For the first time since the 1990s, two candidates are vying for a seat on the Cleora Public School Board of Education.
In past years, the members were seated automatically because they ran unchallenged.
This year the incumbent Rick Winfrey is being challenged by Cherry Brewster Redus during the Tuesday, April 2 election.
Each candidate was presented with the same series of questions. The following profiles are based upon their responses.
Rick Winfrey is running for re-election to the Cleora School Board because he hopes to continue the "financial stability and academic success of the district."
"As a parent of two Cleora alumni I am grateful for the education that my
children received," Winfrey said. "I consider it an honor to serve on the board."
Winfrey has served on the board for the past 10 years. As board member, he prides himself on listening to everything.
"I give every motion or action presented serious consideration," Winfrey said. "I listen to every comment presented before making an unbiased decision."
Winfrey said if re-elected, he will strive to help Cleora continue its standards, which include academic success for its students.
"My goal to help the district to continue to achieve it high standards," Winfrey said. "A top priority is to help the district maintain its strong financials."
More about Winfrey
Winfrey graduated from Welch High School. After a year of college, he has worked for C&L Supply Inc., for the past 31 years as a territory manager.
Winfrey and his wife, Terri, have been married for 32 years. The family moved to Cleora in 2000.
The Winfreys have two children, Chase and Rian, both who still live in the Cleora area.
Winfrey said he believes the top issues facing the district include retaining quality teachers, continuing student success and maintaining financial stability.
"As a board member I would encourage the administration to pursue the best teachers available and offer all teachers the best professional development," Winfrey said. "Student success is a product of quality teachers.
"At Cleora School our students have the advantage of one to one technology and other enrichment programs such as robotics and academic teams."
Winfrey said at the present time, the school has a stable financial status.
"As a board member, along with the school administration, we make every effort possible to be good stewards of the school funds and make wise financial decisions," he said.
Winfrey said he is proud to be part of the school and the community.
"I’m doing this [running for re-election] in hopes to help the students of Cleora School," he said.
Cherry Brewster Redus
said her roots run deep in the Cleora community. She is a graduate of the school, as were her parents, her five siblings and most of her extended family. Two of her aunts, Oleta Barnes and Opal Sapp, served as teachers in the district.
After retirement, from teaching pre-k to 8th grades for 35 years in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Union, Redus moved back to Cleora. Since retirement she has substituted in several area schools, including Cleora.
"I have chosen to become a board member in order to continue my involvement in education," Redus said. "I have decided instead of being in the classroom, to put my knowledge and experience teaching in a new part of the educational system."
If elected, Redus said she wants to continue to enhance the learning environment of the school district.
"I can do that by listening to the community about the needs of the students and teachers in Cleora and doing what I can in the management of the school as a board member," she said.
More about Redus
Redus attended first to eighth grades in Cleora. She graduated from Afton High School. She obtained an associates degree from Northeastern A&M in Miami, before completing her bachelor's degree at the University of Tulsa.
In 2003 she was picked as Union Teacher of the Year. She also achieved National Board Certification during her educational career.
Some of her post-graduate studies have included technology curriculum. At the three schools she worked in, Redus operated a student led broadcast system.
"I grew up in Cleora being the sixth child of Leroy and June Brewster," Redus said. "My childhood Cleora home is still there and was purchased by a sibling after mom’s death.
"I returned to Cleora with my husband, JB Redus, after we both retired. I came home."
Redus and her husband have been married for 49 years. They have four adult children and eight grandchildren.
Her son Brady, and his wife Amy, live on Monkey Island. Her oldest granddaughter, Kai, attends NEO. Granddaughter Jaden Blaise is a senior at Grove High School.
Two daughters, Cherry Beth and Megan, along with husband Aaron, live in Bixby, along with five of her grandchildren: Aidan, Ayla, Aryn Jo, Skye and Aspyn.
Her eldest daughter Rachel Oaks lives in San Antonio with her husband, Rob, and their son, Jordan.
A member of the Cherokee Nation, Redus delivers Meals on Wheels through a church in Langley every Monday.
As a board member, Redus sees the budget, along with moves to consolidate smaller schools, among the top issues facing the district.
"Managing the budget would be something that all public schools have to contend with," Redus said. "Encouraging Oklahoma legislators and the [department of education] to continue to find ways for increased funding would be a top priority for me."
She said she would support "any kind of fundraising" needed to enhance funds for the district.
She would also use her knowledge as a grant writer, to help find additional funds.
"There are those in the state that would like to consolidate small schools," Redus said. "Letting people know about a school district like Cleora and supporting the continued operation of the school would be important."
Redus said monitoring curriculum and testing for accountability are also key issues for any school district.
"When several years ago the school added pre-k, it was a great change to the curriculum to develop early childhood education," Redus said. "Those formative years are so important to a child’s success in later years.
"My experience of 35 years as a teacher would certainly be beneficial as a board member in understanding the curriculum of the school."
Redus said she loves the district, its children, teachers and community.
"I will do my best as a board member to continue the excellence of the school and always have an open ear to parents’, teachers’, and students’ concerns and needs," Redus said.