Six candidates are running for three open positions on the Piper school board.
None of the three incumbents are running this year.
The candidates are Allison DeWitt, John Droppelmann, James “Morris” Letcher, Shawnette Mansfield, David R. Wilson and Darrell Yoder.
To view a candidate forum visit the Piper school district website at www.piperschools.com, and click on "New board member QnA" in the top right of the page.
Allison C. DeWitt
Allison C. DeWitt, 48, is running for the Piper School Board.
DeWitt is an office manager with Access Health and Injury Solution. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. Vice president of the Piper PTA, DeWitt has two children in Piper High School. She is a member of Business West.
“I am acutely aware of the day-to-day challenges that our schools face among which are managing growth, maintaining a secure environment for the students and staff and promoting academic excellence in this fast-paced digital age,” she stated.
“As our current high school, middle school and elementary school buildings are already at or near student capacity, there are both short and long-term issues that require action to manage this explosive growth,” she stated. “My top campaign issue is ensuring that all proposals and options directed to manage district growth are in the best interest of our students and community and are economically feasible.”
John Droppelmann Jr., 45, is a candidate for the Piper School Board.
A Kansas City, Kan., fire captain, Droppelmann holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is a member IAFF Local 64, Kansas City, Kan., Firefighters Relief Association and the International Association of Arson Investigators, Kansas Chapter. He also is a volunteer YMCA soccer coach; volunteer softball coach in the Kaw Valley League Field of Dreams, and volunteer with the Piper PTA.
He stated he was running to ensure a continuance of the high quality of education that families in the Piper district currently receive.
He also wants to make sure the facilities of the district keep up with the growth of the student population, he stated.
“My desire is to involve all district patrons in the decision-making process of the school board,” he said.
James “Morris” Letcher
James “Morris” Letcher is running for the Piper School Board.
At a recent candidate appearance, he stated that he graduated from Wyandotte High School, played college sports, and studied criminal justice at East Carolina University. He came back to work for the Sheriff’s Department and as a substitute teacher and “rule 10” coach.
He spent 15 years working with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools. He and his family moved to the Piper area in 2006.
In 1998 Letcher went to work for the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department, where he is now a captain. He was recognized by Firehouse Magazine for his life-saving heroic actions in 2011 in scaling a six-foot fence, and hanging on to a person threatening to jump from a bridge over I-70.
He said he would like to offer his experience in education, communication, and working with people to the board.
Letcher started the Tyrell Stewart Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of an elementary student who lost his life.
Shawnette Mansfield, 42, is running for the Piper School Board.
She is a small business owner of Mansfield Bookkeeping and Accounting, and housing management coordinator of the Kansas City, Kan., Housing Authority.
Mansfield has a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting from Keller Graduate School of DeVry University, a bachelor’s in accounting-management from Park University and an associate in accounting from KCKCC. She is vice president of the Eastern Chapter of Public Accountants Association of Kansas, a board member of Community Housing of Wyandotte County, and a member of the Piper Community Education Association.
Three of her children have graduated from Piper High School and one is a freshman. She stated she sees this as an opportunity to share her experience and background to support educational institutions that benefit the community.
“School funding and budget cuts are a major concern,” Mansfield stated. “Our district is experiencing strong growth and adequate school funding is crucial to our continued success. I promise to advocate for adequate school funding.”
David R. Wilson
David Ray Wilson is running for the Piper School Board.
Wilson said in a recent candidate forum that he moved here three years ago with his family in order to send his stepdaughter to Piper schools.
He said he wanted to continue to support the schools as much as he can. He added that he knows the district is growing and would like to be part of easing its growing pains. The district has great schools and he would like to keep them great, he said.
Wilson added he was one of the responders to a medical emergency at the Piper schools a little over a year ago. In talking to other people, he said he believes there were some things that could have been done differently by the school.
Darrell W. Yoder, 41, is running for the Piper School Board.
He is the president and CEO of MAPS, Inc. Yoder has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kan.
He and his wife have lived in the Piper area since 2001 and have two children in district schools. He said his children are his motivation for running for the school board.
Yoder said he was a fiscal conservative who supports patrons being able to actively have an enhanced voice in the district through forums and other means.
He favors procuring alternative revenue sources through providing school business partnerships, adding local education foundations and increased commercial advertising and corporate sponsorships.
He is not in favor of short-term “Band-Aid” solutions, but favors a long-term solution and strategy for 10 years and beyond.
Yoder said the biggest challenge the board will face is the projected enrollment growth and how the district accommodates the growth with facilities.