Interview with Kevin Linear, incumbent for the Macon R-1 School Board

by Benjamin C. Nelson

MACON, MO -- The Macon Home Press interviewed Kevin Linear who is an incumbent looking to be re-elected to the Macon R-1 School Board. Mr. Linear has served on the board for three terms since 2011 (nine years total). 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.)

KEVIN LINEAR: "I’m Kevin Linear, 56 years old and have been a resident of Macon since 1990. My wife, Mary, is the director at the Community Child Development Center and we have one child, MyKel, a sophomore, currently attending Macon R-1. I retired in 2017 after 26 years and 9 months with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I am a 1981 graduate of Bowling Green High School and attended Hannibal-LaGrange College (now University)."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "I am running to continue the common sense approach to decision making in doing what is best for our students and faculty. My end goal is to work with the six other board members and administrators to keep the district moving forward."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "The most pressing issue facing the district is how to effectively educate our students should we have to instruct online."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "The fact that our campus (K-12) is in one location makes us somewhat unique. Until this year, you could go from the elementary to the career center and not have to go outside!"

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "Schools will need to invest in technology to be able to put devices in the hands of those students who need them.Also, teachers will need to be trained in the area of online instruction."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "We learned that being prepared to instruct online is of utmost importance."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "As compared to when school closed down in March, I believe the district is better prepared now. It’s hard to predict exactly what “adequate” is because technology changes almost as quickly as it’s rolled out."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "As a board member I’m going to trust our administrators to find the best online resources for not only our students and teachers but parents as well"

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)

KEVIN LINEAR: "Because of the unpredictability of COVID-19, we as a district need to have a plan in place for online instruction. That plan includes training teachers and educating parents so that they succeed along with the students."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "I will bring the same common sense approach that I’ve been serving with. I bring the experience of having served the district through several administrators and seeing what a good superintendent can do for a district and community."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "At this point I don’t see a need to re-write the description of the Macon School Board. The role of any board is to oversee without micromanaging. We have to be good stewards of the districts’ funds and make decisions based on needs rather than wants."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "We could use more parking in the front."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "As a board, unless it is brought to us either by the administration or direct communication from our patrons we don’t know the extent of mental health and student bullying issues. Every accusation should be thoroughly investigated, first by building administrators Could we be doing more, probably, but first we need to know what the issues are. As far as cyber-bullying goes, the school handbook covers that. The board will deal with that when it reaches that level, according to school policy."

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "I believe that question can be better answered by the faculty and staff. If there is something more that they need from the board they have to let the board know exactly what that is."

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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "Those are currently at the legislative level. When that decision is made they will be looked at and discussed as an entire board."

*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?

KEVIN LINEAR: "It means proudly wear you BLACK and ORANGE and striving to be the best in all that you do!"

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

KEVIN LINEAR: "In closing, I would like to wish the best of luck to the others candidates. To everyone else, your vote would be greatly appreciated and please STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY!"

*(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 Kevin Linear alongside his wife and son