilities, language barriers, minority heritage, gifted.

B. Engaging students: Empower excellence through individual success, healthy relationships, relevant curriculum, rigorous standards, varied activities.

III. Board governance

A. District consensus: Well- rounded, experienced and engaged, I communicate daily.

B. Vision:

1. Researching, empowering district discussions, innovating, open-minded.

2. Successful boards invite healthy debate, review programs, build on success.

3. During my tenure, Newton achieved excellence!

IV. Educators

A. School climate:

1. Collaboration Day results need evaluation.

2. Hold administration and staff accountable for implementing respectful strategies.

B. Teacher crisis:

1. Improve recruitment, retainment, retraining, rewards.

2. Student achievement through best practices meeting local needs.

V. Community engagement

A. Family support.

1. Involve parents!

2. Expand early education efforts for a level playing field.

3. Policies/programs assure mentoring relationships for every student.

B. Business and civic leaders:

1. Graduates with 21st century life skills.

2. Communication, problem solving, analysis, ethical decision-making, positive work ethic.

3. Strengthen democracy.

• What differentiates you from your opponents? As a servant leader, education is my full-time focus. I have the courage to ask the tough questions. My experience on the Newton USD 373 board, in our community and on a state/national level brings a unique vision and high expectations for our district. I act on NSBA’s Key Works of Boards: student achievement through community engagement via: vision, standards, assessments, accountability, alignment, climate, collaboration and continuous improvement. I am a seasoned legislative advocate who understands the complexity of school finance. Newton needs a common-sense leader who engages in the problem-solving process. (KASB has afforded me the opportunities and funding for professional development)

• What would you do to improve student achievement? Data-driven decision-making requires board members and administration to research proven strategies appropriate to our local district. I will encourage our board to evaluate/revise our current mission/vision/district goals in light of project-based learning and 21st century skills. I will work tirelessly to effectively collaborate with my district team to develop policies, set priorities through fiscal allotment, implement valid measures of accountability, listen to my patrons and always put students and student achievement first.