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Candidate Thomas Estlund for Raytown School Board

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Get To Know Thomas Estlund

The New Man Running In The Raytown School Board Election

At first glance, the long beard of Thomas Estlund may make you take a second glance.  But after just a few words, you find that the man behind this beard is a fatherly-figure, wise beyond his years.  Thomas Estlund is running for his first term on the Board of Education for Raytown Schools.  Estlund and wife, Bibi, have chosen to make Raytown their permanent home.  They have 4 small children that will attend Raytown Schools, so Estlund has a vested interest in improving the educational experience of all Raytown students.

Estlund has been an upper elementary school teacher in the Greater Kansas City area since graduating from Truman State University in Kirksville with a Bachelors in English, and his Master’s in Education.  Estlund’s experience in education includes being named Team Leader and Mentor Teacher, as well as speaking at state and national conferences.

Prior to his current position as a 4th grade teacher at Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology in Kansas City, Estlund taught 5th grade for three years and 1st grade for a year in Raytown.  In addition he taught in Kirksville for five years after graduation.  Corina Mann, parent of one of Estlund’s Raytown students said, “I found Mr. Estlund to be exciting and engaging.  He enjoys opening young minds to new experiences and encourages students to explore and question the world around them.”

New experiences that could be explored if Estlund is elected include a stronger sense of community.  Estlund plans to propose activities such as opening the gym for community use for an evening.  Another is allowing area residents to make use of the computer labs in our schools.  Estlund states, “The unfortunate consequence of streamlining processes within the social services of our government, is that those without computer access are left without the ability to communicate with those that can assist them.  Computers that are unused more than half of our typical daylight hours should open previously untapped opportunities to those that pay the taxes to provide them.”

Estlund’s first priority in office would be digging into district requirements regarding preparation for tests.  He would like to evaluate and then limit the amount of time dedicated to mandatory assessment preparation.  His experience in the classroom has taught him that a teacher who can focus time on building relationships with students and invests in instruction has the most success engaging the students.

The differences in the population of Raytown demand that teachers be culturally responsive in order to address the needs of each student on an individual basis.  Estlund is a lifelong learner and believes that teachers who lack cultural skills should be provided with the training needed to become the best teacher they can be.

Estlund fears that, “In our nation, as a whole, schools are becoming places where students are stifled, creativity is limited and there is no time for students to try things out with the freedom to be unsuccessful their first time.”  Thomas Edison is well known for believing that failure is a necessary part of learning, although he may not be the author of the following quote on the subject, it still rings true.  “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Estlund is certain that childhood is the time to learn lessons like these that shape who an individual becomes.

Mann also has this to say about Estlund’s run at the school board election, “He has a unique way of addressing an issue so that it can be viewed from multiple positions which encourages thoughtful discussion. As a teacher, Mr. Estlund has experienced firsthand the successes and challenges of our school district and I believe that he will use the knowledge gained from those experiences to bridge the gap between the classroom and the board room.”

The quintessential educator, Estlund is known for using Facebook to assign essays to his friends.  He feels that “the district should also be using the very latest in technology and social media to communicate with Raytown.”  You can check into Estlund’s Facebook page, Estlund for Raytown School Board, to learn more about him and his plans for the Raytown School District.

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