There are four candidates vying for three vacant seats on the Meramec Valley R-III School Board.
Incumbents Chris Arnette, Paul Marquardt and Tim Richardson, face a challenge from Roger Wiersma, an aerospace engieer and product design specialist.
Wiersma said he is running because he wants to serve the community and believes his background can be a benefit in school district management.
Each of the three incumbents voiced their confidence in the school district and said serving on the board has been a way to give something to the community.
Here are profiles on each of the candidates:
Arnette, the longest serving member of the school board, is seeking his seventh term.
He graduated from Pacific High School and the University of Missouri at Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing.
First elected in 1996, Arnette served as president of the board from 2001 to 2006.
He said he enjoys working on the school board, and a good school district makes the community a better place to live.
“I’m a representative of the people of the district,” he said. “I’ve always strived to see that the district spends its money wisely.”
Arnette said current administrators and board members work well together.
“And that’s what it’s about,” he said. “A good district needs leaders who share a common goal and can work together.”
Arnette’s wife works for the district. Together they have five children, all graduates of Pacific High School.
“I was able to hand all five of them their diplomas,” Arnette said. “They have all gone to college. The fifth one will graduate this December. That’s what it’s all about — making sure that kids are prepared to go to college or to the work they want to do.”
Marquardt, co-manager of Queen’s IGA store in Pacific, is seeking his third term on the board.
He is a Pacific High graduate and then attended St. Louis Community College at Meramec, graduating with an applied science degree in architectural drafting.
For 20 years, Marquardt was employed at the local IGA Store, starting when it was Schneider’s IGA and ending in 1995. He was then employed at DaimlerChrysler for 15 years and joined Queen’s in 2009 after the Chrysler plant closed.
Marquardt is a member of the Father Edward Berry Council 1335 Knights of Columbus and was formerly a member of the Pacific Lions Club.
“I enjoy working with the kids and the school district,” he said. “I enjoy being the voice of the parents of the school district.’’
Marquardt said he would like to serve another term and if re-elected would work to help ensure that every student gets a quality education in a safe environment.
He also would work to maintain the quality staff the district enjoys and to ensure that all staff members are treated fairly.
Richardson, a construction contractor, has served as school board president for five years. He is seeking his sixth term.
A lifelong resident of Pacific and 1979 graduate of Pacific High School, se said he has always had close ties to people involved in education in Pacific and serving on the school board gives him personal enjoyment.
“Providing a quality education for our children is one of the most important things we do,” he said. “Serving on the school board is a way for me to do something for the community.”
Richardson said he believes the district is well run, both financially and academically, and enjoys the confidence and support of the community.
If re-elected, he would work to help guide the district through current projects, such as the expansion at Pacific High School and the academic goals of the district’s comprehensive school improvement plan.
He and his wife Kathy have two sons, Ryan and Colton, both graduates of Pacific High School.
Wiersma has lived in Pacific for seven years, and is employed at Husky Corporation as a product development engineer.
He graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering and earned a master’s degree in the same field from California State University at Long Beach.
Wiersma worked for McDonnell Douglas in California for eight years, at AP engineering, St. Paul, Minn., and Graco Engineering before joining Husky in Pacific.
Wiersma said he wants to serve on theschool board because he feels he can help in the areas of new technologies. He also is familiar with budgets and making sure that projects stay under budget and on time.
He said he has confidence in the school district and has had good experiences with his children’s teachers and principals.
“My ability to make decisions based on data might be able to help the district,” he said. “What I would like to do is to insure that I respect the community and encourage community trust in the school system.
“I would like to make sure that the district keeps local control of classrooms and curriculum,” he said.
Wiersma and his wife Deborah have five children — Luke, Isaac, who graduated from Pacific High School, and Michaela, Philomena and Gabriel, who attend Truman Elementary.