• Background: Grew up in Kansas, Okla., then moved to Siloam Springs and purchased a home 4 1/2 years ago.
• Education: Graduated from Kansas High School and then earned a bachelor's degree in business management with an emphasis in human resources at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
• Professional experience: Currently the assistant vice president of the Arvest Bank Siloam Springs Market and branch sales manager, a role he's served in since 2014. Overall, he has 11 years of experience at Arvest, previously serving as a teller and assistant manager, for a total of 11 years with the bank.
• Civic organizations: Currently serves as president of the Chamber of Commerce's Allen Elementary School Adopters group, and has also been involved with the Junior Executive Bank Board and volunteered as a child advocate for Northwest Arkansas Court Appointed Special Advocates.
"I don't know if you've caught on, education and children are just a big piece of my heart and a passion for my life," he said. "I just want to support our education and support our students and children the best I can."
• Public offices: Served on the Kansas (Okla.) Town Council for five years and the Kansas School Board for 2.5 years.
• Involvement with the Siloam Springs School District: Became involved through Allen Elementary School Adopters Group and served as a homeroom parent at the school when the need arose. He also served as a Panther Pal at Allen Elementary School, similar to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program for older students. He volunteered to teach financial literacy classes to older students and provided Main Street Academy students with interview skills coaching.
• Family: Married to Amber Reed and as of Friday, the couple was expecting their first child any day. Amber is a Siloam Springs High School graduate and works as a nurse for Circle of Life Hospice in the western Benton County area.
His parents, the late Waymon and Verna Reed, were members of the Kansas community. Reed said his parents and grandparents instilled in him the importance of public service and supporting public schools. Waymon Reed taught auto mechanics at the Kansas High School and his mother worked as a teacher's aid in the Kansas School system.
Waymon Reed also served on the Kansas Town Council for 21 years, as Kansas mayor, on the Kansas School Board, and was a volunteer firefighter.
"I come from a family that they've always been involved in education and being involved in the community in which we lived," Reed said. "I was just raised that's what you do. If we live in the community, we can't just be takers of the community, or the education we get, we have to give back. And my parents and my grandparents were just the example and set the expectation for that. ... I feel like that was just ingrained in me and that was in my heart."
What are your reasons for wanting to represent Zone 5 on the school board?
That is just my heart, and I see that we've had a lot of long-term board members gone on to better things in life and we're just losing a big chunk of the heart of our community there. I just have a heart for Siloam Springs and love the town as a whole and I love the school. I felt like I have a good skill set and bring a lot to the table.
I'm going to have my first child and he's going to be attending Siloam Springs Public Schools and I just felt like I have a heart for it and I could serve. I had a lot of supporters that really encouraged that and reinforced -- confirming I needed to do this.
What do you feel qualifies you to serve on the school board and what strengths do have to offer?
My experience -- when I was on a school board previously, I served as a clerk. My background in finance and banking, I think, brings a great aspect to the school board and the fact that ... I don't have an agenda of any kind except to be supportive and trying to make sure the school is getting the support it needs from all the other agencies involved in the state level and federal level.
I want to make sure we're financially stable and I also think that my community involvement will be good for representing the school.
What do you feel are the school district's strengths and what do you feel needs improvement?
The strengths of our school district is their heart for the student, I've been very impressed with what the current and previous administration has done and implemented such as the CASS (Career Academy of Siloam Springs) program.
Like I mentioned before, my family, we've been known to be supporters of higher education, but also my dad being an auto technician, we support trades and we know that college may not be for every student but we believe every student deserves an opportunity to be educated in some kind of skill set or trade to benefit their life for the long term, because we know that we need people that are going to go in and step into the shoes of people who are retiring from the trades that we depend on every day. ...
My wife, she's a product of Siloam Springs High School. She's a graduate and she went through their medical program and that really assisted her in getting her foundation for what she's doing now and so I think that a great strength is we're really supporting and developing our students to be the citizens we need to carry on our community. ...
