Thomas, Lovelace run for school board

By Chris Eversole

All voters within the Mustang school district are eligible to vote on a school board seat Tuesday.

The election is being held as part of the primary election because it fills the seat vacated when Dr. Jim Davis resigned.

The board appointed Todd Lovelace to fill the seat until an election could be held.

Lovelace and Natalie Thomas are running for the office.

In the April 2 election, voters will fill a full term on the school board. Incumbent Chad Schroeder and Barbara Young are the candidates.

Profiles of Thomas and Lovelace are below.

Name: Natalie N. Thomas

Natalie Thomas

Age: 42

Family: Husband and three sons ages 12, 8, and 8

Related experience: I have managed multi-million dollar programs for the Air Force as well as managing a home with three young children.

I am also an advocate for children with disabilities.

Occupation: I have worked for the Air Force for 19 years and am currently a lead materials engineer and engineering supervisor.

I have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University and a master’s in business administration from Oklahoma City University.

What qualifies you?  

My oldest son is in sixth grade, and my two youngest are in third grade.

I have been a Cub Scout den leader for three years, and I enjoy teaching the scouts new things and watching them grow.

I have experience as a military wife, foster parent and a disability advocate. I believe my years of experience will be of great value to Mustang public schools.

Why did you decide to run, and what are your priorities?

We spent a few years in another district but realized it did not have the services my oldest son with autism needed.

We moved to Mustang and couldn’t believe the difference.

My son’s teachers now saw his potential and helped him succeed.

I have three children with different disabilities, and there is no school district I would rather have them in.

I want to be a part of making sure other families have the same positive experience we have.

I believe every child, no matter their diagnosis or history, has the potential to be a successful member of our community.

What are the biggest challenges facing the school district, and how would you address them?  

Since announcing my candidacy, I have reached out to the community in several forums.

The items with the most community interest were overcrowding of the high school, the increasing suicide rates and bullying.

The district needs to take another look at the population of the high school and the effects of overcrowding on the mental health and academic success of the students.

I would also like to ensure as the district grows and new facilities are built and the proper programs are in place to address the needs of all students in our community.

Name: Todd Lovelace

Todd Lovelace

Age: 45

Family: wife, Marsha, and children Brayden and Kyla

Related experience: I was appointed to fulfill the remainder of Dr. Davis’ term in August of 2018.

I also believe my occupation lends itself to related experience.

My occupation requires that I be able to see the big picture and work successfully with the different types of people – many of whom are in a crisis when I see them.

My occupation is about taking time to gather information, uncover the problem and work toward a resolution.

Occupation: Self-employed Independent Insurance adjuster

What qualifies you?

I’ve been in Mustang Public School district for more than 39 years.

I am a product of the system, graduating from Mustang High School in 1992.

I chose to remain in Mustang and raise my family here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I have been in business for nine years. I understand the importance of quality policies and the necessity of fiscal responsibility.

Why did you decide to run, and what are your priorities?

I am at a place in life where I feel I need to give back to the community that has given me so much.

I have two kids that have been raised by this community and school system.

One has graduated, and the other is at the high school.

I know the benefits of a quality school system, and I want to continue that, not only for all students but for teachers, administrators and the community.

I want to protect this quality and do what I can to listen to the parents and the staff and make it better.

What are the biggest challenges facing the school district, and how would you address them?

Two of the largest challenges facing Mustang Public Schools are funding and keeping up with growth.

Although our teachers got a well-deserved raise, more needs to be done.

As a board, we can watch over the district’s finances and send bond issues to a vote.

Along with other board members, teacher, administrators and the community, we will work through these issues to make the correct decisions.

Academics is also important to me. I will work so that we can continue to improve and meet the needs of all students at all levels.

Together with the rest of the board, we will continually look at ways to provide new opportunities to give our kids every opportunity for success.

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