This year's races for the Murray Board of Education feature fresh faces as well as a returning board member and the district's first contested race in a decade.
Candidates in each precinct agree Murray is a unique district. It is sheltered, they say, in many ways from the complicated issues facing larger districts.
But that doesn't dampen their concern. If anything, it heightens their desire to preserve and improve the quality of education in the Murray School District, said longtime board member Laura Baker, who returned in July from Albuquerque, N.M., where her husband served as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Baker is virtually guaranteed to pick up the seat she vacated three years ago. She is running uncontested in Precinct 4 for the seat held by Leslie Komatsu. Komatsu will leave the board to continue her graduate education.
Also running unopposed is newcomer Darrell Pehrson. He will replace Rex Maughn, who opted not to seek re-election.
Jim Brass and G. Lloyd Naylor will battle for the Precinct 3 seat held by Earl Townsend. Though this is the first time either candidate has sought a position on the school board, both emphasize their involvement and dedication to education.
Brass is a member of several community school groups and has children at each grade level in the Murray School District. Naylor, a retired teacher and school administrator, says he has been committed to education since he joined the Future Teachers of America in high school.
Precinct 2 encompasses the southwestern part of Murray. Precinct 4 covers the bulk of central Murray east of I-15 between 5300 South and 5900 South.
Address: 6045 Jamaica St.
Occupation: Superior Care Pharmacy, oxygen manager
Personal: Wife Cindy. Four children.
Experience: Church service, LDS bishop. Lifelong resident of Murray.
Biggest issue facing district: "My biggest concern is the lack of respect children have for the teachers - not only for the teachers, but on the part of children in general."
G. Lloyd Naylor
Address: 5320 Montrose St.
Occupation: Retired school teacher and administrator.
Personal: Wife Lou, three children. Lifelong resident of Murray.
Experience: Taught in the Jordan School District for 24 years. Served eight years as an administrator at Albion Middle School and Union Middle School.
Biggest issue facing district: "What I see as the biggest problem is, can we get and deliver quality education for our students? Everybody wants it, but can we get out and deliver it? The delivery method is what boards of education do and what administrators and teachers do: deliver quality education. I have been involved in education and with education people all my life. Education is the environment I want to be in."
On growing at-risk populations: "The key is positive discipline. I don't want any child to feel that he is not special. Not if I can help it. Kids are special, and I've got experience to help them be special. I want to help them. I've had a love affair for 33 years with kids, and it hasn't ended yet."
Platform: Experience. "There's a wisdom that experience brings. This has nothing to do with age. I'm well-informed, and I keep myself well-informed with kids."
Address: 410 E. Meadow Road
Occupation: Manufacturer's representative.
Personal: Wife Jennifer, four children.
Experience: Served on the Park Side Elementary Community school group and Hillcrest Junior High's community school group. Chairman of the Murray Education Foundation.
Biggest issue facing district: "I just want to maintain the quality of education in Murray. I think we have a quality school district, and I'd like to keep it that way . . . And as Murray grows, I think it will become a problem. If we pursue annexation, then we'd have rapid growth. My concern is we have quite a few elementaries, two junior highs and one high school. Eventually all the students end up funneling into that bottleneck."
On growing at-risk populations: "I think that we're actually working on that. I know the school board is looking at the possibility of a charter school. They do an excellent job, and I'd like to see them continue that, and expand it where they need."
Platform: "My biggest asset is that I have a child in each grade level, so I'd be a board member with children in the schools. That kind of gives you a vested interest in the schools. And, spending time in the schools, you kind of find out what the needs are."
Address: 5351 Kenwood Drive
Personal: Husband Maurice Baker, five children, 10 grandchildren.
Experience: Served on Murray Board of Education 12.5 years, three terms as its president. Utah High School Activities board of trustees, two terms as president.
Biggest issue facing district: "Meeting the educational needs in a changing environment. That's always been a challenge, whether that's trying to keep up with computers or whether it's lowering the dropout rate."