Three incumbents, one challenger seeking Chatfield School Board seats

Voters in the Chatfield School District will choose three School Board members during the upcoming election on Tuesday. Four people filed for the positions, which have four-year terms. The three incumbents to file are Scott Backer, Lanny Isensee and Matthew McMahon. The other person to file is Dorothy-Helen L. Billmeier.

Editor’s note: Following is information about two of the candidates and their responses to several questions regarding their qualifications and priorities for the Board if elected. The other two candidates were unable to be reached, despite numerous calls and messages.

Scott Backer is a retired educator. He was a teacher, coach and principal for over 37 years at a number of locations. He has lived in Chatfield for seven years. He is the father of six children, three of whom are currently students at Chatfield. He is a volunteer football coach at the high school, a baseball coach in the summer and a junior high baseball coach at the school. He also currently serves on the school board and is seeking his second term.

Dorothy-Helen L. Billmeier is a licensed day care provider, offering in-home child care for 11 years in the Chatfield/Fillmore County area. She and her husband, Tony, have two sons, Dominic, a Chatfield graduate, and Dylan, a ninth-grader at Chatfield. Billmeier has lived in Chatfield since 1980, but said her family dates back five generations, having been in the area since Chatfield was founded. She is a 4-H parent, helping with horse events and county fair activities, is a member of the Episcopal church and a parent volunteer at school events, especially devoting her efforts to adopting families at Christmas and supporting the care closet at the school to help homeless and less-fortunate students.

What has motivated you to file for this office?

Backer: When I first came to Chatfield as a retired educator with a family, I wanted to do what I could to get involved and contribute to my community. Because it’s my life’s work, I feel it’s an area where I can offer a decent perspective.

Billmeier: If I was on the school board, I would bring the perspective of a mom and a business owner. I feel I can bring a fresh perspective on how we can do things for the best for our children — where kids don’t always feel like they are the underdog. I also see bullying and know there are six homeless children attending school in Chatfield, so I would like to work more with the care closet, and promote it more, to get more things for these kids.

Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.

Backer: I have very diverse experiences in the broad field of education. I genuinely desire to make a positive impact.

Billmeier: I am very fair — I am always open to other peoples’ opinions. However, I don’t sugar-coat things, I will definitely tell them what I am thinking. Chatfield is so important to me. I always want children to feel Chatfield is home, to be able to establish deep roots.

Name your top priority for your school and how you would like to see the board address that issue.

Backer:  I went on the board without any agenda or pet issues. I feel things are going very well and there aren’t any major issues. That’s not to say there aren’t minor issues that can be tweaked.

Billmeier: My top priority will be the care closet and helping with fundraisers. With so many different fundraisers, happening at different times for things like the Washington, D.C., trip and every single class, It would be amazing if the district could do one overall fundraiser so we could benefit more kids at one time. But the care closet is my big thing. I think it needs a huge amount of advertisement.