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The official student-run newspaper publication at GEHS.

The Blazer

The official student-run newspaper publication at GEHS.

The Blazer

The official student-run newspaper publication at GEHS.

The Blazer

Recent Results

New USD 231 School Board Members

Parker Fales

It’s that time again when the community votes for a school board that they think is the right option for this district. This past election took place on November 7, 2023 when the people of Gardner came in and placed their votes for who they believed was the right choice.

This year there were many candidates that decided to run for a spot on the board, some new and some rerunning in hopes of keeping their spot, the candidates included Emma Jones, Russell Ellis, Aleksandra Nokes, Jeff Miller, Allen Vonderschmidt, Katie Williams, Heath Freeman, and Threasa Lang.

The votes were coming in close for most of the day, and at the end of the day, only four would be elected.

Competing for the first spot on the board were Russell Ellis who is a reelected and Emma Jones. The results concluded in Russell Ellis winning with 1,783 votes and Emma Jones behind with 1,533 votes.

The next spot was a close call with only a 29 vote difference between Katie Williams and Allen Vonderschmidt. This was a close race all day but in the end Williams won with 1,669 votes Vonderschmidt following behind with 1,640 votes. This will be Katie Willams second time on the board while already being on it the past two years.

Jeff Miller who is rerunning for a spot was up against Aleksandra Nokes, their results were not as close as some of the others, but still was a good race, Miller won with 1,895 votes, and coming in with 1,429 votes was Nokes.

Finally for the last spot, it was a close call between Heath Freeman and Threasa Lang. Being too close to call their election had to be expanded a few extra days, but in the end Freeman pulled through with 1,661 votes and Lang with 1,639 votes.

With the conclusion of the results, the new school board consists of Heath Freeman, Katie Williams, Jeff Miller, and Russell Ellis.

Katie Williams has lived in Johnson County for 13 years, and is a former educator. She has a passion for being a part of the process of kids reaching their full potential. As a member of the board, her goal is to provide a safe, nurturing, and challenging environment in the schools for all children. One of her goals is to bring back art in the elementary schools as she believes it’s a crucial part in children’s development. Overall she wants to improve the education system and create a better future for each and every child in the district.

Heath Freeman has lived in Gardner since 2006 with his wife Jaylene and son Peyton. Since living in Gardner he has served as a member of the Gardner City Council and Planning Commission. Freeman works with Uhlig, LLC where he works specifically in the Multifamily and Senior Living markets and helps with communications. He wants to support not only the district but also the teachers and students.

Jeff Miller has been a member of the Gardner Community for 40 years. His four children were previously enrolled in the district and he now has 3 grandchildren who attend schools within the district. Miller was previously on the board two years prior to the elections. Miller’s main goal is to bring back a responsive school board that puts students and parental control first. Another thing he wants to do is remove all politics from the classroom because he believes it’s not helping students in the classroom.

Russell Ellis is a Lab Analyst in manufacturing and has lived in Gardner for 14 years. Ellis, being a returning member of the board, hopes to eliminate bullying rates and physical fights within the high school. He also wants to resolve the over-identification issues with IEP’s within SPED. He looks forward to being able to carry on with improving areas of need to our teachers, students, and empowering our building leaders to lead effectively.

You can see the new board members in action starting January 2024, either in person or online by clicking this link: USD231 youtube.

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About the Contributor
Parker Fales, Reporter
Parker is a sophomore this year. She loves going shopping and always has a drink of some sort oh and she loves anything fall obviously.

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