Western Wayne News is contacting local candidates seeking election this fall in contested races to request they answer a questionnaire (all candidates for the same office receive the same questions). They were asked the following questions:

1. Please define the role of a school board member, from your perspective.

2. How do you feel your school district is responding to additional challenges presented by COVID-19?

3. Aside from COVID, what is THE most important issue facing your school system right now, and why? What can/will you do to make a difference?

4. Aside from COVID, what are the second and third most important issues you hope to address while on the board, and why?

5. Help voters understand what motivated you to run (again, if you’re an incumbent) for school board and why you are the best person for the job.


Keith Webster

Age: 55

Work experience: 

I’ve been a licensed funeral director since 1986. I formerly owned a funeral home in Madison, Indiana from 1996-2005. I relocated back to Fountain City to purchase Smith-McQuiston & Webster Funeral Home, which I co-own and operate with my wife Tricia. 


I am a 1983 graduate of Northeastern High School. I attended Vincennes University to study Mortuary Science and graduated in 1985. I later attended IUPUI and through ROTC was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army in 1989. My military service ended at the rank of Captain.

Elected offices previously held, including school board, and years: 

I formerly served on the New Garden Township Advisory Board, resigning in 2012. Since January 2013, I have served as the New Garden Township representative on the Northeastern Wayne School Corp Board of Trustees. I currently serve as board president.

Community involvement: 

I am currently not an active member of any community organizations. I enjoy attending local sporting and social events and supporting community needs, preferably anonymously.

Do you currently have children attending schools in this district? If so, how many and what grade(s) are they in? Or, if your children are grown and did attend this district, when did they graduate?

My daughter, Audrey, graduated NHS in 2012. She lives in south-central Indiana with her husband and two children.

My son, Charlie, graduated NHS in 2014. He lives in Alaska with his wife.

Contact information that may be published:

Student/School Board Member email account: kwebster@student.nws.k12.in.us

Personal email: funeralweb321@gmail.com 


1. Board members hire the district Superintendent and evaluate their performance. The Board acts on personnel recommendations and adopts policy with guidance from the corporation’s legal counsel.         Board members are part of a chain of command and are bound to conduct themselves with fairness, impartiality and confidentiality in all matters.  

2. Northeastern is responding well to very fluid challenges. That doesn’t mean everything is a piece of cake. Success is measured one day at a time by our stakeholders, all of whom carry a burden of heightened stress trying to educate and function in a potentially threatening environment. Pick a district. Everyone prays every day that their best effort is good enough to successfully continue to operate.  


3. SCHOOL SAFETY: Nationwide, crimes such as domestic violence, aggravated assault, murder and non-negligent homicide are all at a dramatic increase over last year (source: FBI crime data). It’s fair to assume that many of the issues that have contributed these increases are present within the homes our own students live in. 

   The schoolhouse is often the most stable, structured and secure environment our students have in their lives. 

   A heightened culture of lawless or antisocial behavior is less likely to grow where vigilance and zero-tolerance are present. We are fortunate to have two School Resource Officers on our main campus and our Early Learning Center sits adjacent to a police/fire facility. Those resources train regularly. Our School Safety Specialist was set to host a regional school safety training event when COVID shut things down.

   NWS will always be active in training its personnel and maintaining up-to-date safety plans.

4. FUNDING: Funding drives everything. I have attended many community forums to ask questions and get answers from legislators who represent Wayne County at the state level. Roughly 51% of Indiana’s budget goes toward education. That sounds like a lot but unfunded mandates and other factors threaten to break school budgets every year. By law, Indiana schools are prohibited from operating with a deficit. 

   A projected reduction in tax revenue in 2020 will challenge legislators to maintain current funding levels, which are already woefully near the bottom of the national ranking of education spending by state. The 2021 legislative session will be very important as it will determine state funding for the next two years.

   I will continue to work as an advocate for needed improvement in the process by which schools are funded.  

MORALE: In the past year, students, families, teachers and administrators have been asked to make sacrifices and perform at higher levels than ever before, with no promise of a firm return to what normalcy once felt like. We need to continue to encourage and support one another as we push through a difficult period.     

5. I chose to seek another term to support the new administrative team as they continue to move NWS forward. They are taking the reins of a school that has seen significant increases in the number of AP hours offered/earned as well as the number of technical education offerings to students through collaboration with area colleges and high schools. We now offer a stand-alone preschool, achieving a goal that took several years of prospecting before the right situation was presented.  I’m excited to support our teachers and administrators as they continue to build the next generation and make our district an attractive place that more families might choose to live and grow in.


Pat Barker

Age: 53

Work experience/former occupation if retired:

  • 2004 – Current B&B Construction Inc., President/Owner
  • 1986 – 2004 Indiana Department of Transportation, Unit Forman 


  • 1985 Graduate Richmond High School 

Elected offices previously held, including school board, and years: 

  • Wayne County 4-H Fair Committee  –  Treasurer and Track Chair  –  15 years 
  • Whitewater Valley REMC –  Nominating Committee – New Member  

Community involvement: 

  • Wayne County 4-H Fair 

Do you currently have children attending schools in this district? If so, how many and what grade(s) are they in? Or, if your children are grown and did attend this district, when did they graduate?

