Growing up in Ferguson, MO, my two sisters and I learned early the value and meaning of hard work. We saw our dad, a Union Pipefitter, come home dirty and tired every day. Our mother, who worked for the St. Louis Auto Auction, tried hard to raise us to be respectful of others, understand the that we should treat others the way we would want to be treated, and truly value the opinions of others, whether we agree or not. Both set positive examples and helped us become the people we are today. One of those examples was our involvement in the Parish and its athletic programs. My parents would come home from work and immediately turn around and run concession stands, coach our teams, and cook at the fish fry. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they were setting a stage for my sisters and me that I would value for the rest of my life.
When my father tragically passed away just after my 14th birthday in an automobile accident, our world was demolished. However, I saw just how incredible he and my mother were. I remember the funeral service at Sts. John and James in Ferguson, MO. It was amazing to see the waves of people from all over the Midwest come and pay their respects to our family. “Standing Room Only” is an understatement. It was then I decided not to let this pull me down or drag me into the dark. With the help of our mother, family, friends, coaches, Parish, and Pipefitters, my sisters and I were guided through the darkest days of our lives to become successful and respected parents and spouses. The odds were against us, but somehow, we were able to make it. But more than that. We made it with our integrity, dignity, ethics, and values intact. I am certain that my mother, and father looking down on me, are proud of the husband, father, and person I have become.
My wife Lisa and I married in 2012 and immediately moved to St. Charles where we purchased our first home. A few years later, we had our first child…and then another who are just starting out their careers here in Francis Howell. We love our two pups, as crazy as they are, but they are family. I absolutely cherish being a husband and father and love my brood deeply. They are everything to me and one of the reasons I am running for a position on the board. I have two sisters, Nicky and Christina, who I love dearly and my mom, Gail, does her best to spoil our kids, as a good Grandmother should. I’m very close to my sisters-in-law, Julie and Mary, father-in law Doug, and especially my mother-in-law, Lori. I couldn’t ask for a better family to support us. Not to mention the countless extended family that I love dearly. I’m truly blessed to have each and every one of them in my life.
One of the things that my parents and extended family introduced me to at a very young age was athletics. I played everything. Baseball, hockey, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer…you name it. I was in it. But baseball stood out to me. I really love the way you can completely fail, all day, and still come out a winner. It is the epitome of teamwork. The game is incredibly hard and exquisitely perfect. I’ve played it since I was 4 years old and continue to play to this day. I haven’t missed a season and don’t plan to…as long as my body and mind allow. Baseball has taken a lot from me over the years. But it is what baseball has taken that has allowed me to stay grounded. The humility of the game will bring even the strongest back down to reality at any given time. Just when you thought you’ve perfected something, here comes the curveball you didn’t see coming. There is a saying around baseball…” The hardest play….is the next one”. So is true in life. It’s not about the mistakes you’ve made, it’s about learning from your mistake and doing your best not to make them again. But occasionally, there is an unseen pebble that will make even the most routine play totally impossible. I learned to pick up the pebble, toss it aside, and get the next one. My teammates and I have relied on each other to be picked up and knocked down. Dugouts are good for that. I’ve played ball at all levels, high school, college, and even professionally, and one thing has always remained clear, teamwork is vital, teammates are teachers, teachers are invaluable. I truly hope it never ends.
FOR THE TEACHERS
I truly want my children and all students to experience Francis Howell in a way that allows them to look back on their time here and feel as if it was one of the best times of their lives. I believe that starts with the teachers. What I mean is, you could have the greatest team to ever take the field, but if you have a manager or coach that doesn’t know the game, you’re going to lose…a lot. Teachers are put in charge of managing the academics of our kids and have an immense responsibility and are an invaluable asset to the students and parents alike. With this responsibility comes a certain trust that the parents instill in the teachers and that trust is the one thing that bonds this school district together. We must all work hard to ensure that the teachers have the tools, compensation, time, energy, and desire to make sure the trust of the parents and students is an unbreakable foundation of this institution and continues to grow as the community around it thrives.
So now, in 2023, I’m a successful Area Manager for an automotive lender. My daily duties require me to build relationships, collaborate with my team, be a voice when no one else is willing to speak, truly find a common ground with my clients and ask the hard questions no one else is willing to ask. I will take this expertise with me to the FHSD Board of Education so that we can finally put the division that has existed over the past few years behind us. Watching some of the Board meetings I have become concerned that political views and sides have taken over and logic and respectful collaboration and discourse have been sacrificed. I will bring that back. There is no room for political ideology on a school board. The students deserve and expect better. As in my daily life, I will view everything through the lens of logic and truth, with integrity and respect. I will collaborate and work as a team to ensure this district once again becomes what we know it can be, an institute of integrity, truth, and excellence.