I've even noticed their strength for being there for all students and trying to meet every student's need as much as possible. I know the school can't meet every single need of the student but I think they put the best effort into trying to do so. That's something I want to get behind and help support.
Improvements, I would like to see the things I've mentioned continue and continue to strengthen. ... We are educating the next generation to step into my shoes one day, into your shoes, into a lot of areas.
We want to see Siloam Springs continue to grow and be successful, we have to be part of that responsibility. Part of that is in our educational system, being strong and being supportive of that. I mean, we need to educate students and send them to higher education and their trade and hopefully they'll want to come back and start a business here in Siloam Springs or continue on a current business that's going on, whether it be at one of our small businesses or whether it be at one of our big businesses that we're blessed to have, such as La-Z-Boy, Gates, Cobb, Simmons, or maybe they're going to be the next generation to start up one of those new businesses.
I look around and one of my prayers, when I drive around town, is I see a lot of our empty manufacturing facilities, whether it be the former Franklin Electric or some of the former Allen buildings. I want to see life in that and I think that comes from educating our kids to promote those ideas and those dreams to help fill those empty spaces because that will help in bringing new jobs to Siloam Springs, that will help bring good quality of life initiatives and will help sustain and grow Siloam Springs. ...
I'm a big proponent of the adopter program and I love that the Chamber supports that and has a good partnership with the Siloam Springs School District...
What do you think the biggest issue is facing K12 education in Siloam Springs
We have a lot of free and reduced lunches and that breaks my heart. I want to make sure that our students are nutritionally fed because I think that when you are nutritionally fed that can help all areas of your mind, making sure that you're alert and making sure you have energy.
I want to make sure from the state level and federal level that we continue getting the funding that we need to provide a good nutritional meal, because it may be the only meal our students are getting.
And so making sure that we have funding for that but that we have funding for the classrooms. I know that I'm not going to just be able to go out of my own will, create all the funding that's needed, but we need to as a community and as a board make sure that we're defending and maintaining the funding that we're getting.
I know that cuts, they happen, but we need to sustain the funding that we have and hopefully grow it through the channels we are able to and make sure that we are providing for our teacher's classroom needs and providing for the students that they are getting the technical and even the physical needs for their education. And I'm not saying that those are things we're not doing well, that is always something that we need to be mindful of and be aware of that we're meeting those needs.
I'm so thankful for Bright Futures. I think that Mrs. Krystal Wheat, and even when Sarah Jones was in the position, I think they did a wonderful job and I love that partnership the school has. And again, when talking about the Chamber partnership, I think that has opened up deals for the community to partner and filling the gap, I think that's wonderful.
I think we've done a good job with our safety of our students. In the time we live, I think that needs to be a priority. I'm not saying that's bad, that's something we always have to seek improvement for.
What do you hope to accomplish while you're on the school board?
You should never have an agenda when you're running for this type of thing, especially for the school. What I mean by agenda is your own personal stuff, cause you need to be open and have an open mind and look at every aspect of the school district. I'm there to bring what I have and my experience and my qualities that I have and have learned from previous positions. I hope I can bring that to the table and that they're used to the fullest of their capability and bring support and experience to that role.
Is there anything you would like to add?
... I just really want the best for Siloam Springs, and I'm not saying that what's currently on there isn't the best, I just always want to ensure that we're striving for excellence.
Again, I'm not a Siloam Springs graduate, but in my time of serving Siloam Springs School District, I've learned that I've got to support it, I've got to support that and encourage our community to get behind and support our schools and hopefully to recognize that is our future and it's not just the teacher's responsibility or the parent's responsibility or the administration's responsibility to be there for that school, it is our community's responsibility to support our school. I just hope that's the message I put forth.
I would appreciate that the voters hear my heart and have confidence in me and I ask for their vote.General News on 05/15/2019
Print Headline: Bobby Reed