Meet the Candidates:

LPOSD school board trustee candidates answer questionnaire

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff
with SandpointOnline reporting

–ZONE 5–

Anita Perry

Anita Perry.

Anita Perry.

Age: 70

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: 12 years

Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? No.

How can the public contact you?


email: [email protected]

Phone: 208-255-5749


Education: • BA degree, dual major in Social Sciences and History from Cal State San Bernardino, in the teaching track.

• Post-baccalaureate coursework in Public Administration at Cal State Northridge.

Recent or pertinent employment history:

• Business manager/administrative analyst, School of Education, Cal State San Bernardino, for seven years.

• Police records manager, Rialto and San Bernardino Police Departments, California, for 13 years.

Any public offices held:

• Board member (Secretary) of Bonner County Republican Central Committee for two years

• Current Precinct Committeewoman, Bonner County Republican Central Committee, in Washington Precinct.

Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:

• 12-year member of Sandpoint Community Assistance League, including serving on the grants committee and volunteering at Bizarre Bazaar for many years.

• 12-year member of Bonner County Republican Women, including two years as president and eight years as board member, chairing or serving on various committees.

• Member of the Bonner County Property Rights Council appointed by County Commissioners, 2014.

What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board? 

I bring 20 years of management experience in public administration to the table. At Cal State San Bernardino, where the mission was to train, credential and prepare teachers and school administrators for their positions, I observed firsthand the importance of having qualified personnel enter those fields. I served on the faculty recruitment committee, hired and managed staff, administered the budget, and developed and oversaw the implementation of policies. As records manager at two large police departments I was responsible for hiring and managing clerical personnel, budgeting and developing departmental policies and procedures. In all positions, interaction and communication with the public, elected officials and other departments was an important part of the job.

Cary Kelly

Cary Kelly

Cary Kelly

Age: 75

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: 24 years

Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? Married 53 years, one daughter, one son. Five grandchildren, all attended public school in Sandpoint.

How can the public contact you? 

Website: CaryKellyFor

email: [email protected]

Phone: 208-946-6550


Education: BA Stanford University, Graduate Diploma, University of Stockholm, Sweden, Graduate Marine Command and Staff College, MEd Marymount University, Idaho Education Credential (Social Studies), Non-profit Leadership Course, University of Idaho (2017)

Recent or pertinent employment history:

28 years of military service, Naval Aviator, retired Marine Colonel, total of 22 years with Bonner County – 18 years with the Sheriff’s Office in the Marine Division (11 years supervisor) and four years as County Commissioner.

Any public offices held: Bonner County Commissioner 2013-2017

Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:

Board of Director for Panhandle Animal Shelter.

What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board? 

The experience of having served as the chairman of the Board of Bonner County Commissioners will be particularly valuable to the school board. Both organizations have many similarities: they are public identities governed by elected officials responsible to the residents, have large number of employees, budgets and are regulated to some degree by the state. There are, of course, differences between the county and the school district, but many of the problems are the same.

–ZONE 3–

Victoria Zeischegg

Victoria Zeischegg

Victoria Zeischegg

Age: 62

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: 7 years

Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? Married to Peter Zeischegg, five children. I am a parent of two children and stepparent of three. My children were educated in the public school system in northern California.

How can the public contact you? 


email: [email protected]

Phone: 208-477-1651


Education: BA degree from UC Berkeley

Recent or pertinent employment history: 

Managed our Chiropractic Office for 12 years currently manage our health and wellness website,

Any public offices held: Baldy Precinct Republican Committeewoman, State Committeewoman for the Bonner County Republican Central Committee

Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:

• Past board member of Angels Over Sandpoint

• 6 years on the board of Bonner County Republican Women, in my fifth year as president of that organization

• Member of the Bonner County Local Emergency Planning Committee

• Associate member of Priest Lake Search and Rescue

What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board?

Serving on the boards and committees here in Bonner County has given me the experience that is so important in the role of school district trustee. The trustee position requires the ability to work with others, even when there are differences and come to consensus for the best interest of the district. When my children were in grades K-12 I volunteered on a regular basis in their classrooms and booster clubs, served on the board of the Parent Teacher Organization, and when they were in high school served on the Principal’s Advisory Board.

Lonnie Williams

(Candidate responded to questionnaire but not within our deadline. We’ll run Mr. Williams’ responses in next week’s issue)

–ZONE 2–

Gary Suppiger

Gary Suppiger

Gary Suppiger

Age: 63

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: 25 year resident of Bonner County

Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? I have been married to my wife Sally for 26 years. Our children are Gerhart, age 24; Madeline, age 22; and Caroline, age 19, who attended LPOSD district schools from K-12. They all thrived in the classroom and outside the classroom. They were able to take challenging college preparatory classes. They participated in student leadership, band, art, academic competition, service clubs, and athletics. They chose to pursue education beyond high school, were admitted to selective colleges and are now pursuing careers. Their success would have not been possible without the education they received at LPOSD.

