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Voters in Jefferson County will have to sort through nine candidates when choosing who will fill three seats on the Jefferson College Board of Trustees in the April 2 election.

Five people are running for the pair of full, six-year terms that will appear on the ballot: Incumbents Ronald Scaggs and Krystal Hargis, both running for their fourth terms, and challengers Darrel R. Hollinger, Dinah Barnett and Avery A. Fortenberry.

Additionally, four people are seeking to serve out the final two years of a term originally held by Barb Stocker, who resigned when she moved from the district. The board appointed Roy D. Burnside to fill her post until the election. Burnside is running to complete the term, but he will first have to defeat Robert Vittoe, D. Vernon Cherry and Retta “Susan” Tuggle.

The six-member board is unpaid.


SCAGGS, 71, lives at 1612 St. Mary’s Lane, Festus. He and his wife, Kerry, have two children and eight grandchildren. He is retired after 43 years in law enforcement with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, with the Festus Police Department (where he was chief) and for the last 18 years with the U.S. Department of Justice. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he earned an associate degree from Jefferson College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Maryville University and a master’s degree in public policy administration from St. Louis University.

Scaggs is a founder of the Leadership Project at St. Louis University, which provides leadership training to law enforcement, corporate and military leaders and lecture programs and provided trainers to law enforcement officers in Missouri and Illinois.

His cousin, Patricia McDaniel, is a biology professor for the college.

HARGIS, 57, lives at 4405 Western Pacific Road, Arnold. She and her husband, Gary, have two daughters and seven grandchildren. She is retired after teaching in the Fox C-6 School District. She and her husband own Gary’s Custom Counters in Imperial. A 1979 graduate of Fox High School, she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Webster University in 1986, a master’s degree in early childhood education from Webster University in 1990 and a gifted child specialist certification from Maryville University.

During her time on the board, she has served as its president and vice president and has been on the board’s negotiation, policy revision and budget committees. She is a member of the Missouri Community College Association, Association of Community College Trustees and Gifted Association of Missouri.

HOLLINGER, 76, lives at 2356 Spyglass Summit Court, High Ridge. He and his wife, Patt Hollinger Pickett, have five children and six grandchildren. He is a licensed broker and owner of Hollinger Success Realty LLC. He received a bachelor’s degree from Carthage College, a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree in business administration from Lindenwood University.

He was elected to terms on the Lake St. Louis Board of Aldermen and to a homeowners association board. He has been president and secretary of the Sugar Creek Homeowners Association. He has been involved in a number of civic organizations, including chair boards of the Tri-County United Way, Friends of Scouting, YMCA, Crider Center for Mental Health and Wentzville School District Foundation.

BARNETT, 66, lives at 6037 Ozark Drive, High Ridge. She is married to Miles Barnett Jr. A registered nurse, she earned an associate degree from Jefferson College, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Maryville University and a master’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University.

She is a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jefferson County, is a tutor in the adult education program at Jefferson College and a trustee for the Whispering Winds subdivision.

FORTENBERRY, 72, lives at 6604 Crimson Lane, Barnhart. He and his wife, Jann, have four children and six grandchildren. He is a retired account executive for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. (SBC Communications, now AT&T) and taught evening classes at St. Louis Community College. He owns a small business, Avery Contracting LLC. He received a bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in communication from Maryville University in 1982.

He is a member of the Jefferson County Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment and has been a member of the Festus Special Road District and the University of Missouri Extension board.

What are the biggest problems facing the college and how would you address them?

Scaggs: We just selected a new president and we also will be searching for a new dean. This will require a significant amount of team building and reassessment of goals. We also plan to refocus on relationships with the faculty and staff and will include them in the process. We are currently undergoing our 10-year accreditation review from the Department of Education, which is critical to the future of the institution. In the wake of several years of budget cuts from the Missouri Legislature, finances are always a challenge.

Hargis: ■ Declining state funding: The state has cut funding several times over the past few years. The college thus far has been able to maintain affordable tuition and academic services. I will continue working with the administration to emphasize to our local legislators the critical nature of funding and advocate for the college’s fair share of state resources.

■ Low enrollment: The college is experiencing low enrollment due to low unemployment numbers. We must look at this as an opportunity to develop new innovative programs that will fulfill the career needs of our prospective students.

Hollinger: ■ Recruit students: Increase our reach to all ages through courses of interest, vocational programs and college credits and degrees.

■ Maximize state funds: Locate more state funds and increase donations through the Jefferson College Foundation.

■ Competitive compensation: Increase pay to keep our strong faculty and staff and attract more who are highly qualified.

■ Affordable tuition: Identify ways to cut costs to avoid increases.

■ Student success and goal achievement: More students become successful with increased focus on recruitment, faculty and funding.

Barnett: The biggest problems are being able to keep tuition costs down to provide an affordable but quality education, recruiting highly educated instructors and being able to pay them a salary that will ensure that they remain and changing programs to meet the needs of today’s fast-changing world.

Fortenberry: Financing future expansion and upgrades is essential and the safety and security of our students is paramount.

Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals, if elected.

Scaggs: I have been a trustee for 18 years. I know the history, culture and issues of the institution. I also have excellent relations with the faculty, staff and the administration. For the past several years, I have represented the board on the Jefferson College Foundation, which raises money to help students in need and provide financial support for projects on the campus.

