The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 28, 2011

Four compete in Webb City School Board race

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Webb City School Board in the April 5 election.

Three incumbents — Jeanne M. Newby, William Roderique and David E. Collard — are seeking re-election. Also seeking election to the board is Stephen Gollhofer, a former longtime teacher, coach and administrator in the Webb City School District. Each seat carries a three-year term.

Fiscal management and keeping the district on the course it is on are common themes among the candidates.

“It’s something that I thought about at the point I was retiring,” said Gollhofer, 55, who retired last year after working more than three decades for the Webb City School District.

He had spent the past 20 years at the high school and had been its principal since 1995. Before his time at the high school, he spent 12 years at Webb City Junior High School, teaching social studies and coaching football, basketball and track.

“I’ve been a part of that school district for 32 years,” he said, adding that he is running to help it “remain successful.”

“I just want to support the programs that they are doing already,” he said, highlighting his background as a teacher, coach, administrator and parent, and his understanding of school finances. This marks the first time he has sought elective public office.

Newby, 60, is a graduate of Webb City High School who is seeking a fourth consecutive term on the board after first winning election in April 2002. She previously served on the board from 1990 to 1993.

As a writer for the Webb City Sentinel for more than two decades and a community historian, Newby said she is seeking another term because she loves “being a part of (the) community.”

Newby said “mostly right now we are focusing on economic crunches” when asked about key issues the district will face in the coming years.

Fiscal management also is a point of emphasis for Roderique, 42, an accountant and the president of the firm Baker Davis & Roderique. Roderique, a graduate of Webb City High School and Missouri Southern State University, said the coming years financially will “present some great challenges” for schools like Webb City.

Roderique is seeking a seventh term on the board.

“I’m enjoying it, and I feel like I still have something to offer the school district,” he said, noting that he has children in the district.

Collard, 59, is running for his eighth term on the board. He is manager of the Farm Bureau’s operations in Southwest Missouri and also raises cattle.

Collard says he wants the district to continue to improve test scores, keep down class sizes and “stay ahead of the curve” in terms of buildings.

“It has been very good,” he said of the district’s record with bond issues and buildings.

The district has community breakfasts twice a year at which school officials spell out the district’s needs. That practice has helped, Collard said.

Of past bond issues, he said, “We always use the money how we tell them we will use it.”

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