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School Board Election

School Board Election

Six Candidates Running for Meade School Board


News Release - May 28, 2019

STURGIS, S.D. - Six candidates are running for the three seats up for election June 4th on the Meade School Board.  Running for the three 3-year terms are incumbents Curtis Johnson, Piedmont and Robert Burns, Piedmont, along with four new names to the Meade School candidate pool, John Nachtigall, Elm Springs; RJ Ludwick, Sturgis; JT Vig, Opal; and Lee Spring, Atall.  For information about polling locations and absentee voting, call the Meade School District business office at 347-2523.

Curtis Johnson has served on the Meade School Board for five years and is running for re-election because he “believes in the need to participate and make whatever contribution we are able to as our part of being a good citizen.”   When asked what some of the good things that Meade School District is doing, Mr. Johnson stated, “Supporting rural schools…We are able to provide a great educational opportunity in a rural school setting,” also stating, “We have excellent facilities district wide and are continuing to improve our buildings and plan for the future.”  Curtis doesn’t claim to come with an agenda or list of political promises, he states he believes we need to retain our high school students and do a better job of advertising the great career and technical programs we have available.  Some concerns he has include politics, mandates, funding, and technology.  When asked what improvements he would like to see in the district, he says, “I think we can improve our communication with our public because we need their support and involvement to have the best school district we can have.”  Johnson is most proud of Meade’s leadership, he references the great job our administration and school board do to make the district proud of the facilities we provide for our students.  Curtis is also a member of the Piedmont Valley Lutheran Church, co-chair of the Piedmont Valley Food Pantry, Rapid City Masonic Lodge #25, and Black Hills Scottish Rite of Masonry. 

Robert Burns has served on the Meade School Board for 10 years and held both the president and vice president positions.  Burns is running for re-election because he feels it is time to give back to the area that has given so much to his family, as his four children have attended three different schools in Meade 46-1.  Burns states, “Serving on the board over the last ten years has given me the experience and knowledge to not only understand the complexities of our school district and it’s budgetary needs, but to effectively move us forward to meet the many challenges ahead of us.”  When asked what good things Meade is doing, he answered, “Even though budget reductions have caused school closings and consolidations in other district we have kept our commitment to keep our rural schools open.” On the other hand, when asked about what Meade would improve on, Burns stated, “We need to do a better job of long term planning for growth in the district. The addition of the B-21 at Ellsworth will put long term stress on our capacity even in the new schools.”  Some of the concerns Burns cited are funding related, stating “We have raised teacher salaries but not nearly to the level they deserve or is truly competitive with surrounding states. Most of the cuts in sports and curriculum made because of the 10% reduction have not been replaced.”  Changes Burns would like to see happen include technology advancements and follow through with the Meade Fair Board and Rodeo Club proposals to expand their facilities.  Robert is also a member of Piedmont Valley Lutheran Church Council, elected chairman of the National Forest Advisory Board for the Black Hills National Forest, member of Citizens Advisory Council to the Rapid City Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

John Nachtigall is a new candidate to the Meade School Board.  John has two children that attend Elm Springs School, and he attended Lakeside for grade school, which was a Meade 46-1 rural school, and went on to attend high school in Wall.  John is a self-employed rancher and is running for Meade School Board because he feels it is his duty to help ensure a good education continues in Meade 46-1 and education is a priority.  When asked what good things Meade is currently doing, John stated, “STEM labs and technology. Also, the improvements on the infrastructure.”  Some areas that Nachtigall felt could be improved on include teacher ratio and the quality of education.  John stated he is most proud of our teaching staff.  He stated, “I feel that teaching staff cuts should not be made in order to make budgets work.”  John is currently the president of the Rural PTO and is also a volunteer firefighter in Elm Springs. 

RJ Ludwick is running as a new candidate for the Meade School Board because he values education and wants to demonstrate to his children that if you want to create change, you must be involved.  RJ’s wife Tanya is the administrative assistant for the Special Services Department in the Meade School District.  They have three children that attend Sturgis Williams Middle School and Sturgis Brown High School.  Ludwick owns No Name City Luxury Cabins & RV and coaches youth football and basketball.  When asked what good things Meade 46-1 is doing, Ludwick included improving technology, hardware, and expanding the athletic department at the high school.  Ludwick believes that the district needs to make more of an effort to help students transition from middle school to high school.  Some concerns that RJ has in education are “given South Dakota’s small population and having educational philosophies deeply rooted in tradition, we may be missing opportunities to find alternative methods of teaching children that can be far more effective.”  Ludwick is most proud that Meade has engaged teachers who genuinely care about the success of students.  RJ states that, “Members of the community should vote for me because I will represent them, listen to them, and advocate on their behalf.”

JT Vig is a self-employed rancher that is running for the Meade School Board for the first time.  JT and his wife Kelsey have a daughter that attends Opal School, and JT attended Opal School for K-8th grade.  He is running for the board because he wants to give an honest representation to the parents and tax payers.  Vig states that Meade 46-1 is doing good job taking the steps to keep the buildings and students safe.  Some areas that Vig thinks Meade could improve on are financial stability and teacher to student ratio.  JT’s concerns about education include common core, and too much federal and state government control.  When asked what Vig is most proud of in Meade School District, he stated, “our teachers.”  Vig has served on the board of directors for the Opal Volunteer Fire Deptarment and is currently the Opal Fire Chief. 

Lee Spring is a first time Meade School District School board Candidate, and is running because he feels that “every child should have the opportunity to be educated to the best of the school district’s ability, and I would like to be part of ensuring that happens.”  Spring and his wife Jamie have two children that attend Atall School.  Lee also attended Atall School for grades K-8, and went on to graduate from Sturgis Brown High School.  Spring is a 5th generation rancher on the family ranch near Union Center.  When asked what good things Meade 46-1 is doing, he stated, “The STEM labs/classrooms being installed are an exciting opportunity for investigative learning and exploration.”  Spring would like to see a higher level of financial transparency in the Meade School District.  Concerns that Spring has in education are that large amounts of local tax funds are taken into the State fund and do not come back to our local school district.  He also is concerned that there is far too much testing required of our children.  Spring states, “I would like to see every student treated equally.  I want to see the financial debts resolved, and I would like to see Meade Country’s tax funds stay in Meade County.”  When asked what Lee is most proud of, he states, “It means so much that my girls attend the same country school as I did and that my dad did.  I love that we get to ride horses to school with them on the last day before summer.”  Spring is a member of the Union Center Community Baptist Church and also volunteers with Meade County Shooters 4H Shooting Sports and rural kids basketball program.



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