Hargis: My qualifications and 30 years of experience as an educator are beneficial to the board. I have worked hard to support the college’s mission and be a strong student advocate. As a lifelong resident, I understand and respect the community’s values and do my best to represent it. My goals are to continue workforce development so that graduates are employable, encourage partnerships with public school districts, four-year universities and businesses and to review and develop programs to meet the needs and demands of the 21st century.

Hollinger: My leadership qualifications are excellent and desire to serve is solid.

I use my people skills, advanced degrees and corporate and small business experience for community betterment. My experience as an alderman, as current president of a homeowners association, 40-plus years as a Rotarian and service positions in more than a dozen organizations set me apart. While I appreciate the combined 36 years of service from incumbents, there comes time for a change. A vote for me is a vote for fresh leadership and thinking.

Barnett: I value education. It is the one thing that can change the course of your life. I have lived in the county all of my adult life. I was one of Jefferson College’s first students. I have turned to the college for guidance throughout my career. I have years of experience in leadership, team building, finance and education. I would like to give back to the college that shaped my life and helped to make my life successful.

Fortenberry: Elect me to provide traditional values in the decision-making processes for board and curriculum.


BURNSIDE, 84, lives at 709 Jerome Drive, Festus. He and his wife, Barbara, have one child and three grandchildren. He is retired after 43 years in the banking industry at Citizens Bank of Festus and Commerce Bank and from Wells Fargo, where he was a financial adviser for 20 years. He is a 1952 graduate of Festus High School, attended Washington University and graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Banking and University of Oklahoma commercial loan school.

Burnside served 30 years on the Festus R-6 Board of Education, was Festus treasurer for 12 years and is a former president of the Jefferson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, Twin City Area Chamber of Commerce and Festus-Crystal City Rotary Club.

VITTOE, 55, lives at 1403 Edgewood Drive, Festus. He has one child. A science teacher at Fox High School, Vittoe received an associate degree from Jefferson College in 1989, a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1990 from Southeast Missouri State University, an associate degree in accounting in 2010 from Ivy Tech Community College, a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from Purdue University in 2013, a master’s degree in education from Indiana University in 2015 and a master’s degree in space studies with a concentration in aerospace science from American Public University in 2019.

He worked for the college as a physics teacher, but his job was eliminated because of budget cuts. He was rehired to be the lab coordinator for the science department, but left because “it wasn’t a good fit,” he said.

He served two years as an elected member of the Central Indiana Mensa executive committee and has been a volunteer moderator on the American Mensa national website’s forums for about 10 years.

CHERRY, 91, lives at 9207 Ridge Road, Dittmer. He has two children and five grandchildren. He is a retired dentist. He received a dental degree from St. Louis University. He has been a member of the Jefferson County 911 Dispatch board for five years, of the Jefferson County Health Department board for six years and the Greater St. Louis Dental Society board for 12 years.

TUGGLE, 71, lives at 3766 Clearwood Drive, Eureka. She and her husband, Danny, have three children and three grandchildren. She is retired after being a co-owner of the House Springs Golf Course. She also worked for the JCPPC Insurance Co. She has attended school at St. Louis University and in Westerville, Ohio, and Dallas and studied art at Meramec Community College.

She served 13 years on the Northwest R-1 Board of Education, was president of the Northwest Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and Jefferson County Library Board and has been a member of the Rotary, the Hwy. 30 Foundation and the board of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jefferson County.

What are the biggest problems facing the college and how would you address them?

Burnside: ■ State funding. I would contact state representatives regarding evaluation of funding. A review of the local tax base may be done to determine if a tax increase would be necessary.

■ Review student tuition rate per credit hour.

■ Review and expand the technology school.

Vittoe: The biggest problem is not placing the students’ needs first. This includes proper budgeting, maintaining an effective faculty and staff and offering a wider variety of courses. I would strive to manage the budget more effectively by prioritizing items that directly benefit the student body. This includes supporting the full-time faculty and staff. A dedicated, experienced full-time faculty and staff provides the single greatest possible benefit for our students. I would want to increase the number of course offerings.

Cherry: Student tuition and student retention.

Tuggle: I would guess enrollment and housing would be a concern. I have heard that the swimming pool is a source of contention. I would need to be on the board to have an answer.

Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals, if elected.

Burnside: I will help to see that the college is in sound financial condition and that all students get a quality education at a fair cost to them and the taxpayers. My experience serving on education boards and my experience in the financial field would be of service to the college.

Vittoe: I have a great breadth of relevant work experience: 15 years managing business units with millions of dollars in annual revenue and up to 60 employees; seven years of corporate finance and accounting experience, overseeing cost centers with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. I am currently in my sixth year working in education, two as a full-time faculty member at Jefferson College. I also have the benefit of a broad educational background.

Cherry: Interest in government and desire to participate in education.

Tuggle: I negotiated getting Jefferson College to open a branch in the Northwest corridor. I would love to have the opportunity to be involved in getting a branch on the Hwy. 30 corridor again. Being on the college board and the Northwest R-1 Board of Education at the same time, I would make sure that Northwest students are taking advantage of opportunities offered by Jefferson College, which would benefit the college.