Jake Kunz

We are all lucky to live in Teton Valley, a place of unique quality of nature and people. The past three years of serving on the School Board as a Trustee have exposed me to many different citizens in this valley with varied world views. I have enjoyed this opportunity and am seeking re-election for Zone 4 Trustee in Teton School District 401.

As a parent of two students in the district, I feel the need to be involved in public education. My father and mother-in-law were long time employees of TSD 401. I clearly understand the difficulties staff, students, and parents face. I have a deep connection to Teton Valley. I want to see our children’s educational experience continue to grow in a responsible manner.

During my time on the board, I have been involved in many difficult yet rewarding issues, including: the mascot change, a major fraud crisis, multiple new school construction projects, hiring two new CFO’s, funding issues, mediation with the Teton Education Association, and COVID-19. While each of these situations were different, I approached each one with an unbiased view and did my absolute best to address the issue at hand whilst avoiding political or emotional influences.

Through even the most divisive issues, I have seen one common goal exhibited by all sides; to provide our children with a safe, progressive, and worthwhile educational experience. Our community has proven their continued commitment by providing the necessary funding for infrastructure to maintain a high level of education. Salaries and benefits are the district’s largest financial investment. As such, they are my top priorities, followed by curriculum and facilities. I clearly understand the financial difficulties of living in the valley, and am committed to trying to secure additional funding to support our robust staff.

In our schools we focus on the three R’s: Respectful, Responsible, and Ready. I believe as a board we should exemplify these virtues, and I will strive to do so even more in my next term. In the past, I have approached people who have different perspectives and opinions in a respectful manner. I will continue to shoulder the responsibility of educating our children with the seriousness and focus it deserves. This responsibility drives me to be knowledgeable on each issue so I can be ready to represent people’s needs and desires.

Learning the logistics of the district, board, and state have been a huge investment, making me better prepared to serve an additional term. If re-elected, my top three objectives would be: 1. Establishing a long term and sustainable funding source in order to avoid the continued political struggles and unknown for school funding, bringing it into local control, 2. Completing major infrastructure projects primarily focused on Driggs Elementary School and Victor Elementary School road projects, 3. Continuing to build and improve the district’s culture.

We currently face many opportunities and challenges, such as school funding, COVID-19, and preparing the next generation to be ready for their future. As a parent, a financial professional and business owner, coupled with my institutional knowledge and experience, I firmly believe I am the best candidate to continue to represent Zone 4.