School board candidates answer questions

  Prairie County voters will choose between three candidates for two seats on the Terry School Board at the May 6 election. Polls will open at 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the Terry High School lobby.

The following questions were posed to the the three candidates regarding the three-year trustee term and appear exactly as the candidates answered.


Joel Jackson
Please introduce yourself, providing family, education, work experience and other pertinent information you believe voters should know.
My name is W. Joel Jackson II. I was born and raised in Harrison, Montana. Harrison is a little smaller than Terry but the school was the same size due to consolidation. I was active in all of the clubs in school and lettered in two sports. I also coached baseball throughout high school. As student council president I was invited to attend the school board meetings where my opinion became valued. I actively participated in a mill levy to build a new grade school. In 1993 I joined the Army National Guard. In 1995 I graduated as valedictorian and then went on active duty in the Army.
While in the Army I married and had my older 3 boys Micajah, Quinten, and Kincayd. (Micajah attended kindergarten and 7th grade at Terry. Quinten attended 8th and 9th grades at Terry.) I served in anti-aircraft missiles, petroleum supply, and as the training & operations manager while in the Army. In 1997 I was injured and medically discharged from the Army.
After my service I worked as an office manager for a fire truck manufacturer in Helena and then as an insurance underwriter for Blue Cross & Blue Shield. I then attended college at Carroll for a year while driving taxing, working as a bookkeeper, and a part-time bartender to make ends meet.
In 2002 my father and grandfather sold our ranch in Harrison and purchased the old Hines place. I used my back pay as a 100% disabled veteran to buy my old house on Logan Avenue and moved to Terry in 2003. Much to my delight, I discovered my great-grandfather Pierce homesteaded in the middle of our ranch. Yes, he was the bootlegger for whom the spring was named after. 
In 2005 I remarried. My wife is Nichole Jackson, who works at AWARE in Miles City as a case worker for disabled adults. We have 3 children: Kaelin (1st grade), Liam (Pre-school), and Addistin (18 months).
I received two degrees from Dawson Community College in 2006. Around this time I took over daily management of the ranch on Cherry Creek. I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from MSU-Billings in 2008. In 2011 I received my two MBA’s in Marketing & Management from Keller Graduate School of Devry University. Currently I am half way through my PhD program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Grand Canyon University. This is psychology for groups, organizations, firms, companies, and society as a group. 
I have served on the board of directors of the American Galloway Breeders Association and was a founding member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for Prairie County. This is also my 4th year as the show superintendant for the Galloway breed at the NILE where we have our national show. Last but not least I was honored this spring to be chosen as one of the coaches for the Terry Little League.
Why are you interested in serving as a school trustee?
I have always been the type of person who felt a need to serve his community and country in any capacity I could. As someone in the community with the education, training, and experience necessary to contribute to the school board I felt it would be beneficial to the community if I serve. I had no intention to file and run a heated race. I am simply offering my services and will be honored if the voters choose me to serve.
What are the positive elements you see at Terry Schools? What are the negative elements?
           The Terry Schools are great. Our school has a friendly atmosphere, great sportsmanship, a great academic record, great employees, and some of the best teachers I have ever been around. Often small schools have trouble with teacher turn over, making our low turnover a testament to the greatness of the school. The music program, arts, and numerous other clubs are also a real asset to the school. 
The main things I worry about for the school district are the lawsuits, budgeting, hot lunch program, and common core. We need to do everything we can to insure the policies and atmosphere at our school make lawsuits a thing of the past. Budgets have always been something that requires constant attention so as to direct funds in the best way possible. This is not to say our district has been mismanaged, far from it, budgeting is just something that must always be at the forefront.  The new hot lunch program has caused problems not just here but around the nation; some schools are finding ways around the problems of waste and hungry kids. Common core is the nationalization of the education system. This will strip school districts of our ability to make educational decisions while attempting to in-doctorate our children. 
These are neither all of the positives for our school nor all the issues currently going on. I fear there would not be enough space to address everyone’s most important issues. Feel free to contact me or stop me on the street to ask me about the things that matter most to you and your family.
What attributes do you hope to bring to the current school board, if elected?
I will bring my fairness and open mind to the board first of all. I am always willing to listen to different points of view or entertain new ways of doing something. While life is not fair I believe that we should always strive to achieve fairness in everything we do. 
I will also bring my experience and education in budgeting and management to the board. I have experience in grants, bids for government grants, all phases of accounting, personnel management, and I am up to date with all the modern computer skills in business & education. 
My goal is to serve the community and hopefully leave the Terry Schools a little better than when I started. The education of our children is the most important thing for the future of our community. A good education will teach our children how to think and succeed not what to think, who to follow, or what to believe.
Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself. Feel free to call me at 989-1548 if you have any questions or comments. All residents of Prairie County are welcome to friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @lebluemeatball, message me anytime. With your vote I will work hard to become a successful and trusted board member. 


