Interview with Carrie Bergfield, incumbent for the Macon R-1 School Board

by Benjamin C. Nelson

MACON, MO -- The Macon Home Press interviewed Carrie Bergfield who is an incumbent looking to be re-elected to the Macon R-1 School Board. Mrs. Bergfield has served on the board for one term (three 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.)

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I was born in Macon, MO. My parents are Arthur and Connie Eymann. My husband, Matt Bergfield, and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage in August. We have two boys who attend Macon R-1 High School. Caleb will graduate this June and Isaac will graduate next year. I attended Macon R-1 and graduated in 1996. After high school, I attended the University of Missouri and graduated with a BSBA in Marketing in 1999. I worked in retail management at JCPenney until 2006, when I joined the University of Missouri. During my time at the University of Missouri, I completed my MBA in Management. In 2009, we moved back to Macon and my husband became the Conservation Agent for Macon County. I am currently the Vice-President of Personnel Development at Macon-Atlanta State Bank. I have served as the Secretary for the board of the Community Child Development Center, the President of the Macon County 4-H Council, the Chair and Secretary for the Macon County Extension Council. I attend First Baptist Church of Macon, where I serve in the youth group and ladies ministries. I am completing my first term as Macon R-1 School Board member."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I ran for the Macon R-1 School Board because I saw an opportunity to serve my community. I believe my education, work experience, community involvement and role as a parent make me a great candidate to represent the stakeholders of our school district. I try to carefully weigh the issues brought before the board and consider the impact to everyone involved. My end goal is the same as my initial goal, to serve my community."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I think the most pressing issue we face is keeping up. Keeping up with physical buildings and equipment, we have built new and improved existing buildings, but there are still many aging areas and building maintenance never ends. Keeping up with technology, we have invested in IT infrastructure and devices, but technology is constantly changing. We must stay current so our students have access to what they will be expected to use in higher education or in the workplace. Keeping up with compensation and benefits for employees. We must attract and retain quality teachers and staff."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "The teachers, staff, students, and community support are what makes any school district unique compared to others. The exact makeup of these individuals changes over time, but Macon has a strong tradition of community support and student success."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "In general, an event like the Covid-19 pandemic shows the need to build adaptability and flexibility in the policies and procedures of all businesses, government agencies and school districts. I was extremely impressed to see how quickly the administrators and teachers innovated ways to interact with the students and each other with little prep time. As we are still navigating this situation, we will continue to learn more lessons that will help us prepare the future."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "Access to the internet is lacking for many of our students and teachers. This will be an infrastructure improvement discussion for our state and federal government."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "We are purchasing more devices and adding internet access points to increase the number of students who can access to online instruction. We will be better prepared to offer online instruction than before the pandemic. Certain grade levels and subjects will inherently be more difficult for long term online instructions."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "We have approved a new online learning management platform call Canvas. It will pair well with the current Tyler Student Management system that is used by the teachers, students, and parents. This will be a great resource regardless of whether we are in a pandemic or not. Many occupations require continuing education and use online learning platforms. Being familiar with online learning platform will set our students up for success in their future careers"

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)

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I think it will be important to maintain continuity of instruction regardless of the mode of instruction. With the variety of predictions and assumptions of what measure will need to be taken, we must be prepared to shift our learning from classroom to online and back again as needed. As I mentioned before, flexibility and adaptability will be critical to student success."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I hope my experience in human resources, budgeting and career development are assets to the board. I earned my Senior Certified Professional certification from the Society of Human Resources Management in 2016. I can provide guidance and recommend resources in these areas."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I believe the role of a school board is to provide oversight and guidance to the administration and represent the interest and values of the community. The board should review and set policies, ensuring they meet federal and state requirements. The board should set district goals and hold administration accountable for meeting those goals."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "After we complete the current projects, the building needing the most attention is the middle school. It is the oldest portion of the school and needs major repairs and upgrades in the classrooms, gym and bathrooms."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "We have partnered with Mark Twain Behavioral Health to provide school-based mental health services. The administrators and counselors have reported that it is a great resource for the students needing access to mental health. The school has provided education to parents and students regarding cyber-bulling."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "I think providing opportunities for professional development will always be important for our faculty and staff. Attending conferences and seminars allows them to network with others in their area of study and provides access to new resources to help in the classroom."

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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "In general, I am not in favor of adding curriculum requirements beyond the core subjects of math, science, history, language arts and a fine art. I think students should be able to tailor their classes to meet the needs of their college or career goals. Many students must give up a class they need or want to take because it will not fit in their schedule."

*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?

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "As a Macon graduate, I think being a Macon Tiger means excellence, dedication, respect, and community involvement. I know my education at Macon R-1 prepared me well for my future. I am proud to be a Macon Tiger."

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

CARRIE BERGFIELD: "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as a Macon R-1 School Board member and I would appreciate your vote for a second term."

*(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 Carrie Bergfield with her husband and two sons