Four candidates running for Dora school board
This week the Times is publishing “profiles” of the four candidates running in the April 7 general municipal election for the three seats coming open on the Dora R-III School District Board of Education. Candidate profiles for the Gainesville school board ran in the Feb. 5 edition of the Times, and candidate profiles for the Thornfield school district will run in an upcoming edition.
We sent brief questionnaires to the candidates and then edited their responses and returned the responses to the candidates for approval. Those responses are grouped here by the questions asked. Candidates’ names are shown above as they will appear on the ballot.
Terms are also coming open on the Bakersfield and Lutie school boards, the county’s three village boards (Bakersfield, Gainesville and Theodosia), the Ozark County Ambulance District and Ozark County Health Department boards and the board overseeing Public Water Supply District #1 in Theodosia. However, except for the Theodosia Village Board, the number of vacancies on those boards equals the number of candidates who have filed for those seats, and state law says elections do not have to be held in those cases. In Theodosia, because three terms are ending on the village board and only one incumbent has filed for re-election, the board will appoint two residents to fill the remaining two seats.
Also in the April 7 election, Ozark County voters will decide whether the county will begin collecting a 2.5 percent internet “use tax,” similar to a sales tax, on online purchases (see story, page 1).
Ozark Countians who are not yet registered to vote have until Wednesday, March 11, to register to vote in the April 7 election. Absentee voting opens Tuesday, Feb. 25. For more information, contact the Ozark County Clerk’s office at 679-3516.
Collins: I am a third generation farmer, living on the farm where I was raised. Needmore Church of God is my home away from home, and I am active there in anything that helps spread the love of Jesus. If I can’t be found at either of these places or at a school event, I’m probably on a trip somewhere. I love traveling and experiencing this great, big world we’re blessed with.
Martin: I live in Dora with my wonderful wife Andrea Martin and our four wonderful children, Isabelle, Jacob, Rhett and Branch Martin.
Moritz: I have been married to my wife Anya for 16 years. We have one son, AJ, who is in the third grade at Dora Elementary.
Trail: I am a 1994 graduate of Dora High School and a lifelong resident of the area. I have been married to Eric Trail, also a Dora graduate, for 23 years. We have two daughters, Makala and Taylor, and they are both graduates of Dora High School.
Collins: I am a manager and settlement agent for Mill Country Title’s West Plains office.
Martin: I am currently employed by the Howell County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a criminal investigator. I assist the prosecutors by serving criminal subpoenas, case follow-ups and locating witnesses. I am also on a federal contract that provides private security through the Department of Homeland Security throughout Missouri. In addition to these duties, I am a member of the West Plains/Howell County SWAT Team.
Moritz: I have been self-employed for 17 years. For the last 12 years, I have owned and operated a gravel-hauling business serving Dora and the surrounding area.
Trail: I am currently employed at West Plains Bank & Trust Company and serve as an assistant vice president and loan officer.
How long have you lived in the school district?
Collins: With the exception of time away during my college years, I have lived in the Dora school district my entire life.
Martin: I have made Dora/Ozark County my home for my entire life. My job requires me to travel quite frequently, and I am always grateful to return home here in Dora where I try to be as active in the community as possible.
Moritz: I have lived in the school district my entire life and would be honored to be able to sit on the Dora school board to better the community and school district.
Trail: I have lived in the Dora school district my entire life, excluding the time I spent away at college.
Collins: I am a graduate of Dora High School. I attended Arkansas State University, receiving an associate of arts degree in business while attending the Mountain Home campus and a bachelor of science degree in business management-human resource management attending the Jonesboro campus. I also hold multiple active licenses and required continuing education with the Missouri Department of Insurance.
Martin: I’m a 2004 graduate of Dora High School. After high school, I attended Missouri State University in West Plains. I later attended the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy in 2006 and graduated in 2007. In 2013, I was elected to the board of education for the Dora School District and attended the Missouri School Board Association’s essential training, which helped assist me in knowing my role as a school board member. I’m currently completing my second, three-year term on the school board.
Moritz: I am a 1997 graduate of Dora High School.
Trail: I am a graduate of Dora High School. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in accounting from Southwest Baptist University.
Do you currently have children attending school in the district?
Collins: While I don’t have children of my own, I have several “church kiddos” and family members of all ages who attend school in the district. As a lifetime resident and an incumbent board member, my dedication and support are to all children and patrons of my hometown, regardless of whether I have my own children.
Martin: All four of our children attend classes in Dora. Isabelle is my fifth-grader and Jacob is my third-grader while Rhett and Branch attend pre-school classes.
Moritz: We have one son in the Dora school district. His name is AJ, and he is in the third grade.
Trail: I currently do not have any children in the school system. I have two daughters who graduated from Dora High School. One is currently a senior at Missouri State University, and the other one is a freshman at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.
What characteristics do you possess or what experiences have you had that will aid you as a school board member?
Collins: I feel the moral values and ethical characteristics I possess, as well as being level-headed, are crucial in order to make unbiased and often tough decisions for our district. A wise man taught me to never sweep anything under the rug and to always be open and honest with people (even when it hurts); otherwise, you’ll eventually trip. I live my life by the rule to treat others the same way I want to be treated. These are all characteristics and lessons I use for any decision I make as a board member. As an incumbent, I find great importance being one of the voices for our patrons, ultimately seeking the best for our students and district. I have seen great strides forward in our district by our dedicated educators and the outpouring of community support. Providing our children the best education possible is of ultimate importance to me. Children learn by example, so we should always be forward focused, showing them how they can achieve anything they put their mind to and work hard for.
