With the decision of Waterloo School Board Area 2 Representative Gene Kegler to not seek re-election, voters have the opportunity to select one of the two candidates vying for his seat during the spring election. Polls will be open Tuesday, April 6 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Angela Byers-Krantz, who is self-employed, and Charles Crave, a dairy farmer and partner at Crave Brothers Farm and Farmstead Cheese, are running for the soon-to-be-vacated seat. Area 2 is comprised of the township of York and part of the area west of the Crawfish River in the town of Portland.
Byers-Krantz has experience serving in leadership positions as the current treasurer of the WYSO, president of the Friends of the Library Board for the Karl Junginger Memorial Library, and the secretary for the Town of Portland Plan Commission.
Crave has been a 4-H leader for roughly 40 years, serving on numerous committees at the county, state and national level. He’s also been involved with agricultural interests up to the national level.
Byers-Krantz and her husband, Chad, have three children, one who attends Waterloo High School and two who attend St. John’s Lutheran School.
Crave and his wife, Joni, have four children who are all graduates of Waterloo High School.
Both of the candidates were asked to respond to a series of questions, which they were not provided prior to the phone interviews.
Why did you choose to run for the school board?
Byers-Krantz would like to see the community build a better community and “that has to do with helping raise the next generation of leaders.”
“Since I am not skilled as a teacher, one of the ways I can help is by taking a supportive role on the board,” she said.
Crave feels it is important to have a representative from the agricultural community on the school board.
“I feel I have a fair amount of board experience from the related industries I’ve been involved with so I feel I can offer value to the citizens of Waterloo,” he said.
What are two of your skills or traits that will be beneficial to the Waterloo School Board and why?
Byers-Krantz said she is interested in being part of a larger team but is also driven to be a leader who wants to see things through will benefit the board.
“I’m passionate about raising this next generation of leaders and giving them the tools that they need to succeed,” she said.
The candidate said there does not seem to be much fluctuation among the board membership, which she does not see as negative, but Byers-Krantz would be able to offer a “fresh set of eyes.”
“A parent coming on the board with children that are coming up through the school system perhaps will see things differently than someone who is at the grandparent stage,” she said.
Crave said it’s not only important to learn how the board and its members function, but to really listen and contribute early on, which is how he describes his leadership style.
“An example of that would be farming with a dozen family members,” he said. “It takes patience and respect to achieve success with a dozen family members and that is what I would want to bring to the school board.”
He also prides himself on being well read; if a topic were broached by the board the candidate would make it a point to be well informed on it.
Other than the budget, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Waterloo School District and what would you do to address it?
Byers-Krantz said like many schools across the United States, Waterloo faces challenges presented by the COVID-19 restrictions. She would like to see more support given to the teachers.
“I want to make sure they are getting everything they need,” the candidate said. “That is the direct face the student body sees.”
In order to offer this support, she would like to see an open line of communication between the board and the district administration, teachers and staff.
“This is something I hope is already going on, but it’s hard to see it from the outside,” Byers-Krantz said. “If you’re not in there, it’s hard to see if everything is being addressed.”
Crave said he has not looked much into the challenging issues in the district.
“For instance, I know we’re in a beautiful position with our facilities. I know some folks are concerned about the so-called ideologies that has been put forth,” the candidate said. “We have to go at this with a knowledge base, just not an open mind, but a knowledge base and be willing to have honest, humble, heartfelt conversations.”
He would be open to hearing concerns beyond the budget from parents including challenges to curriculum and school accessibility. “Just willing to have an open ear to the parents and citizens of the community.”
If elected to the board, what would be your top two priorities and why?
“My main reason for running is to be part of that raising the next generation of leaders. We feel strongly in that,” Byers-Krantz said. “Over the last few years we’ve hosted foreign exchange students and that gives my children the opportunity to explore the world and brings the world to the Waterloo student body.”
She said one of the main things the district needs to focus on is what will happen in 15 years when the current students are holding jobs and “stepping up” by filling boards or else it will go by the “wayside.”
The candidate’s second priority would be giving a voice to parents who feel similar to Byers-Krantz “because everyone should be represented.”
Crave said his priority is to go into the position with an open mind.