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McKown wants to bridge gap between board, community

Editor’s note: this article continues a series to profile each candidate running for Excelsior Springs City Council and the Excelsior Springs Board of Education.

Excelsior Springs residents Thomas Shue and Carl A. Harper filed to oppose incumbent Brent McElwee in his quest to retain his currently held seat of the City Council.

Challenger Kalyn Goode will oppose incumbents Darren Mc- Kown and Tray Harkins for the school board. The election will be held April 2.

As his first term on the Excelsior Springs Board of Education comes to a close, one man seeking re-election said he strives to act as a liaison between the board and the community.

Darren McKown said he always tries to speak of bridging the gap existing between the school board and many

Darren McKown

Excelsior Springs residents. He said no matter what decisions the board makes, there seems to be a communication problem in getting the message out to the community. McKown said he encourages anyone to bring any questions or concerns to the board.

“I’m not afraid to talk to anyone in our district and if I don’t have the answer, I strive to try to help find it or point you in the right direction of whom you need to talk to,” he said.

During his three years on the board, McKown said he stayed involved in the process of finding a new superintendent after David Lawrence announced his retirement. He said he described hiring Dan Hoehn, the current superintendent, as a big process.

During this term, the board made changes to the teaching and administration staff. He said they have been trying to draw good teachers to the area and keep them here.

“Our kids deserve the best and I strive to try to do that as much as I can,” he said.

He also served as the board’s delegate to Missouri School Board Association and said he brought the information learned at the state level back to the community.

McKown said he also became involved with Proposition A, the board’s current bond issue, since the beginning. The board began on the preliminary planning for the bond when he first began his term, he said. Hopefully, McKown said, the bond issue will pass and the district can build their new elementary schools.

McKown said he cares about the community where he resided all his life. He chose to raise his family in Excelsior which he said gives him a greater reason to do what’s best for all the district’s students.

“Currently, I have a nine-month-old daughter, so I have even higher stakes in the game.,” he said. “So I’m excited to be giving our kids the best district that we can because my daughter isn’t too far away from going through school herself.”

McKown said he finds serving on the board of education to be an honor. Not everyone gets the opportunity to serve his community in this manner, he said, and he hopes he can continue.

“It’s a true honor for me to be able to do it,” he said. “I’ve met so many great people and had such great support these first three years. I want to carry that on through and continue to do the best for our kids and our district that I can.”

By Kimberely Blackburn • kimberely@leaderpress.com

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