By Gail Peckler-Dziki~Correspondent

The Central High School board filled two vacancies. One was left when Henry Billingsley passed, the other became vacant when Don Kurtz filed for non-candidacy and no one filed papers for the election. Scott Thompson filed as a registered write-in candidate and won the election but for personal reasons had decided not to fill the seat.

John Holloway was chosen to fill the seat left vacant by Billingsley. Holloway is form Paris and has three central students. His daughter Leah is a senior and twin sons Jarrod and Matthew are sophomores.

Holloway’s long-term relationship with Central began when his dad, Floyd, helped form the school district and then served on the board for 27 years.

Early on, Holloway was co-chair of the facility committee and has been involved with organizing music on the Borders, an event that supports Central’s band program.

Holloway has served as Paris town chair and currently sits on the Paris plan commission, so he is no stranger to local government. Wife Leslie was president of Paris Grade School board for nine years.

He also served on the boar of directors for Landmark Service Co-operative, a farm supply company and is president of Paris Mutual which carries fire and wind insurance.

“Being part of the Central board has been very positive,” Holloway said. “Dr. Pierce and the other board members have been very welcoming and very good at explaining what I need to know.”

Steven Richter was chosen to fill the Bristol seat. Richter has lived in Bristol for 18 years. His oldest son is 21 and graduated from Central and Richter was involved as part of the Booster Club since his son was involved in sports. Currently, his son Scott is a junior at Central. His wife Debbie teaches in the Beach Park School District in Beach Park, Illinois.

Richter has spent the last 12 years as the director of student services at Zion-Benton Township High School in Illinois.

“I oversee many areas,” he explained in a recent telephone interview, “from counseling to social workers to ELL (English language learners) to college and career planning.”

Prior to that, he taught in the special education department and was the special education director at Zion-Benton.

“My experience with Central as a parent has been very positive, from the curriculum to transportation to the special needs program, since I have a special needs students,” he said.

He believes his experience in education will be an asset to the board. “The school is going in the right direction,” Richter commented. “The board works well together and the district has a long-range plan and I will be happy to be part of the team that supports that plan.”

“I have been involved at the school since the time when there were no bleachers and now that has changed,” he said. “I have seen positive changes at Central but I know there are still some facility concerns.”

He also noted that Act 10 creates some fiscal challenges for the district as well as the federal program, Common Core. “I think there are ways to make sure that Central meets Common Core requirements, which concentrate more on skills rather than content.”

“Central does a good job of making sure students are college/career ready,” Richter said. “I look forward to being part of that on the board.”


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