How can the public contact you? 

Web page:

email: [email protected]

Phone: 208-263-4603

Mobile: 208-290-5922


Education: Raised in Southern Illinois, attended public schools K-12

Duke University, Durham N.C., 1975. Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

Duke University, Durham N.C., 1977. Masters Degree in Forestry

Recent or pertinent employment history: 

Business ownership and management, Forest Products Manufacturing

Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:

Sagle Elementary School; fourth, fifth and sixth grade, Math Coach – 12 years

Boy Scouts of America; Troop 308, Ass’t Scoutmaster, Sandpoint – 6 years

Sandpoint Soccer Association; Head Coach for Sandpoint Strikers – 3 years

Sandpoint Soccer Association; Assistant Coach for Sandpoint Strikers – 3 years

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Finance Committee – 12 years

Cocolalla Lake Association; member and volunteer – 24 years

Coaching Recreational Soccer; Football, Baseball, and Basketball – 6 years

What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board? 

I am a small business owner and understand the definition of economy and value. In many ways education is a business. The students and taxpayers are entitled to a quality education, value and accountability for their investment. As a non-educator, I have a number of qualifications for the LPOSD school board. I have also served on a number of district level committees. These include curriculum, levy, and parent district coordinating, which I chaired.

Richard Miller

Richard Miller

Richard Miller

Age: Over 60 years old

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: Resides in Sagle; Bonner County property owner for 23 years

Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? My wife, Susan Arima-Miller and I have been married for 25 years. Our daughter, Brighten, is a successful graduate of the LPOSD. She graduated with honors from SHS and was awarded a scholarship from the University of Idaho where she is studying towards a career in speech pathology. GO VANDALS!

How can the public contact you? 

Facebook: RichardJMiller4LPOSD


email: [email protected]

Donations/address: 217 Cedar Street #170, Sandpoint, ID  83864

Phone:  208-255-6304


Education: I hold a Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and support and participate in several local causes.

Recent or pertinent employment history: 

I own and operate a small business, Dr. Splinter’s Woodworks, out of Sagle since 1997. My wife, Susan, has been practicing acupuncture in Sandpoint since 1999.

Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:

I currently serve as a Board member on the local Injectors’ Car Club. In addition to car shows and events, we believe in actively supporting our community with fundraisers to support hospice, Toys for Tots, the food Bank, Senior Center and Cancer Society. The Injectors also help SHS football team by assisting with the car for their annual Lost in the ‘50s car raffle.

What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board? 

I offer my 40 years of experience as a successful business owner and craftsman to guide and support P-Tech and the restoration of our aging schools facilities. Pro-education and fiscal responsibility supports both our students and community.


Here are a couple of questions to the candidates. For their full responses, please check the election page at:

1. Why are you running for trustee? How much time can you devote to board service?

AP: While our community is generally supportive of its schools, there is a deep divide when it comes to the school board’s decisions and actions. As “education watch dogs” trustees are on the front line of healing that divide through better communication with the community. I am retired and able to allocate as much time and effort as necessary to serving on the board.

CK: I am running for trustee because I think education is vitally important, and I believe I am the best qualified person for the job. Having just retired, I can devote as much time as necessary.

VZ: Unfortunately, there is a lot of discord in our community right now, and I am running for trustee to help heal that division and bring our district together to create a bright and sustainable future for LPOSD. I work from home running our health and wellness website. My work is part time and I have flexible hours. I plan to devote the time and energy to whatever the office of trustee requires.

GS: I am running for trustee because I am a firm believer in public education and am concerned about the future of education in this community. All my children graduated from SHS and are in college or beyond. I work full time running my business but without children at home have 10-plus hours per week to devote to board service.

RM: I have been a local specialty building contractor for over 20 years. Having worked with many contractors and businesses, a common theme emerges, lack of qualified motivated employee candidates for various areas of the trades. I am running to further promote and support a more flexible and responsive educational experience for those students who are not college bound but show aptitude and interest with tactile skills. I can devote at least five hours per week, more when required.

2. How many school board meetings have you attended this past year? How many schools in our district have you visited? Are you involved in other school activities? 

AP: For the last year and a half I have regularly attended school board meetings as well as several levy presentations by Superintendent Woodward. My interest in the school board goes back as far as the tenure of his predecessor, Superintendent Cvitanich, whose levy meetings I also attended. As president of the Bonner County Republican Women, our board awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a Sandpoint High School student, which I presented at Clark Fork High School. I’ve also attended sports events and regularly support student fundraising efforts.

