HANNIBAL | Brad Kurz is the newest member of the Hannibal Board of Education. The former teacher and coach was selected unanimously by the remaining board members during a special meeting of the school board on Wednesday night in the Hannibal High School auditorium.
Kurz was one of seven individuals to apply for the vacant seat.
“There were several extremely qualified individuals tonight who were willing to serve. I feel honored that I was given the chance to participate,” Kurz said after the meeting.
Also submitting applications by the 3 p.m. Sept. 8 deadline were Jeremy Wallace, Dr. Jeff Evans, Jennifer Self, Paul Ewert, Jesse Chapman and Tysa Coleman.
Kurz believes his broad background helped convince school board members to seriously consider him.
“I think that I am able to consider issues from a wide variety of perspectives having not only spent some time in education, but also some time in the private sector,” he said after the meeting. “Being a parent, former teacher and coach, and also now running my own business in town gives me a wide variety of perspectives to look at each issue with those different lenses. That will hopefully be helpful as we analyze where the school (district) is and where we hope to go.”
Kurz, who has two school-age children, said he can sympathize with the feelings of other parents as they send their children off to school.
“I understand what it is like to entrust my children to a faculty and staff that I may or may not know well,” he said. “I also know how hard it can be when things aren't going well for my child. I also know how exciting it is to see our kids grow socially, emotionally and academically in a school that they love.” Kurz spoke of starting the current school year under the lingering shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I cannot say I fully understand how difficult the start of this year has been for you (school board) and our faculty and staff,” he said.
Kurz believes his background has him prepared to understand and help deal with the school district's multi-million-dollar budget.
“I am a financial advisor by trade. I understand municipal finance inside and out,” he said. “It is essential that we as board members become good stewards of the finances placed before us. I can help with that.”
Kurz spoke of a school district's importance to the community it serves. “I now run a business here in town and know how important and vital a school system is to develop future employees and future leaders in our community,” he said. “I know how important it is for us to continue to develop relationships with the economic and business communities to ensure we are preparing students for a future that really is out there and not one that is in our past. I can help with that.”
Kurz sounded very coach-like when he spoke of working with other board members.
“I am confident that I am uniquely prepared to be a teammate with each of you and work together through the challenges and obstacles that we face now in our present time and also work to establish clarity around a vision for the future of our district. I want to help with that,” he said.
The appointment of Kurz to the board is good until the April election in 2021. The winner of that election will serve the remaining two years of that board seat's term.
“If you are not selected tonight you are welcome to put your name in the hat for the April 2021 election,” board president Mark Bross said at the start of Wednesday night's meeting. “You are all highly qualified candidates.”
Kurz fills the vacancy created by the Aug. 14 resignation of Christinia Booth, who moved out of the district with her family. Booth, who was initially elected to the board in April 2017, served on the board for three years and four months.