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Valley Springs School Board candidates speak

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Early voting in the Preferential Primary Election begins Monday, but the annual school election is held at the same time this year.

In Boone County, there are races for an open seat on the Valley Springs School Board and a race for a position on the Bergman School Board.

At Valley Springs, the race is between Jonathan Roberts and Laura Thomason Karr.

The candidates were given an opportunity to fill out questionnaires about themselves and each responded.

• • • • •

Laura Karr

Laura Thomason Karr is running for an open seat on the Valley Springs School Board.

• Please tell voters a little about yourself.

I am a 1995 Valley Springs High School alumni. I attended the school district from head htart through my Senior year. I am married to Jason Karr, and together, we have four children. In addition, I am a 1997 North Arkansas College graduate with an Associates of Arts Degree, and a 1999 University of Central Arkansas graduate holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Currently, I am studying to become a certified personal trainer, and I lead a couple of group classes at Brick House Fitness Studio. My husband and I own Sullins RV located south of Harrison and she assists leading music at FBC Valley Springs where she plays piano/keyboard.

• What three things do you see as the most important issues in the future of the school?

The culture and the climate of a school are foremost important. Environment plays a strong role in success among teachers, students, and staff. The future of our school is rooted in mental well being where mutual respect can only garner success. Additionally, communication is a major roadblock in public schools. Good communication creates great relationships, builds strong communities, and fosters personal connections. Unfortunately, COVID set us back. Parents are less involved; kids are less invested; and teachers find it more difficult to do their jobs efficiently. Finally, getting outside our comfort zones to create an environment with better communication and personal connection will create a school that not only succeeds but thrives.

• Why are you seeking the position and what makes you the right candidate for it?

My ultimate goal in life is to love God and love my neighbor. I am passionate about these two qualities and want to use them to help grow our community and school. Our family chooses the Valley Springs School District because of its strong legacy in our community. Generation upon generation choose to give their children the best learning opportunities and that’s what I want for our school. Our administration and staff want what is best for our children and uphold the qualifications to make sure the best is fulfilled. My goal is to provide the support, encouragement, and loyalty to our school family. My background in finance, management, and organization will benefit the position I am seeking. Over the years at Valley Springs school, I have substituted, helped form and served as Secretary on PTO, and served as Co-President and Secretary on the Basketball Booster Club. Volunteering and serving in this school district is part of my life. I have found myself helping teachers and principals with copies, field trips, parent representation, and committees. My love for this community runs deep, and I am proud to be part of it. It is time for me to continue investing in our community by serving on the Valley Springs school board. I would be honored to serve and will give my best in every situation.

• • • • •

Jonathan Roberts

Jonathan Roberts is running for an open seat on the Valley Springs School Board .

 • Please tell voters a little about yourself. 

God has been so good to me and has blessed me beyond my merit. I was able to marry the love of my life, Hollie Roberts, 20 years ago this July and three kids and lots of dogs later we’re still together. I have a senior, a sophomore, and an 8th grader who are all students of Valley Springs and they all bleed green and white. For the better part of two decades I have been deeply involved in student ministry including the last 17 years which I have served as the youth pastor at Red Oak Baptist Church. My heart is bent toward young people and seeing them develop into the honest, productive, and accomplished adults that God created them to be.

• What three things do you see as the most important issues in the future of the school? 

In my opinion, the three most pressing issues for any school to consider are; student enrollment, teacher retention, and addressing educational gaps that may have developed as a result of the recent health crisis. Valley Springs has an outstanding reputation for providing quality education. It is critical that people continue to see our school district as a place they want their children to attend. This is done by retaining and encouraging high quality educators to continue to work in our district. It is especially important to support educators by providing the resources they need to help address academic gaps and equipping students to be successful in their future endeavors. 

• Why are you seeking the position and what makes you the right candidate for it? 

My campaign to serve on our Valley Springs School Board is fueled by a desire to give back to an institution that has meant a great deal to my family. My wife had a wonderful seven years interacting with faculty and staff while she taught pre-school at the “Little Red School House” and we are so thankful that our children have been blessed with a quality education and an exceptional learning experience. In my time visiting with scores of people over the past two months, I have been encouraged to find that countless other families have benefited immensely from Valley Springs School and I would be honored to have the opportunity to work with our board, our administration, and our staff in order to see our school thrive, grow, and continue to be an excellent experience for each student, family, and employee. 

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