Martin: The experience I hold from my previous two terms of service assist me as a board member, as does my personal experience attained while growing up as a Dora Falcon. In every meeting, without exception, I put the welfare of our students, our faculty and school as a whole in high regard. I want our students and faculty to be learning and working in a safe environment, as well as striving for a great learning experience. There is a needed balance for our children to be successful. I’m very proud of our community and school district as a whole.
Moritz: As far as characteristics and experiences, I have successfully established and maintained a business. I am exposed to and work with the public on a daily basis. With owning and maintaining a growing business, one deals with the public under numerous situations and conflicts. While maintaining a position on the school board, one will often deal with situations where an individual needs prior knowledge about how to deal with and handle situations in order to reach a positive outcome for all parties in the situation at hand. I believe the board could use a fresh perspective from someone who believes in education first for all children equally.
Trail: As a business professional for the past 20 years, I have learned the value of open communication and problem solving. Being a resident of Dora my entire life, I have an understanding of small communities and the fact that the school system is the heart of it and keeps the community connected. Currently I have two children attending college, and I understand the importance of obtaining the correct curriculum to help prepare the students to move to the next level and succeed. I also worked with previous school boards in the past as an auditor for a CPA firm, so I understand the finance side and feel that I will be an asset to help manage the budget. If elected, I believe my open-minded personality will allow me to help the teachers and students to get what they need to be successful.
What are the biggest strengths of the school district?
Collins: The biggest strengths of our district are our dedicated teachers and staff, as well as the support of the community. They stand behind our programs and support our tax levy. Dora School is the heart of our community; we know the importance of working hard to keep it together.
Martin: I think one of Dora school’s greatest strengths is our community. Our community has a very close relationship with the school. It’s amazing to see the community come together for the betterment of our students and staff – from Roy’s Store donating pizza to our Hunka Hunka Club to inspire kids to essentially read more to acquire more AR points to Craig Mayberry and Phillip and Becky Smith helping our Ag Department to Terry Newton, Jay Smith and Pepper Martin volunteering their time to raise money with RAD (raffle auction dinner) Nite, the support runs deep.
Moritz: One of our school’s biggest strengths is that we are a small district with a low student-to-teacher ratio, which in turn allows each student to have more one-on-one time with their teacher, creating a better learning environment than some of our larger neighboring districts.
Trail: Our community! Dora has a wonderful, close-knit community that supports the school and the students in every aspect. Our school district is very fortunate to have this backing to allow for the appropriate funding by voting for a tax increase when necessary and always drawing large crowds for fundraisers and benefits. If elected, I want to make sure that the community feels they have a voice and knows how important they are to our school district.
What are the biggest weaknesses of the district, and how do you think they can be improved?
Collins: The biggest challenges for our district are similar to other districts, funding and keeping up with necessary improvements to maintain a safe and functioning campus. Since most funding is generated by local and state authorities, the best way to improve these weaknesses is to make the best of what we have to work with, not be wasteful and tighten the belt where necessary.
Martin: I think as a district we are continually striving to look for opportunities to improve our school system, even though some of those bigger opportunities may be offered to bigger schools throughout Missouri.
Moritz: As far as weaknesses within the Dora school, it is much like anything else in life, there is always the need for improvement. To find areas where we could strengthen the school, we need to first talk with our parents and discuss any issues or concerns they may have. We are a village, and parents, school employees and the school board must work together and communicate in some areas to ensure we are meeting the needs to areas in the sense of academics.
Trail: I feel like our school district is in a very good place right now. We have had good management over the last few years, and this has allowed us to become a strong district. I hope to continue the advanced curriculum that we offer so students can be prepared for the outside world by making sure they have the right college and vocational classes available to them. I also believe that having as many extracurricular activities as possible is important in our small community to keep the kids busy and help them build character and strong friendships outside of the classroom.
In what ways do you support the Dora school district?
Collins: I actively support as many school functions as my schedule allows, including but not limited to FFA, FCCLA, choir/band concerts and athletic events. I do my absolute best to be at anything and everything Dora School related. During my service on the board, I find myself fortunate and blessed to take part in the decision processes for the addition of our FEMA shelter and FFA barn, completion of our middle school, renovation of our school library and being part of the team dedicated to keeping an updated campus and bus fleet, as well as maintaining an appropriate levy.
Martin: We support the school by attending sporting events and a wide range of school functions including anything from fundraisers to open house. This fall, Brett Mitchell, our elementary principal, advised me that he had come across a water-bottle filling station that could be attached to the current water fountains in our school’s hallways. He said the fountains could reduce the risk of sickness spreading throughout the school while allowing kids more accessibility to drinking water throughout the day. After Mr. Mitchell advised that the project to install the fountains had been improved, I contacted Arvest Bank about possibly getting water bottles donated to the school. Arvest not only donated water bottles for the students but for the faculty as well. Other volunteer duties I’m involved with include acting as a “stand-by” in case the FEMA building needs to be unlocked for the community to access during a weather emergency or natural disaster.
Moritz: I am a proud supporter of the Dora school district. My wife and I attend most school functions and donate to school fundraisers. I assist and sponsor the youth baseball team and assure every child gets the opportunity to be a part of the team.
Trail: I have always been a big supporter of the Dora School and community. I currently serve on the Dora Community Foundation, which helps raise money to aid in the educational needs of the school. I have also been a member of the Dora Booster Club for 10-plus years and have helped with fundraisers for the sports programs. I try to attend as many of the school functions as possible and show my support to the students and school.