Bonnstetter pledges to focus on students

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Trevor Bonnstetter
Trevor Bonnstetter

Gov. Steve Beshear appointed two new members – Trevor R. Bonnstetter of Mayfield and Grayson R. Boyd of Williamsport — to the Kentucky Board of Education in April. Bonnstetter will serve on the board through April 2016, and Boyd’s term is through April 2014. Kentucky Teacher recently posed questions to each of the new members. This week features Trevor Bonnstetter’s responses; Boyd’s responses will appear on July 23.

Bonnstetter serves as CEO of Telecom Management Services (TMS) that provides advanced telecommunications services to approximately 60,000 customers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. He has served as president of both the Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications Associations and serves on the board of directors of iRis Networks, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), and the Graves County Eagle Foundation. Bonnstetter earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mid-Continent University, an MBA from William Woods University and a Ph.D. in management from Walden University. He and his wife, Tami, have two children.

Why were you interested in serving on the Kentucky Board of Education?

It is said time and time again that the greatest asset we have is the children of our community. I truly believe this; without them there is no future. Serving on the board allows me to be a part of setting a path for growth and opportunity for the students of our state.

What impact do you hope to have on the board?

I have one goal in serving on the board and that is to be focused on the students.

What long-term goals do you have as a member of the board?

My long-term goal is to work with the board and commissioner to serve the children of the state by promoting education as the top priority that will lead to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s future success.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My first-grade teacher was the kindest most caring person I ever met in my life. I was more focused on recess and physical education at that time, and she always worked on redirecting me to the task at hand, whether it was the first thing that morning or right after school when we got home. Yes, when we got home, because the greatest teacher in my life was my mother, who served as my first-grade teacher and principal in a small school in Iowa.

Judge Phillip Shepherd, left, shakes hands with Trevor Bonnstetter, center, and Grayson Boyd after they were sworn in as members of the Kentucky Board of Education before the board's meeting in Frankfort. Photo by Amy Wallot, April 10 , 2013
Judge Phillip Shepherd, left, shakes hands with Trevor Bonnstetter, center, and Grayson Boyd after they were sworn in as members of the Kentucky Board of Education before the board’s meeting in Frankfort.
Photo by Amy Wallot, April 10 , 2013

How do you believe you can best serve teachers on the board?

I want to always honor and respect teachers. At our last board meeting, I could not stop thinking about the tornados that had hit in Oklahoma this spring. The stories of the teachers holding and protecting the young elementary students as the tornado hit never left my mind. It reminded me of my own children coming home from school after sirens had gone off during their school day and them telling me, “Dad, today the sirens went off and my teacher held me as I cried. I was so scared.” Teachers are paid to instruct our children, but they do so much more than that. Adults and parents should remember to honor and respect the job that they are doing.

Other than more money, what do Kentucky schools need most?

Do our children have access to the latest technology? The children need to have access to technology; it should not be limited to only those that can afford it. This is an area that we need to review closely. Family economics should not be a barrier to education.

What are the biggest obstacles facing Kentucky’s schools?

Are we all willing to put students first on the list?  When questions or changes take place, do the students remain number one on all the stakeholder’s lists?

What else do you want Kentucky’s past and current teachers to know about you?

Being a son of a retired teacher, I know the time and commitment it takes to do their jobs. I’m also a father of two Graves County students and would be lax if I did not thank  teachers and their colleagues for their service.

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