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First of three parts: Meet your school board candidates

(Publisher’s note: this is the first of three stories about the four candidates who are running for the Chelsea Board of Education. The series begins today and concludes on Friday.)

About 30 people filled the Washington Street Education Center board room Tuesday night to hear the four Chelsea Board of Education candidates introduce themselves and answer a series of questions about their candidacies.

Sponsored by the Chelsea Education Foundation, the forum showcased Laura Bush, Dana Emmert, Kathy Keinath and incumbent Steve Olsen, who are running for two 4-year seats on the board in the November general election.

Laura Bush

Bush has three children in the school district and moved to Chelsea in 1997. She’s the wife of Brad Bush, the varsity football coach, and is a nurse. She said, “I’ve always wanted to help kids and looks forward to being a part of it (the school board)” during her opening statement.

Emmert graduated from Chelsea High School, Michigan State University and the University of Hawaii for post graduate work. She has four children in the school district. She said during her opening statement, “I’m really excited to continue my involvement in the schools.”

Keinath, an engineer and small business owner, said she moved to Chelsea in 1997 and has two children in the school district. She said, “I’m very, very happy with the schools, and I look forward to offering any expertise I can,” during her opening statement.

Olsen, an attorney who lives in Freedom Township, is the current president of the school board and has served on the board since 2004. The Vietnam veteran with one child in the school district said, “I believe I’ve done a good job so far, and I’d like to continue for another four years,” during his opening statement.

Dana Emmert

The candidates were asked a number of questions that ranged from why they chose to run for school board to their thoughts about Schools of Choice during the hour and a half forum. This is part one of their answers.

Keinath said her primary reason for running was, “I am very, very passionate about education and have a great belief in public schools.”

Kathy Keinath

She said she thought the city’s schools were very good at providing students with an education and she’d like to be a part of the “basic structure and policies that will allow administrators to manage and teachers to teach,” adding that she wanted to continue the district’s “strong and stable financial situation.”

Emmert said she chose to run because “I care and I have four kids in the schools. I’m active in the PTO and in the classrooms and I have time to do more.”

Bush said she’d thought about running for the board in the past and decided to do so this time because “we have enjoyed a great community and school district with great academics, athletics, arts and music and I want to be a part of it.”

Steve Olsen

Olsen said, “We have a pretty good Board of Education. We listen to each other and we are respectful of each other. The composition of that board is important. We have a new superintendent, a rookie superintendent, and I want to provide him with the guidance and resources he needs to help him lead the district.”

Tomorrow, the candidates tell what they enjoy most about Chelsea, what issues in the district need improvement, what talent or skill they possess that will benefit the Board of Education, and speak to safety issues.

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