Three, six-year terms to be decided in Nov.

ALMONT — Voters will have five candidates to choose from for three open seats on the Almont Board of Education.

Current members whose terms are expiring include Paul Bowman, Jill Bowman-O’Neil and John Brzozowski. Of the three, Bowman-O’Neil is the only incumbent seeking reelection.

The top three vote getters will each earn six-year terms on the board.

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Jill Bowman-O’Neil is a mom of four children, who all attend Almont Community Schools. She graduated from Almont Schools herself in 1999.

“I continued my education at Central Michigan University where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business,” she said.

Bowman-O’Neil feels it is important as a board to focus on finances, curriculum, policy, personnel and buildings and grounds.

“These five things are equally important and we as a school cannot afford to let one slip for another. On that note, I would like to see our school stay in the good financial standing we are currently in because of the tough decisions our administration and board have had to make over the years. I would also like to continue to see our curriculum pushing our students to the their highest potential. Last, but not least, I would like to continue to watch our buildings and grounds get the well deserved face lift they need through the sinking fund that our great community passed a few years ago.”

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Justin Burns has lived in Almont for the past 18 years along with his wife, Meghan, a teacher in Romeo. They have one daughter who attends 4-year-old preschool in Almont. Burns has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geography degree with a minor in Computer Science from Central Michigan University. He is a software developer for a startup, Airspace Link.

Burns shared that he has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, supported a variety of sports programs in nearby area districts and held coaching positions in Almont and Memphis.

“I believe that public education is important. I believe in the democratic process. In addition, I have the ability to make decisions, communicate well with others and have great respect for all district employees and stakeholders,” he said.

As a school board member, Burns plans to collaborate effectively with board members and the superintendent to set a vision and goals for the district.

“I will effectively communicate with the public to inform them of the district’s progress and challenges. I will focus on what is best for all learners in Almont. This will include a strong focus on student achievement and implementing policies which ensure success for all students.”

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Angela Edwards is mom to two children who both attend Almont Community Schools.

“I am a 2006 graduate of Almont High School and a Raider to my core,” she added.

Edwards feels that transparency and an open dialogue with school staff is essential as a board of education member.

“I believe that Almont is a generational community and that the future success of our village and township depends on the education we provide our children today. If elected, my main focus would be bridging the gap between teachers, the board and the community. Instead of being divided into three distinct groups, we should all be working together, as one, with all voices heard and represented for the betterment of our schools for our children,” she said.

“Beyond that, I believe that through fiscal responsibility with our taxpayers dollars, transparency and communication with the community, and recognition that our teachers are our greatest assets, we can offer our children the best education now and our town the greatest chance of success in the future.”

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James Wade Jr. is an Almont Community Schools graduate from the class of 1995. If he is elected, Wade hopes to focus on collaborating and communicating to work together with the staff, community, and leaders.

“‘We’ will be my focus if I am elected to the Almont Community Schools Board of Education. The mission statement for the district states ‘We are committed to prepare and empower every student to be successful in our changing world.’ To me ‘We’ is the most powerful word there and unfortunately, I have felt like it has not been ‘we’ in a long time in this district. ‘We’ need to realize that there are a lot of ideas on any one topic and there may be more than one right solution to a problem, but ultimately it should be a concerted effort so that ‘we’ make the best possible decision,” he said.

“I would focus on communication between the community and our leaders—board, superintendent, principals, teachers, coaches, staff—and when a new problem emerges, ‘we’ all work to find the best path for the solution. That will put the ‘community’ back in ACS and the ‘we’ back into our mission statement.”

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Charlton Zimmerman is a 2015 graduate of Almont High School. Charlton plans to be available, open, and maintain communication with the community if he is elected.

“I plan to bring a younger set of eyes to the school board, as I know what it takes to be a student in this generation. I want to bring a new emphasis on trade-schools and vocational education, with the current climate of the student debt crisis and the economy we are going to need more people in the skilled trades,” he said.

“I want to be as transparent as possible, if I get the opportunity to serve on the Almont School Board my phone number and email will be open to the public to discuss anything they are unsure of.

“As someone who played sports in high school and in college, I know that sports are essential to our community as they teach our kids many life lessons that they wouldn’t be able to pick up otherwise.”

Zimmerman said he supports educators and wants to communicate with them and let them know “I have their backs.”