Two daughters, Northeastern Graduating Class of 2010 and 2014

Contact information that may be published (phone number, email, etc.)

Email address:  bbconstructors@aol.com


1. Partnering with the school administration, students, families, and community setting direction, positive structure, accountability, and providing support and leadership as advocates for our children and districts/public.  

2. This continues to be quite a challenge for all involved.  As a member of the community, many have shared the school has added several safety precautions for our students and academic personal that are attending classes in person.  With the smaller classroom attendees, due to students/parents that have elected to home school, wearing mask and space to separate students must be working for we have not had an outbreak in our school.  As for students/parents that have elected to keep their children home, the added challenges for teachers and parents to keep their student on track has been an open discussion to make sure those students do not fall behind.    

3. With the added stress of COVID-19, funding is always an open agenda item.   Keeping a balance between students/families/teachers/and administrations.  As the new elected board member, this would be a priority for me.  Funding should be held within our means without overcrowding the classrooms.  

4. Making sure spending is regulated, controlled and strategic to prevent increases in property taxes with our district.  

5. As a founder/owner of multiple businesses within the district for over 24 years, it would be an honor and privilege to use my business financial strengths, construction project management skills, and vision/leadership abilities to help facilitate a flourishing student body that exceeds all expectations, a strong community that supports and is proud of their school district, and a school board/administration that believes in upholding the highest expectations of themselves, accountability for all their actions, and openness to listen, act, and provide a solid and vibrant school system that stands out and is a front-runner in the county/state. 


Kristy Anderson

Age: 41


Work experience/former occupation if retired: Nurse for Richmond Community Schools, formerly with Reid Health


Education/training: Northeastern High School Graduate, Ivy Tech Graduate


Elected offices previously held, including school board, and years: none


Community involvement: Northeastern Elementary PTO (past president), Webster Wonder Workers 4-H Club (leader), Whitewater Valley REMC (member of Nominating Committee), LifeSpring Church (member)


Do you currently have children attending schools in this district? If so, how many and what grade(s) are they in? Or, if your children are grown and did attend this district, when did they graduate?:

Son, Clayton, in Miss Addington’s Fourth Grade Class at Northeastern Elementary


Contact information that may be published (phone number, email, etc.):


On Facebook at: Kristy Anderson for Northeastern School Board


1. A school board member makes decisions on behalf of the school system and acts as a liaison between the school system and the community they serve. School boards ensure the administrators are able to manage the schools, that teachers can effectively teach, and the students are supported and successful in their learning environment.  They adopt and oversee budgets and policies while ensuring the school system is achieving its goals. 

2. As a parent, I appreciated that surveys were sent to obtain input from parents about in person learning versus virtual learning. Since this is such an ever-changing situation, I believe the school has done a good job of giving parents options for their children and has adapted to the situation. They’ve worked with our local health department to ensure the wellness of our students and staff.  I would, however, like to explore options for teachers to ensure they have the time and resources they need to teach both in person and virtually.

3. School safety is the most important issue facing any school system currently. I will work to ensure our district has policies in place for keeping all students, staff and visitors safe while on our campus and are prepared should any crisis arise.  

4. Student success and budgets.

 I want to ensure student success by equipping students, parents and teachers with tools to keep the students in school by providing them with choices and opportunities to improve their school experience. I also want to work to ensure our budget stays balanced by doing the homework to make informed decisions when creating budgets and developing programs.

5. It is because of my son, and future generations, that I want to serve on the Northeastern School Board. I understand the joys and challenges our teachers face and as a school nurse, I see firsthand the challenges our children encounter. I realize that declining budgets, aging school facilities and changing demographics pose great challenges for our school system. But I’m ready to get involved and will ask questions of our administrators and do homework before casting votes. I will seek input and guidance as I make decisions on behalf of our great school system. I want Northeastern to remain the best school in east central Indiana. I want my son and my friend’s and family’s children to receive a quality K-12 education from Northeastern, just like I did.


Douglas Jay

Age: 57

Education/training obtained: Northeastern High School Graduate. Hands on training in business and financing for 40 years.

Work experience: Own and operate family farm for 40 years; own and operate a trucking company for 6 years

Elected offices previously held, including school board: Township Advisory Board for 4 years, Cargill Advisory Board 5 years. Wayne County Farm Service (FSA) Committee Board 4 years. Webster Cementary Board 11 or 12 years and school board member for 11 years.

Community involvement: Webster Cemetery

Do you currently have children attending schools in this district? If so, how many and what grade(s) are they in? Or, if your children are grown and did attend this district, when did they graduate?:

No, but I do have 2 grandsons that attend the Northeastern School District. They are in third grade and seventh grade. I have had three grown children graduate in Northeastern school district in 2013, 2016 and 2019.


1. The Board oversees and makes judgments on tough subject matters that aren’t controlled by state government.

2. Very well

3. Helping to support and rebuild all of major administration changes

4. Traffic light on U.S. 27 because of it being a dangerous situation. Also to continue to improve on education levels at Northeastern to prepare our students for their future.

5. To remain actively involved in our community. Due to my past experiences on the school board.

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