Democracy 2022:

Meet the SACS School Board Candidates


Stephanie Veit:

Stephanie Veit currently works at the Fort Wayne International Airport in business development and manages the real estate the airport owns for development.. Previously, she worked for 3 ½ years at Hagerman Construction and 16 years at 3 Rivers Credit Union in Finance. Veit’s priorities as a board member would be “managing infrastructure and growth for the district, increasing parent involvement and increasing community involvement.” Veit explained, “In the state of Indiana, school boards do three things: hire and fire superintendents, manage infrastructure and change policy. I think I could manage construction and growth. I would also focus on advocating for more parent involvement, preparing students for postsecondary options, emphasis on companies.” 

When it comes to SACS’s growth and construction, Veit said, “Administrators aren’t real estate or construction people. We’ll really have to rely on experts and the board. I think I can bring that to the table, as I’ve worked in construction. The board will need to be transparent.” 

When asked about mental health, Veit said, “This is a big one for me. I’m really going to be an advocate for mental health professionals in our schools. We need professionals in our schools, in high school at minimum. Mental health is a problem in our community, state and society. Parents need to be super engaged, and if we don’t have someone in the district in the thick of things, we don’t have counselors with resources. It needs to happen then and there, not later. I’m going to be a huge advocate for mental health care in the schools.” 

Nationwide, school boards are facing accusations of schools cutting parents out of their children’s education. Veit’s stance on parental involvement is that “parents should be involved in every part of their child’s education. Right now, every parent has access to the curriculum through Canvas. It’s not up to teachers to pass information out, and we have opt-out policies. I think parents should be involved and if they’re not happy, talk one-on-one to teachers. I just think parents need to be involved and open and honest and transparent with teachers instead of going to the board first.” 

In the political realm, when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Veit said, “I’m not an educator, so I don’t know how or what that should be taught or not taught. Education is not the world that I live in. I would lean on an expert and ask what the best way to address this is.” She answered a follow-up question about whether she would support transgender bathrooms with, “I don’t know. From an actual building/architecture standpoint, I would lean on what other schools are doing and what has/hasn’t worked. I don’t live in that world of those kinds of decisions. I think we need to make sure that everyone feels comfortable, I don’t know the need/want without asking for experts. I would ask people that have done it and ask students with those needs in the district.”


Amanda Tokos:

Amanda Tokos currently owns and operates a franchise-brokering company, helping people across the country get into business. For the past 12 years, she owned and operated five businesses, four of which she no longer owns. Prior to that, she worked in law enforcement on the court’s side in probation for about 15 years. Tokos’ priorities as a board member would be to “make sure that programs are helping our children, and that our funding is being used in accordance with the guidelines. I would like to have a returned focus on academics rather than ideological content and politics, and I would also like to empower our teachers by restoring some level of discipline in the classrooms.” 

When it comes to SACS’s growth and construction, Tokos said, “It’s important that we fully understand the projections and be able to meet the needs of the students in our community. Anytime we have growth, there’ll be a little bit of pain, but as long as we’re listening to students, faculty and constituents, then we’ll find solutions that will adequately appease the majority of people.” 

When asked about mental health, Tokos said, “I believe that the school oftentimes is put in a position where they become aware of mental health issues with students, and as a result, they have to respond, which is nothing new. Teachers have done an amazing job for quite some time working with children from all sorts of backgrounds but they’re not mental health counselors, and they should not be required to assume the responsibility of a counselor.” She also said, “I was happy that SACS extended Crosswinds’ contract so that students would have the opportunity to get mental health care for free. I do not believe that schools should be doing mental health assessments or that it should be a platform for medication, management and other more in-depth mental health treatment.” 

Tokos’ stance on parental involvement is that “parents have a fundamental right and responsibility to be involved with their children’s education. I believe that the schools have a responsibility to provide the parents with any information related to the education of their child. I think that we could definitely find a better way to do things to make everyone happy. My intent would never be to burden and overwhelm teachers or admin by micromanaging their profession.” 

In the political realm, when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Tokos said, “If employees of SACS cannot figure out how to be inclusive of all students and teach them all with the same level of respect and value without glorifying sexual orientation, then perhaps they’re in the wrong profession. I don’t believe that schools have any right whatsoever to promote or affirm any child’s sexual orientation. This is a very serious topic, and I think that by allowing this ideological-based practices into our schools, we are going to harm our children. Students should not know the sexual orientation or political affiliation of their teachers. And adults should not be discussing sexual orientation with minors.” She answered a follow up question about whether she would support transgender bathrooms with, “No, no, and no.”


Kim Moppert:

Kim Moppert is a former SACS teacher, having taught grades 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 as well as gifted grades. She took a 15-year hiatus to open a bookstore, during which time she served on the National Board of American Booksellers for Children. She also served on Bishop Luers school board for six years. Moppert’s priority as a board member would be to “understand the best educational research, so I can be more persuasive about some things. The most important thing is to do what’s best for kids and teachers.” Moppert also said, “For the most part, you have business people on the board but to have someone that is actually in education and loves to learn and research about what’s best for kids, I think that’s a skill set that school boards need.” 

