Interview with Greg Bruno, candidate for the Macon R-1 School Board

by Benjamin C. Nelson

MACON, MO -- The Macon Home Press interviewed Greg Bruno who is looking to be elected to the Macon R-1 School Board. There are three positions on the June 2nd ballot and voters within the district will have six candidates to choose from. The candidates for the Macon R-1 School Board are Carrie Bergfield (Incumbent), Bill Noyes (Incumbent), Kevin Linear (Incumbent), Eric Brown, John Wiggans, and Greg Bruno.

QUESTION #1: Introduction (tell me about yourself, bio, jobs you have held, school, college, etc.)

GREG BRUNO: "My name is Greg Bruno and I am a candidate for the Macon R-1 School Board. I am a lifelong resident of Macon. Growing up on a farm, my father worked for AECI. I graduated from Macon R-1 in 1989 and graduated with a Criminal Justice degree in 1993 from UCM. I have been employed with American Family Insurance for the past 27 years. Misty, my wife of 18 years, relocated to Macon when her father was transferred here with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. She later graduated from Hannibal-Lagrange University and has been teaching at Macon R-1 for the past 15 years. We have two daughters, Emma and Ella, in high school and a son, West, in elementary school. Participation in the community is important to me. Some of these activities include coaching for the Macon Baseball Association and Macon Youth Football, Macon Knights of Columbus, served on the Macon Electric Cooperative Board, and volunteering with the Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart Churches."

QUESTION #2: Why are you running (consider this your elevator pitch you would give someone if you were stuck in an elevator for 1-2 minutes)? What is your end goal as a potential board member?

GREG BRUNO: "While passionate about making a difference and giving back to others through public service, I am running for the Macon R-1 School Board to help ensure that there is a consistent and logical voice. My experiences give me a unique perspective on leadership, and with that I will seek the knowledge and expertise of our district's employees and employee groups whose services are essential as well as letting the voice of the public be heard in order to be effective and efficient in the years and decades ahead. I am prepared to tackle the quality-of-education, equity, and fiscal challenges facing us and represent a broad range of interests."

QUESTION #3: What is the most pressing issue facing the Macon R-1 School District?

GREG BRUNO: "The recent pandemic has provided everyone with the opportunity to make improvements. One of the most pressing issues facing the Macon R-1 School District at this time is technology. I'd like to see local internet providers working with our school system in order to help provide services to our community to meet those needs. Every student needs the opportunity to have this service in order for online education to work consistently if needed for certain circumstances."

QUESTION #4: What makes our district unique compared to others?

GREG BRUNO: "I feel that Macon R-1 is unique. What sets us a part from the rest are the students and teachers. When students graduate, they have been given a top-notch education and are provided the tools to be successful and college and career ready."

QUESTION #5: In a post COVID-19 World, what do districts need to do in preparation for the next global pandemic?

GREG BRUNO: "In regards to our current global pandemic situation, we are facing a unique challenge. It is my hope that in the days to come we can all get back to business as usual. With that being said, all required guidelines from the state and federal governments needs to be seriously reviewed to meet our needs at Macon R-1."

QUESTINO #5A: What is something you think we have learned while navigating COVID-19? (The biggest lesson)

QUESTION #5B: Do you think Macon R-1 is prepared for more online instruction? Do you think we have adequate resources for online instruction for long periods of time?

QUESTION #5C: What online resources could you as a board member, advocate for (not only for teachers, but also students and parents)?

QUESTION #5D: If you are re-elected or elected, what is something you think the board/district needs to prepare for as we head into the Fall Semester of 2020? (A possible return from COVID-19)

GREG BRUNO (answer for questions 5A-5D): "With the addition of various software systems, the school will be able to build a digital learning environment to meet the learning needs. I feel that Macon R-1 can be prepared for more online instruction if the technology/internet needs are met. If students do not have access to a device, then one needs to be provided. If the instruction is explained as ¨required¨ and not ¨enrichment¨ this will become the new norm depending on state mandates."

QUESTION #6: What will YOU bring to the school board? What sets you apart from others that are running?

GREG BRUNO: "Having a strong belief that the public education is important, I believe I can add an array of elements to the board. I communicate well with others, have the ability to make those tough decisions, and I am willing to devote time and energy to this position."

QUESTION #7: If you could re-write the description of the Macon School Board, in one paragraph, what do you think the role of a school board should be in a district?

GREG BRUNO: "The written description that is in place for the Macon R-1 School Board is efficient. It comes down to the individual board member and their ability to complete their duty in order to carry out the policies presented."

QUESTION #8: With numerous improvement projects being completed throughout the district in the last year (or more), what is an area of our district that could use more improvements?

GREG BRUNO: "Making improvements to the school district that is deemed essential is something I will definitely be supportive of. I want to be part of a board that is known as being good stewards of the district’s money. These improvements need to be explained in great detail to the taxpayers of Macon. One issue that seems to be constant is safety. These plans and changes need to be ongoing."

QUESTION #9: Do you think the district is adequately handling mental health, student bullying, etc.? What could we be doing more; what could we be doing to make us stronger in those areas? What involvement do you think a school board should have with cyber-bullying?

GREG BRUNO: "Topics including mental health and bullying are extremely important. While the district has guidelines put in place, there is always room for improvement."

QUESTION #10: What could we be doing more to support our faculty and staff?

GREG BRUNO: "Improvements can be made in order to better aid the faculty and staff by having better communication on all levels and providing the resources that is needed to complete a job on individual basis."

QUESTION #11: With Bible Literacy and LGBT+ Curriculum proposals in Jefferson City being a reality, what is your view on those proposals in relation to the Macon R-1 School District?

GREG BRUNO: "As a Christian, I support Bible literacy curriculum as an “elective” within the district."

*See reporter's note below in reference of the proposals mentioned for Question 11*

QUESTION #12: In your own words, what does it mean to be a Macon Tiger?

GREG BRUNO: "Having graduated from Macon R-1 and being called a Tiger, I have a sense of pride to see my own children walk down those halls, play sports, and receive the same quality of education that I had."

QUESTION #13: Please feel free to include a closing statement or any additional information.

GREG BRUNO: "I am running for office because I believe that schools are the backbone of a community and directly impact our future. A dedicated, passionate, and experienced community leader, I look forward to working together with our community to secure quality education for all students. I would be honored to have your vote"

*(Reporter's note for Question 11: The Bible Literacy bill (Missouri House Bill 267) in reference, would give school districts the opportunity to offer an elective course to students about the historical literature of the Bible while teaching students about the influence it has had throughout history. The Bible Literacy bill gives power to the local school boards to determine if they would like to incorporate the elective course within their district. The LGBT+ proposal (Missouri House Bill 2153) has not been heard/passed by either chamber. The proposal looks to give school districts the opportunity to offer students lessons on LGBT+ history, movements, and societal contributions by members of the LGBT+ Community throughout history. The LGBT+ proposal gives local school boards ultimate say in whether or not they would incorporate the instruction into their district. The Missouri Department of Education would create curriculum for either proposal if they were to become law.)

Headline picture of Greg Bruno along with his wife, daughters, and son