Newcomer, two incumbents snag seats on Clark-Pleasant school board

One newcomer candidate who is a former teacher will join the Clark-Pleasant school board, while two incumbents retained their seats.

Current member Kimberly Crawford won a spot on the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. representing Pleasant Township with 35.5% of the vote in a four-way race for one seat. She defeated challengers Beatrice Dunn, Bryan Neer and Amber Treasure.

For the two seats representing Clark Township, incumbent Kent Beeson retained his seat on the school board, winning 32.8% of the vote. Newcomer Linda Polesel also snagged a seat with 38.1% of the vote, unseating school board member Craig Koch, who received 29.1% of the vote.

The five-member school board is responsible for setting the school district’s annual budget, approving teacher contracts, hiring and reviewing the superintendent, setting policies and procedures, and making decisions regarding construction projects and any school redistricting that may be necessary.

Crawford was appointed to the school board in 2021, and this was her first time going before voters in an election. She is an attorney, working as a contracts manager for Rolls Royce. Crawford has children in the Clark-Pleasant school district, and she said she chose to run for the board to better serve the community.

Her top goals include maintaining a strong financial position for the school corporation, increasing teacher and staff retention by boosting morale, and being a competitive employer. She also has said she wants to make Clark-Pleasant the school of choice for families.

Beeson was appointed to the current school board this year, after a previous member resigned. He is the owner of Beeson Mechanical in Whiteland, and is a former Whiteland Town Council member.

Beeson has three children in the Clark-Pleasant school system, and said he saw joining the school board as a way for him to continue giving back to the community.

His top goals for the district include focusing on best practices to attract and retain staff and teachers and ensuring the upcoming high school renovation stays on track and under budget. He also has said he wants to be, and influence others to be, an advocate for Clark-Pleasant to “make the school district the ideal public school corporation for our community.”

Polesel is a retired music teacher, who taught for nearly four decades at Clark Elementary School. She is also a Whiteland Community High School graduate.

As a first-time candidate, Polesel has said she was drawn to run because she wants to “provide the best possible education for my grandchildren and all of the children in the district.”

Some of her goals include ensuring that the primary duty of school is to teach students the basic skills, such as reading, writing and math; and she wants to help Clark-Pleasant remain fiscally responsible to provide tools needed for learning while also not wasting taxpayer dollars.

Polesel also has said she believes school curriculum should focus on teaching students to have a love of their country and “should teach that all are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution and the law.”

Polesel was endorsed by Purple for Parents Indiana and ran on a platform in strong opposition to teaching critical race theory, or CRT, and social-emotional learning, or SEL, in schools. She has said she believes CRT is rooted in Communism and “the school is not responsible for the heart and soul of the child” while teaching SEL.