Gaylene Adams and Jennie Earl are both hopefuls who will be on the November ballot to fill Ken Durrant’s District 3 four-year seat on the Morgan County School Board. Adams and Earl will join District 5 candidates Jim Brown and Adam Toone on the ballot, along with Ronald Blunck, who is running uncontested in District 1.
District 3 includes areas from Dalton Creek to East Canyon, namely Milton, Richville and Porterville.
Gaylene Adams, is a life-long resident of Morgan County. She is retired after a 30-year career in education.
“My 30-plus years as an educator has given me a ‘front lines’ look at the workings of our system,” Adams said. “I am committed to fully learn the roles and duties of the office and to carry them out with respect and integrity. My work ethic, passion for learning, love of children and the community, and basic understanding of the financial workings of the district are great strengths for this position. I am confident that I will be an outstanding board member.”
Adams said she chose to run for a school board position because she wants to work to ensure the board is making decisions that provide for students to exit the school system with the skills and knowledge that enables them to progress as successful, contributing members of society.
“It is my opportunity to pay forward with community service the service rendered by so many others as we have lived and raised our family in Morgan,” Adams said. “Continual enrollment growth in all schools necessitates some changes in order to accommodate students. Retaining a strong staff of qualified teachers is an absolute necessity. Now is the time to agree on what our vision is and become involved in the process of making the vision a reality with careful regard to resources, financial and otherwise.”
If elected, Adams said she would dedicate herself “to the task of informing district patrons of Morgan School District needs and basing decisions on research input, and the No. 1 question ‘Does this fit the vision of the school district pertaining to what is best for our students?’”
A school board member’s responsibility is “setting and implementing the vision of the district,” Adams said. “Then a board member’s job becomes three fold in duty: legislative, administrative and judicial. These three things must be done with the following things at the forefront: best learning environment for students, the best instructional environment for teachers and the best informational link between the board and constituents that we can provide.”
Adams is confident in the future of education.
“Given the demographics of our beautiful valley, Morgan students can and should be among the highest achieving students in the state,” Adams said. “I believe every citizen benefits from a strong public education system. Citizens have a right to feel confidence in the results of that system.”
Jennie Earl, her husband Brett and their six children have lived in Morgan County for the past 14 years. She has a master’s and bachelor’s degree in education, as well as experience with coalitions both at the local and state level.
“I would argue that my most important qualification has been meeting the unique educational needs of my six children,” Earl said. “I had an experience several years ago with one of my children that changed the way I viewed both education and the law-making process.”
Earl had a concern, researched it, and then presented an argument and a solution to the problem at a state school board meeting.
“Following my presentation, Brenda Hale met with me and the standard was re-evaluated and submitted for a change to better fit the developmental needs of a 10-year-old,” Earl said. “I learned how important it is to be proactive when something needs attention. I also learned that policies, standards and laws are not chiseled in stone, but more like a chalkboard with sections added, deleted or improved upon.”
Over the past month, Earl has met with Senator Ann Millner and State School Board Member Terryl Warner to discuss better assessment tools, how to better fund classes in K-12 programs, and freeing up time/resources for teachers.
“I have followed education issues for many years with great concern over the national education reform that took place in 2010 with the implementation of the common core, school grading, data mining, national testing, etc. I have researched the federal acts and changes to local and state laws including the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” Earl said.
“I think the value of a child is more than their workforce potential. As the education of our children goes, so goes our nation,” Earl said. “Children and teachers bring unique life experiences and needs to the classroom. Most of these strength can’t be measured on an end-of-the-year test.”
Earl sees her place as a potential school board member in a bigger light.
“I didn’t just decide this year to run for office because I had free time or it was my turn to serve,” Earl said. “I really feel I can help Morgan take the lead in education in Utah as we take a proactive approach in our decisions. I would appreciate your vote in the upcoming election. I am very excited to have the chance to represent the families in District 3.”
For more information on these candidates, please see coverage of their debate that was published on the Sept. 23 edition. The debate covered the candidates’ stances on Common Core/learning standards, federal/state/local educational oversight, Morgan class sizes, if they support a proposed $26 million tax increase, what a school member’s job is, budget cuts, transportation, special education, and online/charter/home schools.