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More candidates file for school board

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Flynn wants to make meetings more accessible

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - Thirteen people filed school-board candidacies before a noon Friday deadline and will be on the November general-election ballot for residents of the Tell City-Troy Township school district.


Sherri Flynn called her bid to secure a board seat an effort "to represent the common person in our community."


A 1980 graduate of Tell City High School, she is the Tell City site director for Ivy Tech Community College. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Texas A & M and a master of business administration degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The Desert Storm veteran served for 10 years in the United States Air Force as an air traffic control officer, executive officer and chief of air traffic control landing systems for Air Training Command. She earned the Vice President Al Gore Hammer Award for Reinventing Business and attained the rank of captain before choosing to take an honorable discharge to raise her son in a civilian lifestyle.


Moving back to Tell City 1997, Flynn worked as the school-to-work coordinator for Perry, Spencer and Warrick counties before taking a position with Ivy Tech Community College, where she would manage all aspects of its operation before becoming director.


Since she was appointed to that role, the Tell City campus has increased enrollment by more than 300 percent, she boasted, and was recently selected as the Perry County Large Business of the Year for 2010.


Flynn has been active in Perry County Youth Soccer as a coach, referee and board member. She has served as a Junior Achievement volunteer and soccer-club coach at Tell City Junior High School, a school-improvement committee member and volunteer community reader at William Tell Elementary School and on the Gold Star Counseling Committee at Perry Central Community School.


Through her efforts with the Indiana State Wrestling Association, wrestlers from Japan were hosted in 2006 by Tell City community members and competed with local wrestlers throughout southern Indiana.


Flynn and her husband of 28 years, James "J.R." Flynn, have an 18-year-old son who is pursuing classes at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.


She serves on the boards of the Perry County Even Start, Tell City Wrestling Club, Perry County Transportation Advisory Committee, Tell City Census Committee and Spencer County Adult Literacy.


"I believe the school board should maintain two-way communications with citizens of the corporation," she said in written comments she provided to The News. "The board should keep the community informed of the progress and problems of the school corporation, and the citizens should be urged to bring forward their aspirations and concerns about the corporation and its schools."


She feels that parents, teachers and other community members should be allowed to voice comments at a "public open-microphone session" at every school-board meeting.


"I would vote to have school-board minutes published on the (corporation) Web site and all school-corporation job openings published in the Perry County News," she said. "I want all children to be treated equally and academic policies must be placed in writing. We have some really great kids and outstanding teachers within our school corporation who deserve our support. My main focus would be education (and) what is best for the children and the educators. Although other projects and concerns are important, nothing should be put ahead of core education."


Cole Pledges Transparency, Openness


Randall "Randy" Cole also believes the board's activities should be more accessible to the public, he said in comments he provided to The News.


"If I am fortunate enough to gain the voters' support and am elected to serve the citizens of our community," he wrote, "I pledge transparency and openness in all decisions regarding the community's school system, and I will strive to deliver the most effective, efficient system possible."


Cole is a lifelong Tell City resident and a 1973 graduate of Tell City High School. After completing degrees in business management and accounting, he returned to Tell City to establish Cole Steel Inc. with his father. The company specializes in design and construction of commercial buildings and constructed numerous structures within a 100-mile radius of Tell City.


WRC Company was established in 1979 to handle the real estate and management needs which were generated by the construction corporation. Cole was also active in establishing An Island LLC in 2007 to develop business, government and personal technology solutions for gains in efficiency, productivity and cost savings.


He and his wife of 25 years, Lisa, have three children. Two are graduates of Tell City High School and are pursuing studies at Indiana University. The third attends Tell City High School.


"Having been a student in the Tell City School system in the 1960s and 1970s, I believe opportunities exist for improvements to the current system," he wrote. "We must provide opportunities for all students to excel regardless of the fields of study they pursue. The success and quality of our school system will be confirmed through our students' academic successes."


"Additionally, we must be good stewards of our taxpayers' money," he continued, "so that an undue tax burden is not placed upon the community. These current challenges will be faced by the school system today and continue to create funding issues as the school enrollment declines and ... state funding is decreased. My unique blend of business knowledge, from commercial construction to computer technology, provides an insight to meet both student and taxpayer challenges. I believe I can work with the administration and other members of the school board to achieve improvements in all areas of the school system."


Yelland hopes to Eliminate 'Waste at the Top'


"No better task can be accomplished than to be a good parent," Sheila Yelland wrote in her submission to The News, but she feels she would be a good board member, as well.


Now the manager for Dollar Tree in Tell City, Yelland was born and raised in Tell City. She worked at retail stores in several states, and her travels will contribute to her board service, she said.


"As a parent moving into new school districts, I know what I looked for in a school," she wrote. "I would spend a half day in each school, observing and taking notes before choosing our school. I didn't want the ceiling falling in, but the looks of the building were not my priority. I observed how the teachers and students interacted. I watched how students acted between classes, I made note of how I was treated by the office staff when I came to visit the school. I wanted to know about academics and the extracurricular activities that were offered."


"I talked to people at work to find out their views on the area schools" before she and her husband of 30 years, David, decided where to purchase homes in each of the four states and the five school districts where they resided, she continued. The couple and their two sons, now grown, returned to Tell City in 2005 and she retired from her job in Wal-Mart management. The man Yelland called "the love of my life" died in 2008.


She is a 1975 graduate of Tell City High School and 1978 graduate of Purdue University.


She served as a parent-teacher association member from 1985 to 2003, and has served officer roles, including president. She's also an officer with Daughters of Isabella and a member of the Purdue Club and St. Paul Catholic Church.


"I want to give back to the school system," she said in listing her reasons for running. "I want to make a difference and make it better. I know how to manage people and a budget. I believe this county can and should operate under one superintendent."


She also wants to eliminate "the waste at the top and use the funds for the kids" and be accessible and accountable to taxpayers.
"I want Tell City to be the choice of all incoming students," she wrote, "not because of what the building looks like, but that the student will graduate and what type of education they will receive."


13 Candidates Lined Up


In addition to Flynn, Cole and Yelland, 10 candidates are vying for three school-board seats in the Nov. 2 election. Profiles of Jim Adkins, Julie Hess, Tom Holm, Larry Kleeman and Gene Ress have appeared in recent editions.


The News is seeking information from Mack Cail, Candie Kleemann, Jim Pate, Debbie Reed and Joseph Stephens for upcoming profiles, and plans to partner with the Perry County Chamber of Commerce in a candidates forum scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Schergens Center in Tell City.