The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

Meet the BOE candidates

One year ago, Clayton residents witnessed firsthand that the phrase “every vote counts” is no joke when Prop S passed by a mere two votes. This spring, voters will once again have their voices heard in the local elections. Amongst other important issues on the April 6 ballot, including Prop W, is the election of members of the Board of Education.

Three candidates have filed for two vacant seats. Susan Buse and Robert Kerr, both one-term incumbents, seek to keep their current seats as Brad Bernstein, who served on the BOE from 1998-2007, hopes to regain a spot on the Board. Bernstein said that he has decided to run again because he has “a passion to do what’s best for all students.”

“I believe I can really make a difference,” Bernstein said. “We have a strong district, yet we need to constantly identify areas of improvement and work with the entire Board and administration to bring positive change to meet the needs of all students.”

Buse and Kerr also stressed that it is necessary to keep moving forward and adapt to changing times and challenges. Buse, who received an AB from Washington University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, has been involved in Clayton schools for 16 years. She has four children who have attended or are currently attending schools in the district and has worked on PTOs, curriculum committees and other organizations. She said that her in-depth involvement in Clayton schools distinguishes her from the other candidates.

“I think what makes me different from the other candidates is that I got to the Board because I had been inside our classrooms for so many years,” Buse said. “I have relationships that I think strengthen my ability to bring the community concerns and community goals to the board table.”

Kerr grew up in Clayton, attending Glenridge, Wydown and CHS, going on to Washington University as an undergrad and law student. He currently works at a law firm in Clayton. Kerr has two children attending Meramec and lives in Davis Place. He said that his past experience in Clayton schools acts as motivation for him to serve on the Board.

“I really feel like I got a lot out of attending Clayton schools, and they’ve benefited me throughout my whole life, and I just feel a very strong desire to give back,” Kerr said.

Kerr said that he is a pragmatic, results-oriented person who is able to agree to disagree and move on to tackle the next challenge, which he said is possibly the most important skill that a board member possesses. He also said that all of the candidates have records as board members and that his “speaks for itself.”

Though Bernstein has children in the Clayton schools, his background is different from that of the other two candidates since he is not an attorney.  He said this is part of what makes him unique and a valuable asset to the Board.

“I did lead a path unlike the other candidates or even Board members,” Bernstein said. “I went to community college, I went to UMSL, I went to Washington University, I went to medical school, I was in the Marines, I was in the Navy, I was on an aircraft carrier, I came back home, I was faculty at Washington University and now I’m the head of my own private practice anesthesia group.  I really think I’ve walked the walk in environments like no other candidate.”

Buse said that her job as a board member is to tie community values and goals to education and make them realized in the classroom. Bernstein said that he looks at his role as to “engage in active listening, asking hard questions, working with my colleagues to set specific goals and objectives for our schools, teachers and curricula.”

As for issues that the Board will have to deal with in the upcoming three-year term, all three mentioned revisions to the math curriculum.

“[The math curriculum] has been a significant source of concern for at least 12 years” Bernstein said. “Specifically in math, we really have to balance concerns of parents and teachers to provide the best outcomes for our students. I’d like to see added emphasis on challenging kids in the middle, not just those in honors. Every student at Clayton should feel confident and prepared to pursue any career field they have an interest in.”

Buse said that she thinks the community has to “come to some sort of consensus on math” and that she hopes that the community can act together and move forward. She and Kerr also said that transitioning to the new superintendent would be an issue facing the district. Bernstein and Kerr named the nutrition program as an area for improvement.  Bernstein said that he “has always felt strongly about a major reevaluation of the food service throughout the district.”

Yard signs have begun to pop up on front lawns and fliers have started to circulate, but the Buse campaign faces a unique challenge. Due to a clerical error, Susan Bradley will be listed on the ballot instead of Susan Buse.

“Unfortunately, with the mistake on the ballot, a lot of our campaigning is just to make sure that people are aware that I am on the ballot even though my wrong name is on the ballot,” Buse said. “And that’s been a real problem for us, because name recognition is key, especially because my whole family is involved in our community.”

Buse said that she filled out all of the paperwork right and that it was too late by the time the mistake was noticed, despite the district’s efforts to have it fixed.

“We discovered [the mistake] several weeks ago and Clayton, as it should have, went to court to get the Board of Elections to correct the ballot,” Buse said. “The amazing thing to me was that, even though this was February for an April election, the Board of Elections said that because of their technology, they couldn’t fix the ballot.”

Voters can still vote for Susan Buse by checking Susan Bradley, and signs will be posted at voting locations to remind voters. Buse said that the incident can be a learning experience for new high school voters as they can see the importance of being informed on what is on a ballot. She said she hopes it is a “wake-up call” to the Board of Elections.

The April 6 election will determine which two of the three candidates have seats at the board table for the next three years, but one thing is clear: each of the candidates is experienced, committed to the future and success of Clayton students and eager to serve the community.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Globe
$150
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clayton High School. Our goal is to ensure every student and faculty member receives a print copy, and that we can continue to explore interactive storytelling mediums on this platform. Your donation also helps provide us with necessary equipment.

More to Discover
Donate to The Globe
$150
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Globe is committed to fostering healthy, thoughtful discussions in this space. Comments must adhere to our standards, avoiding profanity, personal attacks or potentially libelous language. All comments are moderated for approval, and anonymous comments are not allowed. A valid email address is required for comment confirmation but will not be publicly displayed.
All The Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Meet the BOE candidates