Voters in the Fort Osage School District will decide April 3 who will represent them on the Fort Osage Board of Education.

Voters in the Fort Osage School District will decide April 3 who will represent them on the Fort Osage Board of Education.

Five people are running for two seats – incumbents Diana Rice and Ben Schloman along with Kelly Scott, James Calderon and Michael Baker. Terms are for three years, and the election is April 3.

Rice, 51, was first elected to the board in 2006. She has worked at Hallmark Cards for 25 years and is a forecast planner. She is a volunteer for Harvesters and works on the Hallmark Corporate Committee for the Backsnack Program. She is also the PTA Council President for Fort Osage and has served on the local and state levels for the PTA. She and her husband, John, have four children, three who are in college and one who is a seventh grader at Osage Trail.

Rice said she wanted to run for another term to continue to make a difference in the lives of children. She said it is her passion that makes her the best person to serve the students, families, patrons and staff of the Fort Osage School District.

 “I go to work every day and I love my job, but my passion is making a difference in the community,”  she said. “My family is the most important element in my life, and by being on the board, it allows me to do what I have a passion for, and directly affects my family. I love Fort Osage, and being a part of this board not only helps to make a difference in the children of our district, but also allows me to give back to a school that gave me that opportunity to grow. Once an Indian, always an Indian.”

Schloman, who was first elected in 2009, is the director of a state residential facility for the Department of Mental Health. He has also been an investigator with the State of Missouri and a quality control and assurance worker for the Department of Social Services. A 1999 graduate of Lafayette County High School, he and his wife have lived in the Fort Osage School District for five years and are members of Susquehanna Baptist Church. They have two children.

Schloman said he is seeking re-election because he is proud of what has been accomplished during his first term in office. He said he feels like he represents the next generation of Fort Osage and is looking forward to continuing to be a part of the district’s future.

 “The most important job we have on the board is making sure that those changes are for the best. I have learned so much from the other board members. It is especially exciting working with some of the members that have been on the board for awhile,” he said. “I have learned so much about the history of Fort and how much work has gone into always preparing the district for the future. My parents took typing class on a typewriter, I used computers, and my kids will use iPads and other stuff that have not even been invented yet. If you are not always improving, then your district is falling behind.”

Scott, 53, is a retired fire captain with the Independence Fire Department. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Soccer Association of Independence and is a coach with the Jabali Soccer Club. He has one son, who graduated from Fort Osage High School and has four grandchildren who also attend Fort schools.

Scott said he has wanted to run for a seat on the board of education for years as a way to be more involved in the district. However, being an employee of the Independence Fire Department prevented him for running for public office. He said as a retiree, he has a lot of time available to give to the school district and would like to have the opportunity to represent the patrons.

“As a fire service educator for many years, I have a somewhat unique perspective into how the education system works and want to share that with the district as we move forward, especially with the possible challenges/opportunities that could occur with the changes that are happening in the Kansas City School District,” he said. “I hope to continue the work that I have witnessed with improvements in facilities, maintaining the excellent staff and managing the finances in a prudent manner. However, I also think that prudence requires that there be periodic change and a new perspective applied, so that excellence is maintained.”

Calderon is employed at Sprint and works in the Legal Department supporting software applications and database management. In 2007, he retired from Battery D, 1st Battalion 129th Field Artillery of the Missouri Army National Guard, where he served for almost 21 years. He served as both a traditional Guardsman and on active duty with the state assigned as a Personal Sergeant and Recruiter. He and his wife have three children, all of whom are students in the Fort Osage School District.

Calderon said he wants to have a more active part in making sure Fort Osage students are getting the best education, facilities and staff possible. He said he believes he possesses the qualities and characteristics necessary to be a member of the Board of Education.

“I want to be sure that our district is making the best decisions for our children’s education and that we are affording them the most that we as a district can offer. I want to be confident that we are addressing the relevant issues concerning the schools and that we are aware of the needs of the students,” he said. “I feel I display excellent communication skills, the ability to make good sound decisions and attention to detail. These traits are important and should be present in every member of the board.”

Baker has not responded to The Examiner’s questionnaires or phone calls.