Cape Girardeau School Board candidate: Tony Smee

Name Tony L. Smee

Age 47

Place of Birth Kittery, ME (Father was stationed there in the Air Force.)

Spouse, children's names

Tamara Smee, wife; Winnie Smee, daughter; Hayden Smee, son.

Occupation: Deputy Chief Appraiser

Employer: Cape Girardeau County

Business owned, all or part

None currently. Formerly a small business owner and operations executive.

Previous offices held or sought

Elected to three concurrent terms on the Board of Education of the Cape Girardeau Public Schools, having served as the board’s president, vice president, legislative delegate and Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) representative. Currently representing fifteen area school districts on the MSBA Region 13 Executive Committee, and currently a member of the state MSBA Member Resources Committee, responsible for helping Missouri school districts take advantage of buying consortiums, grant opportunities, legal assistance, investment programs and other resources.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?

Nine years of dedication to the board of the Cape Girardeau Public Schools, hundreds of hours of continuing education related to school finance, governance and student achievement, and a dedication to the concept of academic excellence and opportunity for every student. A commitment to the success and strength of our community’s school system, recognizing that it is a primary factor in the health and growth of the community and the region.

What do you see as the opportunities and challenges in the district?

The district’s facilities, curricular and extracurricular opportunities are second to none. It has an extraordinary faculty and staff, enjoys tremendous support from the community, and has significantly improved its fiscal position. It continues to produce high-achieving graduates and has moved its graduation rate to above 90%; however, the district is working to significantly improve academic achievement of at-risk student populations, and is committed to redoubling its efforts to help every student succeed.

How will you communicate your work to your constituents?

Board meeting agendas are available to the public at well in advance of stated meetings. With information accessibility at an all-time high, public participation in meetings is still almost non-existent. Very little feedback is received in advance of votes in spite of the wide and varied communication methods available to constituents. Participation in well-publicized public forums and surveys is poor. The board is eager to receive feedback, and open to ideas for improvement.

What are the factors on which you will base your decisions as a school board member?

Board action is regulated by a staggering number of policies, state statutes and federal laws. Within that framework, the board’s first and foremost consideration should be guided by what is ultimately beneficial for students. Within that context, any decision must be ethical, fiscally responsible to its constituents, and taken only after gathering as much information as possible. Making a concerted effort to fully understand the issue, and the long-term consequences of any decision, is critical.