Kristen Stutts announced plans to seek Position 2 on the Manila School Board.
Ms. Stutts is a 1991 graduate of Jonesboro High School and attended Arkansas State University for Early Childhood Education. She is a member of the First Baptist Church of Manila and served as a board member of the Butterfly House, which has some exciting things coming up.
"When we had Spencer, Jared and I made a conscious decision that I would stay at home to take care of our family," Kristen said. "Since I had worked since age 14, it wasn't an easy decision but it was an important one for our family. As Spencer got older this afforded me the opportunity to coach his soccer and baseball teams. When he entered pre-K, I became a substitute teacher in the elementary school. If I wasn't substituting, I was volunteering."
First and foremost on the list of her reasons for running, she thinks it is important to be of service to the community in which she lives.
"Although my husband has lived here his whole life, I have only lived here seven years, but during that time I have grown to love this community," she said. "I have been involved with church, Manila Youth Association sports and school. Also, I have become an avid Manila Lions fan, traveling the state to watch our youth compete. Even though I do not have a child or relative playing, I enjoy watching and supporting our players."
She also said she believes the school board membership needs to embody the diversity of the public it serves.
"There has never been a woman on the board and I feel that as a woman and a mother, I can bring a different point of view to our school board, one that represents a big part of our education community," she said. "Also, having the opportunity to substitute teach has given me a better idea of the challenges and needs of our teachers."
Stutts also pointed out the importance of parental involvement.
"Quality education is a community commitment, therefore I hope to increase our parental involvement," she said. "Students make up the single most important part of any public school system. They, along with their parents, need and deserve effective communication from both school administrators and board members. Communication is the key to success in any relationship. Our school district should be an environment where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. I strongly believe that increased parental involvement will mean more successful students. I have a strong desire toward serving all students regardless of their abilities and backgrounds. I want to make sure that our school offers a well-rounded curriculum which includes academics and sports programs as well as real life training."
Stutts said she believes in the democratic process and understands that a board member's role is to act in line with the interests of the entire school community.
"If elected, I will be an independent thinking member of the board and vote for what I feel is in the best interest for all of our students, teachers and residents of Manila," she said. "I have a passion for education and for children. I have the time and energy to devote to being a school board member and if elected will educate myself to the highest degree necessary to be the most effective member I can possibly be for our entire school community."
The school board election will be held Sept. 18 with polls open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Early voting will be held Sept. 11, 14, and 17 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.