Meet the Candidates: Fort Zumwalt School Board

Six school board candidates talk about why they are running and goals they have for the district if elected.

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the   in this year's April election. President Michael Swaringim, Vice-President Michael Price and member Jeffrey Kutterer's terms end this April, leaving three open seats on the board. Board members serve three-year terms.

O'Fallon Patch sent each of the school board candidates the same questionnaire. Candidates submitted answers by email. 

Mike Price 

Where do you live? North O'Fallon, MO

What is your current job and/or position?   

My wife and I own and are the director's of AmeriKids Christian Center - A Christian Pre-School

Why are you running for School Board?  

I enjoy serving.  The position on the board of education is an opportunity serve the students and parents of this district.

What do you think you can bring to this position?  

The love for children and the respect for parents. Always puting the students first.

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position.   

My goal is to do the best job that I am able to do while serving on the board of education.  To keep an open mind to thoughts and ideas from the students, parents, teachers and administrator's of this district and make the best decision that benefits the student body of Fort Zumwalt.

Contact information: mprice@fz.k12.mo.us


Dr. Jeffrey P. Kutterer, Ed.D. 

 Where do you live? St. Peters, MO

What is your current job and/or position?   I have a couple of jobs. At Boeing I am the department head for supplier managers at both the St. Louis and Mesa sites. Additionally, I am an adjunct professor for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where I teach in their Engineering Off-Campus programs on the weekends. I am also an Adjunct Professor for Lewis and Clark Community College where I teach five online courses in their Industrial Technology program every semester.

Why are you running for School Board?  

I am running for office to help continue to guide the district through the tough financial times we are having with the cuts in state funding, lower tax revenues, etc.

Relevant Experience:   Having been on the board for one term already is a big learning experience. Also, my Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership Degree along with my 12-years of college teaching experience and 23-years of Boeing experience, leading projects and people brings with it a wealth of knowledge that can be brought to the table.

What do you think you can bring to this position?  

Common sense approach to fiscal responsibilities and leadership.

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position.   

My goal is to aid in keeping the Fort Zumwalt School District one of the premier school districts in not only St. Charles County, but in the State of Missouri by keeping it fiscally sound and academically strong. 


Michael L Swaringim

Where do you live? 2159 Wyndbrook,  O’Fallon, MO  63366

What is your current job and/or position?  - President, Bramko Tool & Engineering, Inc. / Partner, Mid-Western, LLC

Why are you running for School Board? 

To continue to give back to the district from which I graduated, while serving my community.

Relevant Experience: First elected to the Fort Zumwalt School Board in 1999. Currently serving the board as president.

What do you think you can bring to this position? 

Leadership, vision, fairness and conservative fiscal and personal values.

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position.

Balance the budget.  I want to see the district maintain fiscal responsibility with reduced state funding to avoid raising the tax levy.


Renee D. Porter, Ph.D.

Where do you live? O’Fallon, Missouri

What is your current job and/or position?  Associate Professor and Division Chair, School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Lindenwood University

Why are you running for School Board? 

As a board member, I will serve the community with the other board members to ensure resources are available to educators and district policies encourage educational excellence. I see the public education system as a cornerstone to a thriving community.  In short, a community with a quality education system attracts employers, families, teachers and administrators. The school board represents the community and through the policies and decisions it makes, and is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of local public education. 

Relevant Experience: 

Most importantly, I am a parent of a current student and a recent graduate of the district.  Since my husband and I have been residents of the district for 24 years, I have had the unique advantage of observing the successes and challenges of the district through the eyes of a parent, resident and educator while considering community business and economic issues.  

My professional and educational experiences have also prepared me well for this position.   I am an associate professor and division chair in the School of Business and Entrepreneurship (SB&E) of Lindenwood University.   In this position, I teach undergraduate and graduate business and management courses and advise approximately 60 business students.  I also serve on several committees, including team leader of the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accreditation self-study committee, student recruitment task force and SB&E knowledge management task force.  

In addition, I also serve the university and SB&E by researching and developing SB&E online courses  and business programs.  I am a member of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), AERA (American Educational Research Association) and ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) which reflect my philosophy to research and apply best practices in education and business. 

In addition to my experiences with Lindenwood University and several other local universities, I have been a local entrepreneur, human resources development manager and trainer at McDonnell Douglas Missile Systems, and I am U.S. Air Force veteran.  Education credentials include a Ph.D. in Educational Studies, Masters of Business Administration (MBA), BS in Occupational Education and two Associate degrees.   I am a believer in life-long learning and my extensive and varied background will serve me well in understanding student/educator issues and  working with others while addressing district challenges.  

What do you think you can bring to this position? 

I will bring extensive educational, professional, business and residential experience to the district.   I also bring the desire and ability to collaborate with multiple parties as the board addresses district challenges in changing environments. 

