May 10, 2011

Azle High senior among school board candidates

Moses Druxman, 18, has three opponents in the race for Place 1; a trustee seeks re-election for Place 2.

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AZLE -- Moses Druxman has dedicated much of his life to public service.

And he's only 18.

Druxman, a senior at Azle High School, is a volunteer firefighter, serves on Azle school district committees and plays McGruff the Crime Dog for the Tarrant County constable's office.

He's also running for Place 1 on the Azle school board in Saturday's election.

"I know this district in and out and am a precious product of the school system," he said. "Being a recent student, I can bring an unusual and unique prospective to the board."

Druxman is facing three challengers: Dennis Kraft, a local business owner; Heather Pack, a financial analyst; and Scot Parnell, a former school trustee.

Druxman said maintaining quality programs during difficult financial times is his top priority.

"We have to do more with less funds," he said.

Kraft, an electrical engineer, is running for the school board for a third time.

The 64-year-old graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in mathematics and physics. He moved his electronics business, which mostly builds equipment for military aircraft, to the area 10 years ago.

He said he wants to focus on improving graduation rates and wants students to be more proficient in math and science. Kraft has been a judge in regional science fair competitions in recent years and said Azle is under-represented at such events.

"I see a lot of educational deficiencies in students today that I knew when I was their age," he said.

Kraft said budget cuts for schools aren't necessarily a bad thing if it makes them run more efficiently.

"I'm in favor of cutbacks, and I don't think education would be the worse for it," he said. "People will learn if they want to learn and if their teachers are good."

Pack, 30, grew up in Azle and attended Tarleton State University, where she earned a bachelor's in business administration. She moved back to Azle a year ago and said she wants to make sure children get the best education possible.

Pack has worked in accounting and finance the last five years and said she wants to use that knowledge to help the district tackle budget challenges.

"Teachers should always be the last thing we cut because without them we wouldn't have a great district," Pack said. "Luckily, Azle is one of the few districts already ahead for the next two years because we're not facing budget struggles as deep as others, so I hope we will not have to cut as many or even any programs as others are doing."

Parnell could not be reached for comment.

Place 2

In the Place 2 race, incumbent Erik Loeffelholz, 36, is seeking re-election against Clay Doyle, a data analyst.

Loeffelholz said accomplishments of the board during his three years as a trustee include hiring a new superintendent and maintaining a healthy fund balance for the district.

Loeffelholz graduated from Azle High School and attended Tarrant County College. He volunteers with the Azle Little League and Azle Education Foundation.

"We are now a few students shy of being exemplary district," Loeffelholz said. "As a whole -- in education and in fine arts and extracurricular activities -- we're moving in the right direction even with state budget shortfalls."

Doyle, 29, grew up in Azle and earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Tarleton State. He is a member of the American Painted Horse Association and is active with the Fort Worth Stock Show. He volunteers with the North Texas High School Rodeo Association.

He said he wants to provide fresh ideas to address budget challenges and to provide more support for teachers' authority.

"It's time for fresh ideas," Doyle said. "We need to look for different avenues of income to tap a source of new revenue or new ideas that are innovative. Every dime will help in the next two years."

Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700

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