Candidates gear up for school board election


Five candidates have filed for three at-large seats for four-year terms on the Hays USD 489 Board of Education.

The candidates are Richard Kraemer, Danielle Robben, Josh Waddell, Lance Bickle and Kathleen Fischer.

The election is April 2, and the three candidates with the most votes will begin their terms July 1.

Of the three current board members whose terms are expiring -- Richard Kraemer, Sharon Befort and Alan Moore -- only Kraemer is running for re-election.

Richard Kraemer

A Hays native, Kraemer first was elected in 2001, and is running for "the same reason I ran last time. I think I bring something to the table."

New faces on the board bring new ideas, but it takes time for them to get up to speed on issues, he said.

"There's something to be said about consistency and continuity," he said.

Kraemer attended Hays schools and graduated from Hays High School. He's vice president at Insurance Planning, Inc.

He and his wife Marty have a son, Mitch. Kraemer also has two step-children, Tate Gooden and Tonya Normandin, and five grandchildren.

Danielle Robben

Danielle Robben was born and raised in Hays, and attended Wilson Elementary, Felten Middle and Hays High schools.

Robben is running for school board because she believes it would be good "getting someone young with a different viewpoint" on the board.

She's looking forward to being part of a team to find a solution for the district's problems.

She works at Glassman Corporation in the human resources office, a job she's had since graduation. She is engaged to be married to Taylor Lang.

Josh Waddell

Josh Waddell grew up in Natoma, where his mother served on the school board, but he attended Plainville High School.

"I'm a science dork by nature. Plainville had teachers (Jon) Thummel, Jack Hilgers and Mr. (Ralph) Scott, my favorite," he said.

He first thought about running for school board eight years ago, but decided to wait awhile.

"I talk to a lot of people about what the (district's) problems are."

His wife is Tina, and he has three children, Ethan, 15, a Hays High student, Madelyn, a fifth-grader and Wyatt, a second-grader, both at Roosevelt Elementary School.

He's the residential manager for Uhl Construction.

Lance Bickle

Lance Bickle, co-owner of Sicoir, is a Hays native who attended USD 489 schools and Fort Hays State University.

He and his wife, Amanda, have two daughters, Alexis, 4, and Alayna, 1. His daughters are part of the reason he decided to run for the board.

"They'll be attending (school) in several years, (and) I want to get involved," he said.

He's also been asked to run for the board by others, and wanted to something to help kids and the community.

He believes in making the Hays district the best school system, he said.

Bickle believes he could bring a new perspective, and encourage the board to work on long range planning.

Kathleen Fischer

Kathleen Fischer grew up in Plainville.

She doesn't have children or grandchildren, though many of her friends do.

"I realized that because I don't have children doesn't mean I don't care about schools."

Fiscally conservative, Fischer believes emphasis should be placed on education, not sports, and is concerned about other countries outdistancing America in education.

Now retired, Fischer worked as a social worker and hairdresser.

"I have time to give to the community, and I want to give something to the community," she said.