Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jeff Koch elected board president, Banwart to serve as vice president

After proving for more than five hours, that he could bring people together, newly-elected Joplin R-8 Board of Education member Jeff Koch unexpectedly found himself as the new board president.

The election of Koch as president and second-year board member Lynda Banwart as vice president came near the conclusion of a five-and-a-half-hour open session which featured three 3-3 votes for Debbie Fort for president and three for Banwart.

Randy Steele, who has been on the board since 2008, had originally said he was interested, but indicated he changed his mind over the weekend. After word of that got out, Banwart said she received phone calls asking her to seek the position.

In what turned out to be a riveting exchange, both for those who were in the audience and those who watched it on television or online, Fort and Banwart presented their views on why they wanted to be president.

Fort stressed her educational experience and her ability to work with people as teams. Banwart described herself as "a mediator.:

In an effort in that direction, Banwart suggested that a temporary president be elected, a position in which she was willing to serve, so that whoever is selected to replace Lane Roberts, whose resignation was officially accepted tonight, will have a voice in selecting the president. The other five board members said they thought it was important to choose a president tonight and not leave the public thinking that the board of education was going to be dysfunctional.

In the midst of the back and forth, Board Attorney Norman Rouse, a long-time Jasper County assistant prosecuting attorney, said, "I feel like I'm back at a jury trial and we have a hung jury."

In a revealing exchange, Fort asked Banwart, "What can I do to make you have confidence in me?"

Banwart responded, "I see you not being able to work with other people." She said she had problems with times when Fort was questioning Superintendent C. J. Huff's top administrators and that Fort had forced Huff into attacking her because he is "very protective of his leadership."

With each vote, Randy Steele and Mike Landis sided with Banwart, while Koch and Jennifer Martucci sided with Fort.

Koch, who served in the mediator role during the discussion, said it was going to need to be either Fort or Banwart who stepped aside.

In the end, it was Banwart who suggested Koch as president with herself as vice president. She made the motion for Koch as president, which was quickly seconded by Steele, and then passed 6-0.

Seconds later, the same vote was repeated for Banwart as vice president.

(Photo: Jeff Koch takes his seat as president of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education.)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bet CJ is THRILLED!

Anonymous said...

I guess what the people wanted didn't matter

Anonymous said...

Very interesting turn of events....

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Koch is President.
He's a good leader
Lynda Banwart is hardly a mediator. She's gone along with every agenda item.
Hopefully she can get her act together and start making good on her campaign promises of affecting change - she talked the talk but can she walk the walk?

ALANA MADDOCK said...

CJ inappropriately steps in again and at a public meeting gets very personal. How much more does this man have to do to make people see he is in need of being shown the door. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

CJ again demonstrated a lack of judgement by berating Debbie Fort in a public meeting. He needs to be removed as superintendent/

Anonymous said...

Koch, okay.
Banwart, NOT!

Anonymous said...

That's kind of impressive. If the Huff side feels like they can work with him, then I'm impressed at his facility for leadership. That is what a true leader does, they build.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Koch may be the best choice anyway. He doesn't have a history with the Board so maybe the others will be more likely to have an open mind. Well okay, not Mikey whose mind is lost somewhere up CJ's rear end.

Anonymous said...

Perfect, why are Fort and Martucci spending so much attention to texts during the meetings?

Anonymous said...

That 6-0 vote for the assessment program was a stab in the back to taxpayers and to teachers. i guess they like making little kids cry in order to get data that isn't even accurate? And now Sarah has a tool to evaluate teachers from a distance without knowing squat about what is really going on in any room. How will they make this equitable with teachers whose classes aren't tested? I now have little confidence that things will get better. That Banwart is still working for CJ and the others can be swayed so easily is cause for despair. He should have been fired for his unprofessional behavior with his Facebook posts. Tonight was just as bad. R8 is a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

Teachers got the shaft tonight. Good job, new Board members. Glad we supported you. Won't make that mistake again.

Anonymous said...

C.J should not have even been in the room, during presidential seating.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant move, and they didn't even see it coming.

Anonymous said...

CJ's sure has got some big gonads to personally attack Fort in the public meeting. One of these days it's going to cost him. And pinhead Landis calling her out about her social media "likes," when CJ just went through a social media debacle before the election. What an arrogant pinhead!

Anonymous said...

What's up with Fort and Martucci staring at their phones? Is the board meeting not important enough or do they need that much help to ask an intelligent question?

Anonymous said...

8:43 Could you elaborate on how teachers lost out tonight? Just curious, not trolling.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's appropriate for any board member to be texting during a meeting. Mike Landis is the last person who should say anything since both he and C.J. do the same thing at nearly every meeting.

Anonymous said...

I was baffled by Banwart. Dr. Fort can't work with people because she asked questions about policy and spending issues and it upset CJ. Come on Linda - that is what you signed up for. You are supposed to ask questions and make the best decisions for the district. CJ's "feelings" should not be a concern, the educational success and financial restoration of the district are.

Anonymous said...

As for texting during meetings, it shouldn't occur unless it's some kind of family emergency. But inappropriate comments between CJ and Landis about other board members during meetings should also be stopped. Landis' childish and immature behavior is only surpassed by CJ's.

Anonymous said...

Jeff is the true leader in this group.
If Banwart had been elected as President, she would have been Anne Sharp all over again

Sigh ... It's always unsettling when another woman blames the victim - poor poor choice of words Banwart
By publicly telling Debbie Fort it's HER fault for bringing Huffs wrath down on herself , you are alienating voters- especially empowered women.

Tsk tsk

Anonymous said...

@8:41 and 8:43:
Were you at the meeting? I was there and there were about 15 teachers in attendance who were all in FAVOR of the new testing. If you are so against it why weren't you there to say so? Nobody wants additional testing but this program is supposed to replace current testing and be much more efficient. One teacher said that she could do in one day with this test, what the current test takes her 2 weeks to do. So maybe research and get the facts before you complain. And for the record, Koch and Martucci and Fort and Banwart asked many questions and raised concerns over implementing another testing program but all teachers in attendance argued that they really want this test - the Board members would have looked petty had they not voted for it when every teacher there was saying how useful it would be.

Anonymous said...

6:32 AM: Your arguments sound good, but I note that any teachers who didn't approve of the new testing system and wanted to keep their jobs wouldn't have spoken at the board meeting against it.

We'll have to see if the new tests take 1/10 the time; that would address one of the two biggest complaints about the current testing system, the other being teaching to the test.

Anonymous said...

If you listened to Jill White's response when asked if her teachers would be for this new assessment, she DIDN'T answer affirmatively. She said they would support whatever the board decided.
The test they agreed to purchase is computerized. Get ready folks. That means teaching the kids how to take a computer test. 21st century or not, that test, ANY 'standardized' or computer test will not give you accurate information for young students. Teachers will still need something that actually gives them the information they need to teach.
Did you listen when they were asked about the DRA test? They said it gave them information they needed even though it took a long time.
Could this be something that should only be used in upper grades?
The few, select teachers and the room full of Huff/Besendorfer selected principals do not make a group of people one should trust to endorse anything. The only one there that I would listen to is Dr. Gilbreth.