It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. This morning we conclude our series meeting the candidates for school board seats in Webb City and Joplin. Today, we meet John Hird, running for a 3-year seat on the Joplin School Board. He moved to the area in 2003 and has four daughters, the youngest, currently a freshman at JHS. He says that he became interested in running for a school board seat when the current board voted to allow students to attend on alternating days to create more space, because of Covid 19. Also cutting in half the number of days students could attend.
“My youngest daughter is a freshman, and she’s always been an academic all start, and she’s excelled academically, and all of her friends are the same place. After I saw them this year, they were at home most of the time. Both my daughter and her friends, and a lot of people that I talk to around town. They’re very upset over the fact that they weren’t in school. That’s very important that the kids be in school full time. And I think that the level of disengagement that I’m seeing with the kids. And the teachers are commenting on that also, that they’ve lost a lot of the kids. We’ve got to get back to the basics of teaching our kids and having in classroom learning.”John Hind
John is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has a rich work history opening many distribution centers across the country. Because of this work experience, he understands the need for areas, such as Joplin, to have a competitive school district that will produce future employees so that companies will want to relocate to the area. Or that local graduates can start their own businesses. John says that high school graduation rates are an essential metric to determine an areas future success.
“I don’t think of myself as different than other people that look to bring jobs and businesses to the area because you have to connect with that. That’s vitally important. When I look at that, I always say, you know, if you’re in a community that has high graduation rates, you can put a business there, and you’re really going to be successful because people are what makes, go and go, to begin with. So you have to have that strong foundation for them to be successful.”John Hind
If elected, John says that he would bring a community business perspective and a kid-first approach to the Joplin school board. In addition to a very balanced approach that would enhance Joplin’s school by focusing on metrics that need improvement.
“I personally have no agenda, other than kids first. And to be able to get the kid educated. And I think I bring a very balanced and measured approach. To make sure that we are considering all things when we discuss what our priorities are. And I do believe that your priorities do have to align the kids, graduation, and achievement. We have to policies that line up with those priorities. I also think that you have to be very transparent with the community on graduation rates, failure rates, key metrics. You have to have visions and goals that align to measurable benchmarks. I think for everybody to be evaluated from the administrators on down is incredibly important. That goes to alignment; that’s no different than when you run a business. You have to be aligned internally in terms of your business on key goals. And you put your efforts around that. And I think that I bring that perspective from just the value proposition.”
John is laser-focused on getting the highest return on investment from the Joplin School District, . That he’s seen both public and private schools work well, and it’s up to the parents to decide where their priorities are and where they send their children. He believes that Joplin schools should be leading the way in Southwest Missouri, in terms of public education.
“There is no reason why the Joplin School District should not be the absolute leader in the area when it comes to education. Between the resources, the teachers, the facilities that we have. We should be second to none. So I don’t see that as a large concern because I’m really leaned in on the Joplin School District being successful.”John Hind
John Hind is a candidate, running for 1 of 2, 3-year seats on the Joplin school board. Josh Bard and Rylee Hartwell are also running.
Municipal elections, such as city, county, and school board elections, take place in Missouri on Tuesday, April 6.