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CENTERVIEW — Five candidates are vying for three three-year terms on the Crest Ridge School Board of Education.

Melissa Livengood and Chris White seek reelection while Vicki Doak, Crystal Mefford and Matt Smith seek election.

Vicki Doak

Vicki Doak has lived in the Crest Ridge School District for 30 years.

Doak is a graduate of Warrensburg High School.

Doak worked in the durable medical industry for 25 years and wrote policy and procedures for a national company in her last position.

“I decided to run for the school board because I want to give back to our wonderful community that my children received a great education from and now are both working professionals,” she said. “I feel I have the time and the passion that is needed to positively impact our district.”

Doak has not previously held a public office.

“I feel we have a great school district but it seems that we struggle with MAP testing,” Doak said. “If I were on the board I am willing to help in any way possible to overcome this issue. I also have a great passion for the security of our district and want to make sure we have the appropriate policies and procedures in place to keep our kids, faculty, and staff to stay safe.”

Doak said she is not currently involved in any kind of clubs.

“I am married to Dan Doak whom was a graduate of Crest Ridge School District and two grown children, Ashton and Brooke, that also graduated from Crest Ridge,” Doak said. “Daniel Doak is my youngest and currently in the eighth grade in the Crest Ridge School District.”

Melissa Livengood

Melissa Livengood has lived in the Crest Ridge School District for 41 years.

Livengood and her husband, Bryan, attended Crest Ridge, graduating in 1992.

Livengood has a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of Central Missouri. She is certified in the State of Missouri to teach grades 7-12 mathematics and grades 7-9 social studies.

Livengood’s eldest son graduated from the district in 2018 and youngest son is in eighth grade.

Livengood is a National Board Certified Teacher in mathematics and has been a high school math teacher for 23 years. Livengood taught at Odessa High School for 16 years, Grain Valley High School for three years and Lee’s Summit West High School for the last four years.

“I have a deep love and devotion for this school district and I want the very best for every Crest Ridge student,” Livengood said. “My dream is that all students look forward to coming to school and feel safe, loved and inspired while they are there. My hope is that every student can leave school daily feeling a sense of accomplishment. The goal is that they will feel confident and fully prepared for their future upon graduation.”

Livengood currently serves on the Crest Ridge School Board and is approaching the end of her first term.

“Academic achievement, student motivation, college and/or career readiness and a competitive compensation package for teachers are areas of potential growth,” Livengood said. “As a board, we must review data, establish clear goals and utilize the individual strengths of our staff members in the pursuit of those goals. I desire to share my experience as a teacher and my strength in conducting research and data analysis to support the staff as they design our educational programs and curriculum.”

Livengood is a member of the Crest Ridge R-VII Education Foundation, National Education Association and the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She previously was a project leader for the Mount Moriah Hustlers 4-H Club, a coach for the Crest Ridge Youth Basketball League for 13 seasons and a board member of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce.

Crystal Mefford

Crystal Mefford has lived in the Crest Ridge School district since 2008.

Mefford graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 1996 and obtained her nursing license from Cass Career Center in Harrisonville.

Mefford is a nurse and has been in the medical field for 26 years.

“I decided to run for school board because changes are needed in our district,” Mefford said. “These changes include better communication with parents, restructuring current discipline policies/procedures and greater transparency regarding situations affecting our children. We also need to review funds allocated for repairs and upgrades to ensure that the most reputable companies are being hired to do a quality job.”

This is the first time Mefford has run for public office.

“Trust is one of the biggest needs at this time,” Mefford said. “Parents need to be able to trust that their children’s safety is a priority, they will be promptly notified of behavior issues, academic performance issues and that discipline will be handled swiftly, appropriately and fairly. I believe that implementing procedural changes that encourage open communication and honesty would be the first steps in restoring this trust.”

Mefford is a member of the Centerview Baseball and Softball Organization and has been a volunteer nurse at Community of Christ Junior Camp for the five years.

“As a former employee, I have witnessed the daily operations of our school through a variety of situations,” Mefford said. “There has to be changes at every level. Many parents, students and staff members are unhappy with things happening in this district, but are afraid to speak up due to fear of retaliation against them or their children. This can not continue. Trust needs to be restored.”

Matt Smith

Matt Smith and his wife, Heather, have lived in the district for seven years.

Smith is a graduate of Osceola High School and has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Missouri.

Smith has worked in heavy equipment sales for 13 years.

“I decided to run for School Board to help support and give back to our community,” Smith said. “Crest Ridge is an amazing school with an outstanding administration and faculty. I want to support them in any way possible so Crest Ridge can continue to be a district families want to live in.”

Smith has not previously been elected to a public office.

“The top item on my list is to help Crest Ridge continue to be a safe environment for our children,” Smith said. “The school also needs to continue to feel the support from the community to hold strong to the values that make our district an amazing place. As society applies pressure to conform, we need to stand firm in what we believe. I would like to be a voice that represents the residents of our district.”

Chris White

Chris White has lived in the Crest Ridge School district for 24 years.

White is a graduate of Warrensburg High School.

White worked in construction for 24 years and currently farms with his two sons.

“I chose to run for a second term for the Crest Ridge School Board to continue to be involved in the decision-making process of finding solutions to current and future district needs,” White said.

White has served on the Crest Ridge School Board of Education for three years and is approaching the end of his first term.

“Some top needs of the district are staying within current budget while being able to offer competitive wages to our personnel,” White said. “Another need is, we should keep the taxpayers up to date on the district financially and parents informed on safety protocols. Most importantly, we should never stop looking for new ways to do better our children’s education and school experiences.”

White serves on the FFA Advisor Board.

“While on the board for the last three years I have enjoyed being able to help where I can,” White said. “I always look forward to seeing the results of past and current board decisions I have been a part of. If allowed, I would be honored to serve the community with another term.”

Staff Writer Sara Lawson can be reached by emailing sara.lawson@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.​

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