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position. 

One goal is to help facilitate educational excellence in the district to retain and attract employers, residents and experienced educators. 

Contact information: porterrd2003@charter.net


Laure Schmidt

Where do you live?

333 Meadowlake Drive in the City of Cottleville.

What is your current job and/or position?

Librarian at the South Middle School in the Wentzville R-IV School District.

Why are you running for School Board?

As an educator, I know that successful schools depend most upon the following factors: enthusiastic teachers, interested parents, disciplined classrooms and respectful administrators.  These success factors are best supported at the local level by local school boards.

Currently, there are efforts at both the state and federal levels to effectively end local control of our schools.  Examples of these efforts include the implementation of national “Common Core Standards” and nationally-standardized, student tests. 

As a board member, I believe it is important to oppose these efforts to end local control of our schools.   This is one important reason that I felt it necessary to run for this office.

Relevant Experience: I have been a teacher for twenty-two years.

What do you think you can bring to this position? 

I can bring practical, classroom experience that can be used to evaluate the potential effectiveness of proposals brought before the board. 

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position. 

One of my main goals is to improve communications with the community so that parents and taxpayers are aware of the harmful changes to our schools that are being proposed by some state bureaucrats and legislators.  

Contact information: LaureASchmidt@gmail.com or 636-281-6543. 


Terrill C. Herring

 Where do you live? O’Fallon with a St Peters Address

What is your current job and/or position?

President/Owner, T.C. Herring & Associates, LLC.  The focus of the practice is leadership and management development.

Why are you running for School Board?

I believe the school administrators and school board members work for the taxpayers and not vice versa.  Sadly, in many instances the reverse appears to be the norm.

I believe that parents and taxpayers are progressively losing control of their local schools through the expansion of state and federal funding.  Programs such as “No Child Left Behind," “Race to the Top” and the expansion of the “core curriculum” process are turning our schools into platforms for indoctrination, rather than education.  Concurrently with the loss of local control, the quality of the educational product produced, in terms of student performance has deteriorated.  What else accounts for the significant growth of private and church-supported schools over the same period of time?

I believe that school boards and school administrators must be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, insuring that every dollar is meticulously accounted for and that the vast majority of those dollars go directly to the classroom, not to administrative and other “support activities.”  Simply stated, our public schools must learn to live within their budgets, just as the taxpayers who must live within their mean and budget responsibly to do so.  A prime example of the questionable expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the upgrade of the high school football fields to what can only be considered college quality.  Let’s be serious:  These are still high schools and the natural grass fields are more than sufficient for the few games that are played each season.  Another test that must be applied to the stewardship of taxpayer dollars is the “tooth to tail ratio,” where the bulk of the dollars go directly to the classroom and the minimally necessary dollars go to “support” activities.

I believe that the curricula in our schools must be refocused to build a solid foundation on the basics: mathematics, English language reading and composition, actual American History – not the revisionist versions that appear in most schools today.  I believe that before any student is authorized to use a computer, the student must clearly demonstrate mastery of the basic mechanics of math and grammar.  I strongly oppose the use of any textbooks that present our students inaccurate and anti-American propaganda.  Too often, genuine American heroes and achievers are either ignored or incorrectly portrayed anti-heroes or villans.

I believe that each parent and taxpayer should apply what I call the “auto mechanic test” to the quality of education our students receive:  Would you accept and cheerfully pay for the same level of service from your auto mechanic that you receive from your local schools?

I believe we can do better in our schools and we must act now reclaim true educational, excellence.

 Relevant Experience: 

Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University with a specialization in personnel administration and labor relations.

Over 24 years active duty as USAF Officer with senior leadership positions at both operational and headquarters levels.  Director of Personnel for a 13,000 person military installation.  Lead a staff of 150 military and civilian personnel providing a full range of human resources and education services support.  At headquarters level oversaw the operation of 24 subordinate personnel offices, providing policy guidance, manpower analysis and on-site operational assessment and staff assistance.

Twenty years in private practice as a human resources consultant, working with both public and private sector organizations.

Over 30 years experience as an adjunct faculty member (business) for several colleges and universities at both graduate and undergraduate levels.  I am currently an adjunct professor with a local university.

What do you think you can bring to this position?

A business oriented, results focused perspective to the oversight of school leadership and  administration.

Please tell us about one goal you have for this position. 

My primary goal for this position is to do everything possible to prevent the school district’s participation in “Race to the Top” and the “Core Curriculum." My secondary goal is to reduce, with the ultimate goal of eliminating, the school district’s dependence on outside funding – insuring that the district is accountable only to the taxpayers and parents in the district.  Bottom Line:  Local schools, local funding, local control.



Heidi L. March 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Wow! This is great, very insightful! Great introduction to the candidates.


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