The Richmond Register

October 20, 2012

Madison County School Board candidates - Part 2

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

MADISON COUNTY — This is the second of a two-part series of school board candidate profiles, the first of which published in Friday's paper. Next week, the Register will feature candidate profiles for the Richmond City Commission, Berea City Council and state representatives from

districts 36, 73 and 81.

Educational districts one, two, four and five will be on the ballot Nov. 6.

Kathie J.R. Bettler is running against incumbent John Lackey for the first district. Bill Phillips, Jimmy Allen and Greg Mayo are running against Becky L. Coyle for her second-district seat. Mary J. Renfro is competing with incumbent Christopher L. Hager for the fourth-district position. Debbie Secchio and Robert. G Stephens are running for Beth Brock's seat in the fifth district.

After several attempts, the Register was unable to reach Greg Mayo for an interview.

In general, boards of education in Kentucky consist of five members. Members are elected on a nonpartisan ballot in even-number years.

Member serve four-year terms — staggered so that the terms of not more than three members of a local board expire at the same time, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

First district

This district consists of the North Richmond-Arlington, Breck, Rosedale, West Richmond, College, Greenway, North Richmond-Keeneland, North Richmond-Saratoga, Killarney, Watertower and Deacon Hills precincts.

Second district

This district consists of the Dillingham, McCreary, Kavanaugh, College Hill, Waco, East Richmond, Moberly, Brassfield Bearwallow and Francis precincts.

John Lackey (1st District)

John Lackey is completing his first four-year term on the school board.

If elected for a second term, he hopes what he has stood for “in the form of fiscal responsibility and shifting money from certain priorities to other priorities” that are more “student useful,” will be looked at with more seriousness, he said.

Lackey would like to see more money spent “at the site-based council level” to reduce class size, he said, especially in high schools.

He also supports some restraint on spending for technology and administration, he said.

Kathie J.R. Bettler (1st District)

Kathie Bettler is a retired educator with 36 years of experience. She taught French, Latin and theater at Madison Southern High School. Both of her children attended schools in the district, she said.

“I think my children are successful because of their education,” Bettler said.

Bettler is the owner of the Spotlight Acting School, a theatre school for all Madison County children ages four to 18. She also volunteers as a teacher at St. Mark Catholic School and teaches Drama to pre-kindergarten students at LaFontaine Preparatory School, both in Richmond.

“Even though I was ready to stop full-time teaching, I still wanted to be involved,” she said.

Bettler is a “strong believer in financial conservatism and curricular and extra-curricular education,” she said. “I would like to see us produce well-educated and strong leaders.”

Jimmy Allen (2nd District)

Jimmy Allen has been involved with education his entire life, he said.

Allen worked for Madison County Schools a total of 27 years as a teacher at Daniel Boone Elementary and as a coach and assistant principal at Madison Central High School. He retired and then returned to work in Central Office as an attendance advocate for six years.

“I like kids and I like working with them — I just thought I would stay in it a bit longer,” Allen said.

Allen said he knows the school system very well and is familiar with many of the personnel. But, his primary reason for running is due to his concern about “the handling of finances,” he said.

“I'm a novice where finances are concerned,” he said. “But if elected, that's what I will need to get a handle on.”

Becky L. Coyle (2nd District)

Becky Coyle is completing her third term on the school board. Coyle has been a manager at University Book and Supply for 30 years.

“I think what we've been doing is very progressive,” she said. “There are changes in technology that are changing the ways we have to teach.”

Coyle believes technology “is not a luxury,” but a way for students to move forward, she said. “And we've got to move with them.”

Her 12 years of experience will benefit the board because she will have a better understanding of the new ideas, concepts, teaching methods and software that are presented to them, she said.

“Being on school board is an on-going process. You have to learn the terminology and you have to know what questions to ask,” she said.

Coyle said she will continue to be a voice for families and students and will represent them if elected.

Bill Phillips (2nd District)

Bill Phillips is the dean of the College of Education at Eastern Kentucky University and has more than 35 years of experience in public education, he said. He is a certified teacher and has worked in schools.

“I want to make sure we have the best facilities, best teachers and best technologies in our schools,” so that “every child can maximize their potential,” said Phillips, who has had both children and grandchildren benefit from public schools.

“The main thing I want is a great teacher in every classroom, a great environment for students and to use the latest technology,” he said.