Part A. The Personal Side of the Candidate

7th Ward Independent Democrats 2015 St. Louis School Board Candidates Survey Results

Part B. Candidate’s Views Responses here.

Part A. The Personal Side of the Candidate. These are the Get to Know the candidates as persons questions.

In Filing Order

A1) Higher Education- Degree/School/City/Year Graduated

Natalie A. Vowell: B.S., Computer Engineering & Music Theory, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: B.S., Business Administration, St. Louis University, 1993; B.S., Criminal Justice, St. Louis University 1998
Katherine Wessling: B.A. English Economics cum laude, 1993, Truman State University; J.D. Washington University School of Law 1996
Charli A. Cooksey: B.S., Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, 2009; M.S. Secondary Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis 12/2015
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A2) Elementary/Secondary Education: What kind of schools did you attend? a) Public Schools, b) Private Schools, c) Home Schooled, d) Combination __________ (describe)

Natalie A. Vowell: Public Schools
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Public Schools
Katherine Wessling: Public Schools
Charli A. Cooksey: Combination. Elementary/Middle- Public; High School-Private
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

 A3) Children: What kind of schools do/did your children attend? a) Public Schools, b) Private Schools, c) Home Schooled, d) Combination __________ (describe) e) No Children

Natalie A. Vowell: No Children
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Public Schools
Katherine Wessling: Public Schools
Charli A. Cooksey: No Children
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

 A4) Employment: Job Title/Employer/City/Years

Natalie A. Vowell: Executive Director, Project Raise The Roof, St. Louis City, 08/2013-Present; Host, “OverArching Issues,” 1380AM
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Small business consultant for minority/women owned businesses in construction industry, 2005-Presdent
Katherine Wessling: Managing Attorney, Crime Victim Advocacy Center, 2012-Present
Charli A. Cooksey: Executive Director and Co-Founder, inspireSTL, St. Louis City, 2011-Present
Joey C. Hollins:
Did Not Respond

A5) Are any members of your family (within third degree) employed by the St. Louis City Public Schools? If yes, describe relationship and how employed. Do not provide names. Example: Aunt, school teacher

Natalie A. Vowell: No
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: 2nd Cousin, Safety/Security Officer
Katherine Wessling: No
Charli A. Cooksey: No
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A6) Are any members of your family (within first degree) employed by another public school district? If yes, describe relationship, how employed, and county/state. Do not provide names. Example: Aunt, school teacher, Jackson County, Missouri

Natalie A. Vowell: No
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: No
Katherine Wessling: No
Charli A. Cooksey: No
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

 A7) Professional Memberships

Natalie A. Vowell: None
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Missouri School Board Association
Katherine Wessling: Women Lawyers’ Association; Truman State University Alumni Association
Charli A. Cooksey: Regional Business Council Young Professionals Network; St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellowship, Alumni
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A8) Neighborhood/Community/Civic/Political/Activist Affiliations/Memberships (50 words or less)

Natalie A. Vowell: Community service occupies my every waking moment!  Chair of Development for WITS’s (Web Innovations and Technology Services) Board; work with ACOPP (Assisting Children of Prison Parents); I’ve volunteered for Show-Me Cannabis and KDHX, assisted with Cherokee Cinco de Mayo People’s Joy Parade, and co-organized Tower Grove Pride since its inception.
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: None
Katherine Wessling: Girl Scout Neighborhood Chair and Troop Leader (2 troops); Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience PTO Treasurer; St. John’s Mercy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Parent Support volunteer
Charli A. Cooksey: O’Fallon Community Developing Organization; Young Citizens Council
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A9) Political Experience (50 words or less)

Natalie A. Vowell: In 2000, I canvassed and drove voters to the polls for Gore. In 2014, with a $1500 budget, I entered electoral politics to run for State Representative in the 78th District. Currently, I am a volunteer citizens’ lobbyist for social justice issues, and guide citizens to meet their legislators.
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Served 8 years on St. Louis City Board of Education
Katherine Wessling: I have served two terms as a School Board member. I do not have any political aspirations as I do not align with either of the two dominant political parties at this time.
Charli A. Cooksey: I volunteered on John Kerry’s presidential campaign in high school. I served as the Campus Coordinator for Obama’s first campaign. I ran for Waller County School Board in 2007. I worked on former Missouri State Representative Don Calloway’s campaign. I served on the executive committee for STL’s Young Dems.
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A10) Pets

Natalie A. Vowell: Rescue cat named Major. Rescue Pit Bull named Dressell.
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: None
Katherine Wessling: 2 rescue dogs: Ginger the lab mix and Buddy the min pin mix
Charli A. Cooksey: None
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A11) Name your favorite music genre (one) and favorite musician/band/symphony (one):

Natalie A. Vowell: Filmscore/Video Game Soundtracks, Tommy Halloran
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: Jazz, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald
Katherine Wessling: Happy/Dancing Music, Ed Sheeran
Charli A. Cooksey: Hip Hop, Amel Larrieux
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A12) St. Louis has magnificent education architecture. Name your favorite building in St. Louis City used currently or in the past as a school and why? (50 words or less)

Natalie A. Vowell: Carr School, in the Carr Square Neighborhood, is my favorite– even in its current state of neglect. It seems to warmly embrace the street corner, and I love the juxtaposition between angular brick and rounded arches. The Spanish tile roof, despite trees growing out of it, tops everything off beautifully.
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: There are so many wonderful educational buildings throughout St. Louis. I guess the one that attracts my attention more is Lafayette Elementary in Soulard. It’s a magnificent structure which is matched and blends with the neighborhood so magnificently.
Katherine Wessling: I am really excited that the old Wyman Elementary School will be getting new life next year as it is reopened as a high school. Aside from the stunning facade and proud look of the building, I love that it has green space, which so few of our schools have anymore. When one looks at the building and grounds, one senses that great things can happen in that building.
Charli A. Cooksey: Beaumont High School is my favorite building. It is a magnificently enormous, classic, and beautiful brick building that distinguishes itself from the rest of the buildings and homes on Natural Bridge. It is hard to overlook its brilliance as you drive down the street- it always catches my attention.
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

A13) Who was your favorite teacher and why? Do not provide name. Only describe. (50 words or less)

Natalie A. Vowell: My favorite teacher was my high school Asian Studies professor. I’ll always remember this quote (and theme of his class): “If anything is massively popular or massively unpopular, you owe it to yourself to experience it for yourself. Know your culture, and question everything. See the water you’re swimming in.”
Thomas R. Oldenburg: Did Not Respond
David L. Jackson, Jr.: I didn’t have a favorite teacher, but I did have very special and caring teachers and a very passionate and caring principal throughout my four-year of high school. Because of their sincere attention to my education and well-being, I am successful today because of their guidance and love.
Katherine Wessling: My high school Spanish teacher always stands out in my mind– she also taught the Senior current events class, since in a small rural school there is a lot of multitasking among the staff. She expected us to work and she expected us to think. I am grateful to her for her high expectations. It was pretty easy for me to get As in high school. I needed someone who made me work for it.
Charli A. Cooksey: Ms. Watts and Mr. Mayham greatly impacted my development. They were passionate about their craft. Teaching was an art for them and I felt like and artist. I painted a canvass intertwined of diverse experiences and perspectives while under their instruction. They cared about my educational success but also my development as a young lady.
Joey C. Hollins: Did Not Respond

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