‘A way of life:’ School board candidate Bill Baird wears many hats around town

tporter@lsjournal.comMarch 5, 2014 

Bill Baird, left, owner of Baird Group Real Estate, and Sheila Clark, the group’s office manager, prepare for a meeting March 3 inside the office at 304 S.E. Third St. Baird, a Lee’s Summit resident since 1997, is one of four vying for three vacant seats on the R-7 school board.

TORIANO PORTER — /the Journal

  • 1997

    Year Bill Baird, a Clinton native, and wife Hillory moved to Lee’s Summit.

Talk a few minutes with Bill Baird and the sense of community he has for Lee’s Summit is evident.

From his real estate office at 304 S.E. Third St., Baird’s desire to serve is exceeded perhaps only by his desire to succeed.

Baird, one of four candidates vying for three seats on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education, is immersed in civic affairs such as the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Partners in Education and the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. The real estate broker and owner of Baird Group Real Estate, is also owner of One Stop Handyman Shop, a maintenance and repair company for homes and businesses.

But, it’s Baird’s involvement with the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation – he has served the past two years as the co-chair for the annual Taste of Lee’s Summit event – which he believes is a steppingstone to his next civic endeavor.

“I’m pretty passionate about Lee’s Summit and what goes on here in the schools,” Baird said. “You can say I do like that aspect of (running for a seat on the school board).”

Baird, 44, and wife Hillory have two children in the district; one (Bailey) a junior at Lee’s Summit High School and the other (Grant) an eighth-grade student at Pleasant Lea Middle School. It’s not lost on Baird that the two will walk the halls of the same building next school year. In fact, Baird himself will be there too.

He is also a volunteer coach for the football program’s freshman team, just one of many hats Baird wears around the city.

“With my schedule I can’t be there at practice everyday, but I try to be there on Mondays and Wednesdays,” said Baird, a former college football and baseball player at Missouri State, Kansas State and Baker University. “I work a lot. I don’t measure the hours – I really don’t think of it that way. Real estate is really weird; it’s like a way of life. You’re visiting and socializing one minute then you’re talking business the next. I don’t notice the change, I just do it.”

Baird said prior to opening Baird Group in 2011, he managed more than 130 real estate agents as owner of Infinity Realty. He sold the business to a competitor – Platinum Realty – then opened the group under the Platinum branch with a staff of five that includes Hillory and Bruce and Sheila Clark. Andy Davies is the fifth member of the Baird Group.

The small staff means more personable interaction, and for Baird and his group, more flexibility to engage in community activities.

“I think I love the fact that it’s flexible,” Baird said. “My daughter plays (basketball) at 5:30 tonight and I’ll be there. If they have an activity at school at 3, I can be there; I can set my appointments and that’s the same thing with my team members, they love the flexibility.”

Chip Moxley, president of Tingle Flooring, just recently finished a stint as co-chair with Baird for this year’s Taste of Lee’s Summit. Last year, Hillory and Bill Baird co-chaired the event. Moxley said Baird’s passion for all things Lee’s Summit is obvious with the work that Baird does on his own dime and time.

“He is an extraordinarily dedicated individual,” Moxley said. “He’s been involved with the Foundation for a lot of years. He’s has always been one of the people you can always depend on. I’m really happy he is doing the school board thing. Having had children go through the district…you can feel good about a guy like Bill stepping up to take on that responsibility. And that’s what it is; it’s a huge responsibility.”

“I think it’s a great fit,” Sheila Clark, a licensed realtor and the Baird Group’s office manager said of Baird’s run for school board. “I think it’s a perfect fit. He’s easy; we work well together. We’re a team. He’s been active in the Educational Foundation so that support will just transfer. He’s a Chamber supporter, a Downtown Lee’s Summit (Main Street) supporter – all of those things.”

Baird’s website for his school board campaign is www.makingadifferencei

neducation.com. From the outset of moving to Lee’s Summit in 1997, Baird, his family and his companies, have tried to do just that – make a difference.

“The Taste of Lee’s Summit last week took a lot out of me,” Baird said. “Now that it’s over, I feel like I have a ton of free time this week compared to last week. I’d rather be doing stuff with the community at night or with my kids.”

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