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Six candidates vying for three seats on the Muskegon Board of Education in the Nov. 3 election

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MUSKEGON, MI – Six candidates are vying for three open seats on the Muskegon Board of Education in the Nov. 3 general election.

Muskegon Public Schools is one of the largest districts in the county with 3,514 registered students this fall.

School board trustees serve six-year terms and are tasked with a variety of jobs including, approving an annual budget, hire and evaluate the superintendent, and adopting policies that give the district administration direction to set priorities and achieve its goals.

Three of the candidates – Zachary Anderson, Billie Bruce and Louis Churchwell – are incumbents seeking reelection.

The other three candidate are new challengers – Kwame Kamau James, Nicholas Sima and Jonathan Witmer.

Here is some background information provided by each of the candidates:

  • Anderson, 27, attended Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and now works as a consultant. He has served on the Muskegon school board for the past six years and has pushed for transparency and accountability from the administration, he said.
  • Bruce, 77, is a Muskegon Public Schools graduate and earned her degrees from Muskegon Community College and GVSU. She has served as secretary on the Muskegon school board for six years. She is a pediatric Registered Nurse and earned a certificate for Elementary Drug Free School Zones from Concordia University.
  • Churchwell, 62, is a clinician and Group Coordinator with HealthWest Muskegon. He graduated from Muskegon Public Schools in 1977 and currently serves as the school board’s Vice President. He studied at Grand Canyon University and earned two master’s degrees: a Masters of Science in Professional Counseling, and a Masters in the field of Substance Abuse/Addictions. He is a former CEO of West Michigan Therapy, Inc. and founder of Transitional Living Center in Muskegon Heights.
  • James, 45, is self-employed and earned his associate’s degree from Muskegon Community

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3 candidates vying for 2 seats on Kalamazoo Valley Community College board

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KALAMAZOO, MI — Three candidates are hoping to be elected to two seats on the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Board of Trustees.

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Incumbents Mary Gustas and Lucinda Stinson are challenged by Scott Zondervan for the two, six-year terms on the board.

Here’s a look at the candidates:

Gustas, 67, is the executive director of the Comstock Community Center. She has served on the KVCC board since 1989 as board chair, vice chair and on the finance committee.

Stinson, 62, is the executive director of Lending Hands of Michigan and a part-time professor at Western Michigan University. She was elected to the KVCC board in 2014. She’s worked for more than 40 years as a healthcare professional and administrator and more than 20 years in nonprofit leadership. She is currently vice chair of the board and a member of the KVCC audit committee.

Zondervan is an adjunct professor at KVCC and Controller/CFO at Kalamazoo Christian Schools. He has 20 years of experience teaching business and economics at KVCC and more than 30 years as CFO at Kalamazoo Christian Schools, The United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, Park Village Pines Long-Term Care Facilities and the Kalamazoo Credit Bureau. Zondervan ran unsuccessfully for the KVCC board in 2018.

MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked about their candidacy and policy issues. See how they responded below.

Information on all state and federal races and many of Michigan’s county and local races is available at Vote411.org, an online voter guide created by the League of Women Voters.

Why are you running for a board seat? What strengths or talents especially qualify you for that role?

Gustas:

I have served on the board of KVCC