Bill Baird and Mark Ousnamer are new to Lee’s Summit Board of Education campaigns. Terri Harmon and Chris Storms, both elected to the school board in 2011, are not.
On April 8, voters will choose three of the four hopefuls to serve on the board for the next three years.
All four candidates say they have careers with enough flexibility to serve the school district as board members.
Baird, a real estate broker and owner of two businesses, has served as co-chair the last two years for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation’s annual Taste of Lee’s Summit event, which he believes is a steppingstone to his next civic endeavor.
“I’m pretty passionate about Lee’s Summit and what goes on here in the schools,” said Baird, who has two children in the district.
Baird said the use of technology is one cause he would champion if elected.
“I just think it’s doing amazing things in the schools,” he said. “I do believe in getting the same type of tools and training and support for teachers (just as students), so that they can be the best educators in the state, and I want to ensure they have what they need.”
Ousnamer, principal owner of an engineering firm, plans to use his background as an engineer, business owner and turn-around specialist as a drawing card in his campaign. Three of his children are enrolled in district schools.
Having owned an engineering firm for 24 years, Ousnamer said, he can offer — gratis — expertise that the district could not afford to hire.
“At this point in my career it seems like the right thing to do,” he said.
The district, he said, is facing the same problems that many businesses have: doing more with less.
“How do we intelligently conserve our funds and still provide a quality product?” he asked. “In this case, with the school district, it’s our kids’ education. That’s a little more important, and I have the expertise to do that.”
Harmon, a technology consultant, has two children at Pleasant Lea Elementary School. In her first term, she has been heavily involved with school security issues and said that would continue to be a focus.
“School safety is a topic that is kind of near and dear to me,” she said. “A couple of years ago we put in a long-range plan to improve that ... I believe ... we are doing the right things to improve not only the facilities but also providing teachers and administrators with the training that they need should something happen.”
Harmon spends a least one day week volunteering at her daughters’ school, often more.
“I know a ton of kids here,” she said. “I know them and they know me. It feels like home.”
Storms, a senior national account representative for Stanley Security, has two sons who are student-athletes at Lee’s Summit West High School. They play lacrosse.
Storms said he first got involved in school affairs in 2002, when the district offered only half-day kindergarten. Storms was a part of a committee that studied the issue for about a year, and later the district would add full-day kindergarten.
“That was the first committee that I served on,” Storms said. “Most of the things I do revolve around my kids.”
Storms said that as a board member, he has contributed to initiatives that have moved the district forward.
“We’ve done a lot of stuff in the last three years that has provided new streams of revenue for the district as well as providing some cost cuts in different areas ... to the point where the district is very fiscally responsible and is in a good financial position right now.”Bill Baird
2724 S.E. Second Circle, Lee’s Summit
Real estate broker; owner of Baird Group Real Estate and One Stop Handyman Shop in Lee’s Summit
Bachelor’s in psychology/business, Baker University
Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, 2006-present; Lee’s Summit Partners in Education,10 years; Lee’s Summit Rotary Club, three years
• Website: makingadifferenceineducation.comTerri Harmon
1304 S.W. Crossing, Lee’s Summit
Technology consultant; owner, myVP (My Versatile Partner)
Bachelor’s in business administration/economics, Augustana College
Lee’s Summit school board, 2011-present; Pleasant Lea Elementary School PTA, four years; co-chair Lee’s Summit Building Our Future Committee (2008, 2010)
Facebook: Terri HarmonMark Ousnamer
1124 N.E. Hendrix Drive, Lee’s Summit
Engineer, owner, IES Engineering
Bachelor’s in industrial engineering, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville; masters in industrial engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia
4100 S.W. Laharve Drive, Lee’s Summit
Senior national account manager, Stanley Security Solutions
Bachelor’s in criminal justice administration, Central Missouri State University
Lee’s Summit school board, 2011-present; R-7 Citizen’s Advisory Committee, 2005-2011; Building Our Future Committee, 2004-11; Summit Pointe Elementary School PTA
•Website: Facebook: Chris Storms for Lee's Summit R-7 School Board