ELECTION: School board gains a new face

Marlene L. Barnett
Marlene L. Barnett
Stephanie Kritzer
Stephanie Kritzer

The Brown County Schools Board of Trustees will have one new member next year.

Marlene Barnett defeated incumbent Tom Jackson by 1,096 votes.

Incumbent Stephanie Kritzer retained her seat against challenger Daniel Harden.

“I am surprised,” Barnett said about her win. “I am very excited about this and I also feel humbled at the same time that the voters of Brown County have put this trust in me to be one of the school board members.”

Jackson had been appointed by the school board to serve John Mills’ remaining term when Mills passed away in 2015.

Jackson, who co-founded a software company, has been active in the district’s strategic planning process, working on marketing Brown County Schools to more potential students and families.

Barnett and her husband moved to Brown County about seven years ago from Johnson County, she said. She started teaching as an classroom aide in 1975 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1980. Since 1990, she has taught high school equivalency courses to students ranging in age from teens to the elderly at the Central Nine Continuing Education Center.

Barnett said her concern for the district is how technology will be used to innovate classes and provide resources for students.

This is the second time Kritzer was elected to the school board.

“I’m very happy and very grateful to everybody who worked the polls and voted for me,” she said. “I’m real excited to get started.”

Kritzer’s two children graduated from Brown County High School and she worked as a paraprofessional in the district for 17 years.

The biggest concern she sees for the district is declining enrollment. A September student count showed the district lost almost 100 students since last fall.

She said she is open to new ideas for the future of the district.

She said she hopes the school board will look at possibly powering the schools with solar energy and updating the administration building, which she said is in need of repairs.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.