 Larry Keltner

Please introduce yourself.
· Larry Keltner, 1988 THS Alumni and father of three Terry Public school students, Halle, Dayton and Rex Keltner.
· B.S. Degree Agricultural Business Montana State University.
· I have worked in general beef production on either family commercial ranches or purebred operations. Nutrition sales for Cargill Animal Nutrition, Agriculture Business Banker for U. S. Bank and currently the Branch Manager for the Farmers Union Oil Company focusing on Agronomy and Fuel.
· Since I’ve started working in Terry I have enjoyed serving the community in many roles. I volunteer with Terry Lodge #74 AF&AM, Prairie County 4-H, Town Land Planning Board, Chamber of Commerce, Terry Roping Club and the school system whenever asked.
· I do volunteer at the Terry Community Presbyterian Church by teaching Sunday school.
Why are you interested in serving as a school trustee?
· I am vested in this school as an Alumni and parent of current students. It is my obligation as a member of this community to assist in our children’s success. I can either do that as an elected trustee or as an engaged member of the community. By being elected to the Board I can combine both tasks by being an engaged trustee.
What are the positive elements you see at Terry Schools? What are the negative elements?
       · Class/content variety, camaraderie among students, respectful student/staff relationships, and well maintained facilities
·Regular conflicts between staff and administration, legal wrangling within the court system.
· I hope to serve as a fresh ear for opposing sides to voice opinions so that an amicable solution can be reached without spending fruitless hours and thousands of dollars related to court cases. I don’t know the answer but I can find it through listening well. 
· I intend to be an advocate for the school in the state at large. Terry has always been recognized as a great school and I wish to help promote that we are still as advertised- a great school with exceptional students instructed by dedicated teachers and supported by a staunchly proud community. 
What attributes do you hope to bring to the current school board, if elected?
· I can listen. Truly listening is an active process that is genuinely effective. The answer to any question is there if you ask the right question, shut up and listen to the answers from both sides.

 Kirstin Mack

Please introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Kirstin Mack. My husband A.J. and I have raised our children in Terry for the past 10 years. We have two sons; Talon graduated from Terry High School in 2012 and now attends college in North Dakota and Shad is an 8th grader at Terry Public School. 
I work at Billings Clinic Miles City as a Radiologic Technologist. I have a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology, and currently teach courses in the Radiologic Technology program offered through Highlands College of Montana Tech. I worked with the college to get this program started in Eastern Montana as an opportunity for students in this area of the state.
I have also been a leader for the Senior High Community Youth Group for several years. I enjoy working with the kids.
Why are you interested in serving as a school trustee?
I have an interest in the future and goals of our school. We live in a community that is very committed to our youth. I feel we need to keep making positive decisions for our school. Many of these small communities are affected by the future of their school.  
What are the positive elements you see at Terry Schools? What are the negative elements?
I think we have good leadership in our school. We have administration and teachers that are committed to making a difference in students’ lives. We need to work as a team toward a common goal, and that is to give our students the opportunity for a quality education.   
What attributes do you hope to bring to the current school board, if elected?
I feel that working with students on a college level; I know how important it is to prepare our students for a college education if that is what they choose. Having management experience, it is important to have a good working relationship with your employees. While you may not agree on everything, everyone’s opinion and position matters. I would have a lot of homework to do in educating myself on the different issues our school is facing right now. We are fortunate to have the members of the board and school staff that work hard to make our school a great place to get an education.

Published April 23, 2014

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