Phyllis Balagna will get a fresh term of three years to remain on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education and Bob White will join her after filing ended Jan. 15 with just Balagna and White filing for the two open seats on the board.
The annual municipal and school election is April 2, but state statutes allow school districts to forgo an election when there are uncontested school board races. The law cuts costs because school districts do not have to help with election-related expenses, which are normally divided between all entities with candidates or issues on the ballot.
Lee’s Summit R-7 has no other issues on the April 2 ballot, and the board of education candidates will not appear on the ballot. Following the April election, Balagna and White will be sworn in for three-year terms as board members.
“I’m very excited,” said White a retired educator who spent 32 years in the R-7 district as a teacher and administrator. White currently sits on the board of the Lee’s Summit Symphony, Lee’s Summit 360 and the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. He helped start Summit Technology Academy before he retired in 2007. “Education for me has been a life long passion. I’ve been involved in some form or another of education ever since I graduated from college and that was a long, long time ago. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to continue that as a school board member.
“As a teacher/administrator/patron, it’s really the ultimate point in a career when you can lend your expertise and knowledge to the body that is making the policy decisions that will determine the future of the school district. I feel privileged to be able to do that.”
Balagna has served on the R-7 board since April of last year after she was appointed to fill a spot vacated when former board member Annette Braam resigned from the board because her family was moving out of the district.
Balagna was selected to complete Braam’s term after she and eight others were screened via questionnaires and interviews.
This time around, Balagna will get a full term to work on the board.
“Serving on the school board is a dream come true for me,” she said. “I have absolutely loved my appointment and serving so far.”
Balagna, a resident of Lake Winnebago, has for the past 23 years owned Steppin’ Out – The Studio in Lee’s Summit. A former high school English and theater teacher, she has served on many school board committees and also is an advisory board member for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and a member of Lee’s Summit CARES.
Balagna has received Lee’s Summit CARES’ Whatever It Takes Award and the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Year Award. In addition, her dance studio received the chamber’s Res in Motus Business of the Year Award in the small-business category in 2011.
“I’m a lifetime resident of the community,” Balagna said. “I was born and raised here, went to the schools, taught in the schools and now I run a business, so it’s just a perfect fit for me.”