• Last modified 969 days ago (Oct. 28, 2021)


School board candidates profiled

Staff writer


Steven Janzen is Marion’s assistant police chief and previously worked at Hillsboro’s police department for 10 years.

He grew up in Marion before moving away for college, and moved back three years ago from Hillsboro. He has three children in the district — two elementary students and a junior high student.

He wants to help make decisions that are good for his children in the school as well as support the staff of the district.

“I’m an open book, willing to listen and learn and take that in,” he said.

Katherine Young is a retired school psychiatrist who came to Marion to help with the school’s special education program 18 years ago. She has experience in education as well as business and is running for re-election on the school board.

“I feel that a child’s education is very important,” she said. “I want to be involved in making that happen.”

Jan Helmer is the district court office clerk for both Marion and Morris Counties. She has lived in Marion for nearly 60 years.

Helmer, a mother of two Marion High School graduates, said she wanted all children to have success with their school careers.

Clara Sprowls could not be reached for comment.


Douglas Bibens’ family moved to Hillsboro nine years ago when he started working for the McPherson school district. They settled in Hillsboro after he transferred to South High School in Wichita. He has a third-grader and a preschooler in Hillsboro’s school district.

He wants to contribute his experience in education to the school board, incorporate more college classes, and encourage vocational jobs.

“I can help out in the community and help our teachers as well as the children to make sure they are educated well,” he said.

Heather Christner teaches special education at Newton High School. She has lived in Hillsboro for 30 years and has three children, two of whom are students in Hillsboro’s district.

“Being an educator, I obviously have a certain understanding of the education world and how it works,” she said, “but I want to be more involved in my kids’ schooling since I don’t work in their district.

She also has a passion for education and wants to ensure the quality of education at Hillsboro’s schools.

Chasen Gann is a self-employed rancher and oilman who has lived in the Hillsboro area for a decade. He has three children in the school district — two elementary students and one preschooler.

He thought the best thing to focus his energy on would be his children’s learning. He also wants to have a closer look of what would be happening in the school in the future.

“I just want to see what’s going on and make sure there are good, common sense decisions taking place,” he said.

Jessey Hiebert has been employed at Hillsboro’s police department for 24 years and is looking to expand his ability to serve the public by joining the school board.

“It’s an opportunity to get involved, we’ll see where it goes,” he said.

He has a daughter in seventh grade at Hillsboro and is also interested in her education and safety while she’s at the school.

Ashley Kleiber moved to Hillsboro nearly 15 years ago after marrying her husband, a Hillsboro native. She works part time at Excel Industries in Hesston and has three children in Hillsboro’s school district — a seventh grader, a fourth grader, and a first grader.

“In the next two years, we’ll have a kid in each building in our district,” she said.

She wants to get more involved with her children’s education and bridge the gap between Hillsboro’s community and its school district.

Louis Simons Jr. is a stay-at-home dad who homeschools his two youngest children while his oldest attends Hillsboro High School. He went into the Navy after he graduated high school and was trained for combat engineering, building ships and running power plants while knowing how to fight.

Having a background with vocational jobs and having seen how a different environment can help learning, he wants to “step up” to the school board and see what children are being taught in the education system.

“There’s higher learning in other aspects, and I feel like it’s in vocational,” he said.

Sara Wichert has lived in Hillsboro for 24 years and owns a direct sales skincare business. She has three children in Hillsboro’s school district, one of which is a senior in high school.

“We’ve had kids in the school district for 15 years,” she said. “I saw the opening and decided it would be a good way to serve my community.”

She wants to be part of “what has already been great” and help prepare students for their futures.

Scott Winter could not be reached for comment.


Peabody-Burns School Board Candidates:

Hannah Bourbon is a Peabody-Burns alumnus with two children in the elementary school. She does ranch work east of Burns and volunteer work on five different committees.

She wants to give back to her community and district by contributing her background in agriculture and financing. She also wants to make a difference for the school’s students and teachers, and be more involved in making decisions at the school.

I felt like since my kids are now going through it, it’s time for me to take part in the higher level decision making,” she said.

Tiana Gaines could not be reached for comment.

Mollie Partridge works at Prairie View in Hillsboro and has lived in Peabody for 16 years. She has five children who either were or are currently involved in the school district: two alumni, two high schoolers, and one elementary schooler.

She enjoys being a part of her community and being involved with children, and hopes to have a part in the futures of Peabody’s children.

The decisions that are made have huge impacts on our community and our youth,” she said, “and I hope I can contribute positively to their future.”

Last modified Oct. 28, 2021