Putnam City voters will decide who will fill one seat on the five-member school board when they go to the polls Feb. 12.
Incumbent Greg Juedeman will face Bren Smith for the District 2 seat.
Juedeman, 51, was appointed last year after the death of Mark Bledsoe. He and his wife, Susan, are lifelong residents of the district who attended Putnam City schools from kindergarten to their graduation at Putnam City High School. The couple's son attends Putnam North High School.
“I have a long history with PC schools,” Juedeman said. “We have always lived in the area, and I see being on the board and contributing to the community as a way to give back.”
Juedeman is an accountant at Devon Energy who graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma. He said that among his top priorities for the district is preparing students for the future.
Voters also will decide on a technology bond issue on Feb. 12.
“We have to do whatever we can,” Juedeman said. “I am a taxpayer, and I know everyone's feelings about property taxes, but we also have to do what's best for the kids and their future, and technology is going to be a big part of that future.”
Another priority for Juedeman is finding a new superintendent. Paul Hurst is set to retire this summer, and the district has begun its search process.
“This is an obvious priority for us,” he said. “I hate seeing Paul leave because he has been so great for the district and has provided the kind of leadership it needs, but I also think we can find someone to fit that bill.”
Smith, 49, is a UCO graduate who has lived in the Putnam City district since 2007 and has a daughter who is an elementary student in the district.
She said one of her biggest priorities would be to help promote the implementation of the state's common core standings that she said weave critical thinking, reading and writing into all subjects.
She said mentoring is another priority, along with making sure she stays visible in the district and is accessible to parents.
“Parental involvement is something that's critical to a district's future,” she said. “It's actually at the heart of what kids get done in the classroom with regard to the ability to read and become what God intended them to be. I'd like to see a district where parents are empowered to participate in their child's education.”
Smith serves as the educational services manager for The Oklahoman's Newspapers in Education program.
“I have been a paraprofessional teacher with kids as young as those in early childhood education all the way to adult learning,” she said. “One of the things I enjoy most is instilling the love of lifelong learning. That's something that has always motivated me and something I believe is a key to living successfully.”