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Overton cares about community

Ashli Overton has my support for the Mattoon School Board. I got to know Ashli when we served together on the school board from 2015-2017. During my 12 years on the school board, I can say Ashli was one of the very best board members. Ashli cares about the students, staff and the taxpayers of Mattoon and makes decisions that are fair to everyone.

Ashli and her husband, Chris, have a farm and own a small business. Their kids attended Williams Elementary School, Mattoon Middle School and Mattoon High School. They are good people that care about our schools and community.

Please vote for Ashli Overton for the Mattoon School Board on April 2nd.

Bob Miller, Mattoon

Larson improving school culture

I’m writing this letter today to show my support for Dr. Heidi Larson for Mattoon Community Unit District No. 2 for School Board.

Dr. Larson has been a professor of Counseling and Higher E at Eastern Illinois University for 14 years and a member of the Mattoon community for 20 years. She is an incredibly generous and kind person, someone who strives to both make herself better as well as those collaborating with her in various endeavors. As a teacher at our local secondary school, I first met Dr. Larson in 2013 as she worked to establish a new program at MHS to help improve school culture in many different aspects of our students’ lives.

Dr. Larson implemented the BIONIC (Believe It Or Not, I Care) program at Mattoon High School by working countless hours with our students to introduce them to an entirely new way of thinking about school and how we want to redefine the culture of our school. To be honest, I was at first a bit skeptical about the program and the benefits we would reap for our time, but with Dr. Larson’s guidance, we saw a huge improvement in many qualitative and quantitative aspects of life at MHS.

Dr. Larson guided our students on a path to leadership and ownership that they would have otherwise not discovered at so early an age. She gave them opportunities for productive struggle early in their development that many of my former students acknowledge to this day have prepared them for a successful future. She provided the groundwork for showing empathy in ways that students have an incredibly difficult time doing at that point in their lives. Perhaps most importantly, she provided a shining example to all of us who participated in her program and struggled through some of the more challenging parts with us as we all worked together to make MHS a better place.

One point that may get lost in the shuffle here is that this great program could have been employed in one of several area schools. Smaller schools like Sullivan, Windsor, or Okaw Valley would have been more appealing because the number of students at those institutions would have made it much more manageable to effectively employ the strategies associated with the program. Charleston certainly would have been more practical based on its relative location to Eastern. In short, Dr. Larson has already made Mattoon schools better in ways that the average voter may not even realize, but she could have easily put her time, resources, and energy to work elsewhere. However, she chose us. And I suggest we choose her.

Eric Sinclair, Indianapolis

Larson has passion for education

I am writing to support Dr. Heidi Larson for Mattoon school board. I first met Heidi several years ago when she was employed with the local sexual assault counseling center (SACIS). I was teaching criminal justice classes for Lake Land College at the Kluthe Center in Effingham, and Heidi would attend as a guest speaker each semester. She never asked for compensation of any kind, rather she was simply interested in helping to educate my students about an important service.

Heidi has continued that passion for educating others as her career has continued over the years. She earned a doctorate degree and is a professor at EIU, she served as a member of the school board at St. John’s Lutheran School and she founded the B.I.O.N.I.C. mentoring program at Mattoon High School. She is also involved with many community organizations and is a small business owner. Heidi is passionate about education, and she will be an advocate for quality education and student success. For those reasons I am voting for Heidi Larson for Mattoon School Board.

Randy Ervin, Mattoon

Larson right choice for school board

Heidi Larson will be receiving my vote for Mattoon school board on April 2. My family has known Heidi and her family for several years now. Our children attend school together as well as church. I had the pleasure of serving on an educational board with Heidi. During our time serving together Heidi brought many insights and ideas to the board that proved to be very successful.

She is an outstanding candidate for the Mattoon school board given her experience in the education field. Heidi will always bring new perspectives while putting the needs of our students first! Heidi is a dedicated member of this community. Her BIONIC program at the High school has been an extremely sought after honor to be involved with and a very successful program.

I can’t think of a better candidate for our school board. Please join me in support for Heidi Larson for Mattoon school board on April 2.

Andrea Walker, Mattoon

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