When it comes to SACS’s growth and construction, Moppert said, “I don’t know that as a board member, you can address this on your own. We have been behind and are crammed to the rafters at Covington. There would be a push to get things going for younger kids.” 

When asked about mental health, Moppert said, “Parents should be involved with their child’s mental health, absolutely. As an educator, you have children in your classroom from all different backgrounds. If there’s an issue, you can discuss it as a class. Crosswinds did a wonderful job with a student I had. I think we’re doing a pretty good job of trying to help students, and as far as parents, my child is my child and I wouldn’t want anything happening that I wasn’t aware of.” 

Moppert’s stance on parental involvement is that “parents always have the ultimate power. You can always decide to send your child somewhere else. As a teacher, you have to respect parents in the sense that when you have a class full of children, there’s a wide variety of what they know. Walk the line and remember your boundary; don’t overstep into parenting. I just have felt that this was always important. If something is going on, as a parent, I would want to know about it. Board meetings are a place to healthily share your opinions, but start with the teacher, go to the principal, then the school board. You have to be proactive as a parent.” 

In the political realm, when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Moppert said, “I think they have taken this LGBTQ and gender identity and politicized this, which is not fair to students who might have been gender dysphoric. Gender dysphoria only affects 1/100th of a percent of people. Politicizing this is doing a disservice to students. I think parents would have to agree to pronoun/name changes. I do not want to make it a political issue, because it’s a human issue.” She answered a follow up question about whether she would support transgender bathrooms with, “Transgender would have to have gone through parents. There are enough bathrooms in the school that don’t have a gender attached, so that could be a compromise. Compromise works but not until parents have been through the steps.”


Doug Copley:

Doug Copley is a current school board member, serving since late 2021 after the resignation of a board member. He has lived in SACS for 25 years and is the CEO of a national solar construction company. If re-elected, Copley’s priorities are “school safety; small class sizes help to attract people; raise money and perform construction on time and on budget, as well as mental health and safety.” Copley “loves the school corporation and takes great pride in the community.” 

When it comes to SACS’s growth and construction, Copley said, “My company does school construction around the country, which loans itself to understanding how to control costs and handle construction intelligently. We have to be strategic in how we build: do we add onto Summit, do we use land we own west of Covington or do we purchase land south of 24? If we have to purchase land, it’s extremely costly— we want to be able to look at the taxpayer and say that we’re responsible with their money.” Copley also said that “the board has been able to squash change order requests at Homestead and capped prices on the construction project, led by a team consisting of Brad Mills, Mark Gilpin, Park Ginder, Mark Snyder, the key contractors and me. My construction background is a big advantage.” 

When asked about mental health, Copley said, “It keeps me up at night. After Uvalde, I’m constantly thinking about it. The referendum is a big part of that—it will help on the mental health side by keeping 43 teachers and adding 26 more personnel including teachers, School Resource Officers and counselors. It is really important to be able to address that mental health issue early and quick. We are a leader around the state in so many areas, and we can be on the cutting edge of mental health and school safety. The biggest thing is the mental health side, where we need parents to monitor their kids on-line activity. The passing of the Yes for SACS referendum is as important as anything we do.”

Copley’s stance on parental involvement is that “I don’t want to see parents telling teachers how to teach a class, but I want parents to be involved and have input. For instance, do we have enough technology, too much technology, more or less textbooks, would the community support new construction and do we have enough discipline.  I also don’t want to limit parents’ access, and I think we should do things like stream board meetings. Having transparency and parent input is how we get better. We have to adapt and adjust to parents, teachers and students.” 

In the political realm, when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, Copley said, “I think it comes back to listening. Each school corporation has given their opinions on this. We listen to our customers, who are our parents: saying we don’t want non-traditional historical teaching and gender ideology in classrooms. We’re not going to keep everyone in a bubble, but we’re not going to advocate and support teaching that at an early age. Especially early age groups, and even middle school.” He answered a follow-up question about whether he would support transgender bathrooms with, “Sometimes someone is legitimately going through this, but 9/10 times it’s a guy clowning around with their buddies. We don’t want to spend time and money adding bathrooms that are open to all kids.  I believe we need to listen to the majority of parents who are telling us we need to have traditional values in SACS.”


Dawn Fritts:

Dawn Fritts could not be reached for comment.


SACS Referendum:

Another important item on the ballot this November is the SACS referendum. The referendum is a vote to reapprove or not reapprove the 15 cent rate per $100 home assessed value. Renewing the referendum provides funding to retain 43 classroom teachers, two guidance counselors, and one school police officer. It would also provide funding to add 14 classroom teachers, seven guidance counselors/social workers, two school police officers, one central office administrator, one support staff, and one alternative school administrator/counselor. All four candidates interviewed (Tokos, Copley, Veit and Moppert) support the 2022 SACS Referendum. More information about the referendum can be found on the SACS website under the “Referendum” tab.