CK: I have attended 1 board meeting and listened to three recordings of previous meetings since I retired from the county. I have been to every school in the district except for Southside. Also, I have been a substitute teacher at both Sandpoint High School and the Middle School. As commissioner I participated in the “mock interview” program at the high school the past three years. In addition, I have attended many functions at various schools in which my grandchildren participated.

VZ: I have attended four school board meetings in the past year, and have watched a few of the school board recordings online.  I attended a levy presentation by Superintendent Woodward and CFO Lisa Halls this past March. I have visited Farmin Stidwell School as a volunteer for the Ready for Kindergarten program when the Angels Over Sandpoint were helping, and to help with the Back Pack Program.

GS: I have been to three regular trustee meetings in the last year. Over the last 15 years I have been to many more. I have visited every school in the district I know most of the administrators. I have volunteered at Sagle Elementary for 12 years as the Math Team Coach. As coach I volunteer at the school twice a week from October through May and work with fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students who want to expand their math skills. We prepare for two competitions in the spring. The first is at SHS for all LPOSD elementary schools. The second is the Washington State Math Olympiad where we complete against teams from Spokane and all across Eastern Washington.

RM: Eight school board meetings. I have visited six area schools – SHS, SMS, Sagle, Washington and Farmin Stidwell Elementary. I support and have attended football, soccer and la cross games as well as drama and musical performances and concerts as well as the many fundraisers to support these important activities.

3. Do you believe the district is doing a good job or poor job in educating students? Why?

AP: LPOSD’s recent awards and academic performance ratings in preparing students for college point to a job well done. But we can do better in the area of training students for jobs in trades and other non-college-related fields that fit within the local economy. Specifically, employers in the service and manufacturing sector speak of difficulty finding employees with basic work ethic and job skills.

CK: I think the district is doing an excellent job of educating our students. I follow the progress of my grandkids through the schools here, and I am very pleased with the results. Two are in college now, one is headed to college next year and then another one the next year.

VZ: Yes, however we can do better. We need additional focus in training and education for those kids that are not college-bound. There is a need for training for what will be our local workforce. I’ve heard from a number of local employers, especially in the manufacturing sector, that are having a difficult time finding employees with even basic skills.

GS: The current Board of Trustees and administration of LPOSD are guiding our district well and have us in an excellent position. Graduating students are succeeding. We are doing well with reviews including audits, accreditation and performance rankings. Our relationship with the community, state and teachers is positive. The state is finally increasing funding for K-12 education. Our district is thriving but, there is always room for improvement. My agenda as a trustee would be even greater academic excellence, more public involvement and accountability. Budgets must be compressed into a format that patrons can understand. The district must be more transparent with its planning, budgeting and decision-making. Every program must be accountable for its success. I want our graduates, whether they are going into the work force, military or vocational, technical or academic institutions, to be prepared for the careers of the 21st century. I seek this position to contribute in recognition for everything LPOSD has done for me, my family, and our community.

RM: In academics, relatively yes. However, in other areas of preparing our students to succeed in practical life applications, this can be greatly improved.

4. The recent $17 million supplemental instructional levy passed March 14, with 64% voting in favor. Did you vote for or against this levy, and why? 

AP: I supported the existing $15.7 million levy after attending all of the school board meetings during which the levy was discussed. I am aware that the state does not fully fund education and that therefore supplemental levies are a necessity, but I came away from these meetings with the conviction that some of the justifications for this particular levy were questionable. One of the seven options on the table during the discussions was the retention of the existing $15.7 million levy. That is the option I supported, and I believe that it would have passed without opposition by the community.

CK: I voted for the levy and strongly supported it. I voted for it because the state of Idaho does not adequately finance public education.

VZ: I understand the state does not fully fund education and a supplemental levy is necessary. I support a $15.7 million supplemental levy.

GS: I did support the $17 million supplemental instruction levy. Our state does not adequately support K-12 education. The 2017 state legislative has just increased education funding by 6.5 percent which brings the state contribution up to the levels of 2009, before the recession. We rank 49th or 50th in the nation in what our Legislature provides per student for K-12 education. Our district and over 80 percent of the districts in the state depend on our patrons to support a local levy to provide the balance of the necessary resources. LPOSD has grown to depend on the local levy for 30 percent of its resources. Without these funds rural schools would close, class sizes would go up by 50 percent, important curriculum and programs would be lost and all extracurricular activities would be dropped. Without these levy funds the district would be a shell of what it is now and the looser would be the most vulnerable with the smallest voices, the kids.

RM: Zone 2 voted 57 percent against this levy. Their reasons varied:

a. Lack of budget transparency

b. School maintenance deferred 10 years

c. Why the district runs levies off normal voting cycle at a cost of $75,000 each time they run their special election. The county taxpayers are paying for this in addition to any levy amounts.

For more questions and answers from the candidates, see:

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