Meet the candidates for Mehlville Board of Education

Meet the candidates for Mehlville Board of Education
Posted on 02/22/2022
BOE Candidates 2022On April 5, Mehlville School District voters will be asked to select two Board of Education directors for three-year terms. Three people have filed candidacy. The three board candidates have provided the following responses to the district candidate questionnaire. 

Benjamin "Ben" Droney
Ben Droney

[email protected]
Occupation: Scrum Master at Charter Spectrum and US Army Reserve Warrant Officer
Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College. Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling Webster University.
Community organizations/memberships: Assistant Scoutmaster/Scoutmaster Boy Scouts of American (2001-2003), Trail Life Parent Volunteer, Veterans of Foreign Wars Member
Information about your family: My wife Julie and I chose to settle in the Mehlville District after I returned from my last military deployment in 2018. I am blessed to have four children and five grandchildren with two students attending Oakville High School.
Why did you decide to run for the school board? I am running because I believe that district parents and taxpayers have lost their voice in the education process. Parents state that even when they email board members directly, many of them don’t reply back. Mehlville is a great community that cares about its children and families, our schools are a central part of that. I want to make sure parents are not only heard by the board but are true collaborators in their children’s education.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the Mehlville School District? What do you feel are the district’s biggest strengths? We have great dedicated teachers and caring parents. Learning loss and social anxiety caused by mask mandates and last year’s school closures continues to hurt our students. Declining numbers of students proficient in English and Math will affect their success post-graduation. Helping our children and staff return to normal will allow us to focus on learning. Mehlville’s strong sense of community pride is a significant asset. Mehlville’s schools are the thread that ties us together. I believe we can harness that energy to improve student achievement and success to keep our community strong.

Scott Huegerich
Scott Huegerich

Email: [email protected]

Occupation: I am the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of a small marketing and communications company. Our clients include large scale corporations such as AT&T, Conagra Foods, Edward Jones, Enterprise, John Deere, Nestle Purina, Rawlings, Southwest Airlines, and many others.

Educational background: My entire K-12 education was through the Mehlville School District. I attended Bierbaum Elementary, Buerkle Middle School and graduated from Mehlville High School. I’m also a 1990 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Economics.

Information about your family: I have been married to my wife Kelly for 31 years. We have 3 children: Ryan, Alex and Ethan. Everyone in my family is a graduate of the district. My personal connection to the district dates back to 1973 when I first stepped foot on the bus that took me to kindergarten class at Bierbaum.

Community organizations/memberships: I serve on the Professional Advisory Council for the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Mass Media. I am also the lead organizer of the Fill Up the Pickup food drives which benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank, and the lead organizer of the MHS Class of  ’86 Scholarship fund.

Why did you decide to run for the school board? I have been a volunteer for youth and education-based organizations for the last 22 years. In addition to my current role with SEMO, I have been a scout leader, and involved with the Savannah College of Art & Design and the Grandview School District. So, serving on the board would be consistent with my volunteer efforts for the majority of my adult life. I also believe the mixture of my professional and volunteer experience will prove valuable to the Board of Education.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the Mehlville School District? What do you feel are the district’s biggest strengths? From a staffing standpoint, the biggest challenges are recruiting and retaining talented educators, and addressing the shortage of qualified substitutes. From a budget standpoint, the biggest challenge is the efficient use of Prop S funds. Since the passage of Prop S, the pandemic has inflated costs of construction materials. Because of this, projects that were considered during the early stages of Prop S will cost more than expected. The 2 considerable strengths the district has are its ongoing fiscal performance, and the passionate teachers in every school.

Sarah "Grace" Wright
Sarah Grace Wright, PE

Email: [email protected]

Occupation: Senior Project Manager & Civil Engineer at Great Rivers Greenway

Educational Background: Bachelors of Science Civil Engineering, Licensed Professional Engineer

Community organizations/memberships: Engineers’ Club of St. Louis, Board of Directors

Information about your family: I am a wife to another engineer, a mom and a step-mom to five amazing and successful high-school-aged students. Four of the five kids are headed off to college this year. Our family has always been passionate about volunteering and the outdoors and dedicated to excellence in their education.

Why did you decide to run for the school board? I am an advocate for every single student, and with my background I have the proven experience that is required to make the best financial and educational decisions for the district. I have planned, designed, and built billions of dollars in infrastructure, utilizing federal, state, and local funding mechanisms, collaborating with taxpayers and government bodies. I have the personal experience needed to empathize with families with IEPs and gifted education, as well as neurotypical children.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the Mehlville School District? What do you feel are the district’s biggest strengths? The biggest challenge is there is not enough revenue to complete every infrastructure project MSD requires. As a board member, I will continue the prioritization of the expenditures to maximize the benefit to the district. As a mom, the district’s biggest strengths include the parent organizations, the excellent teachers, staff, and leadership at every school. As a full-time working parent, I relied on them daily. As a professional, MSD’s biggest strength has to be the spectacular financial and planning efforts that will keep the district on a successful path for hundreds of years to come.

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].