Saturday, October 4, 2014

Get to Know the Candidates: A Q&A w/ Brad Fennell, Fort Thomas Board of Education

Brad Fennell, incumbent, is running for re-election to the Fort Thomas Board of Education/Provided
This November, three members of the Fort Thomas Board of Education are up for re-election. In addition to the incumbents, there are two challengers running for seats on the Board. As part of FTM's efforts to keep you, the Fort Thomas electorate, informed and prepared for the upcoming elections, the Q&A below is part of an ongoing series, "Get to Know the Candidates." Each participant is asked an identical set of questions.

Incumbent Brad Fennell is a life-long resident of Fort Thomas and, along with his wife and three of his four daughters, a Highlands High School alum (his youngest is currently a sophomore at HHS). He owns and operates Fennell Appraisal Service, Inc., a real estate appraisal and consultancy firm. Fennell has served on the Board of Education for four consecutive terms, and presently serves as Vice-Chair, after having served as Board Chair for two terms. He lives in Fort Thomas with his wife Nikki, and has four daughters, Mackenzie, Madison, Macy, and Meg.


FTM: What is your connection to Fort Thomas Schools and the Fort Thomas community at large? 


BF: I am a lifelong resident of Fort Thomas (HHS Class of 82), as is my wife Nikki (Roberts) Fennell (Class of 1986).  I have 4 daughters Mackenzie (Class of 2008), Madison (Class of 2010), Macy (Class of 2014), and Meg (current sophomore).

I've owned a business in Fort Thomas for 25 years, Fennell Appraisal Service, Inc. Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants.  I'm a current incumbent, senior member, serving in my 16th year.  I'm presently the Vice-Chair and have served as the Board Chair twice.  

What brought you to take on Board service?

When I ran for the board some 16 years ago the Fort Thomas School System was at a crucial crossroads.  All of our facilities were in fair to poor condition.  New construction of a middle school was being discussed. I felt my expertise in real estate and as a business owner could be vital. I recognized that there is a direct correlation between the schools, property values and the overall viability of our city.  Working as a team with city leaders and the community important changes have occurred during my tenure resulting in high quality facilities and a high quality education for our students.  Being a public school system funded by taxpayer dollars, the community deserves open communication and collaboration whenever and wherever possible.

What accomplishment during your time on the Board are you most proud of?

Over the span of 16 years, I'm quite proud of many of our accomplishments.  Most notably we have renovated or built new a middle school, high school, Woodfill Elementary, Moyer Elementary is proposed in the very near future.  I fully expect Johnson Elementary to be on the radar screen shortly after Moyer. 

Additionally, we have been diligent in locating and hiring the finest Superintendents as needed.  One of the main duties of a board member is to be part of the team that hires the leader of the district. Our current superintendent, Gene Kirchner is the perfect blend of facilities, curriculum and community.  Gene has been stellar in creating cutting edge facilities upgrades and curriculum innovation.  In addition, a new digital platform is in process throughout the district. 

What, in your opinion, should the district do to address the continued challenge of obtaining funding and other support from the state and federal governments?

The current funding formula is inadequate and inequitable.  The board has discussed multiple options over the years including litigation.  Although a legal challenge may be warranted, I haven't been comfortable spending taxpayers dollars on litigation that we've been told has a low probability of success.  If re-elected I will continue to work with our legislators to resolve this.

With the excellent job of our administrators, educators and community The Fort Thomas School District is continually ranked among the top school systems in Kentucky and the United States. We will continue to encourage quality tuition students, as space allows, which consistently generate in the neighborhood of three-quarters of a million dollars annually and allow us to sustain and grow in other areas. 

What do you see as the District's top priority(ies) now and moving forward over the next four years and beyond?

We must continue our facilities plan to completion of all the schools.  Keeping a focus on a top level education, with better than average student/teacher ratios and course offerings as well as cutting edge technology will remain a priority. 

I'm very proud of all we've accomplished in my tenure. I look forward to continuing my work with the board team to complete existing projects and plan and implement new ones.

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