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Caldwell School District candidates:

  • Zone 2 - Manuel J. Godina
  • Zone 2 - Dan Kener
  • Zone 4 - Andrew Butler 
  • Zone 4 - Charles Stout

Zone 2 candidate: Manuel Godina

Manuel Godina

Manuel Godina

Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime? Not as an adult.

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy for yourself or for your business? No.

Occupation and relevant work experience: I work in dispatch and customer service for Norco, Inc. I have been with Norco since 2012. Previously I was a branch manager and have experience with team building and cross-team collaboration.

In addition, I worked closely with the school system as my three daughters attended Caldwell Schools. My oldest is now a graduate of the College of Idaho, my middle daughter attends the College of Western Idaho, and my youngest is a sixth grader at Jefferson.

I worked directly with students while coaching softball. As coach, I got to see students grow as athletes and as people.

Past political experience: None.

Endorsements: Endorsed by the Caldwell Education Association

Why are you running for this office? I’ve seen the Caldwell School District work for my family and my three children and I’m running to ensure every Caldwell child has an experience that works for them, whether that be career training or college readiness.

I grew up working in the fields with my family. I want the kids in our schools to have opportunities that I didn’t have. I want them to graduate ready to take on the world.

What are your top three priorities if elected? If elected my top three priorities are ensuring students have the support they need to achieve their personal goals, attracting and retaining great teachers, and preparing for continued growth, I want every child to have skills that will make them successful adults. I want them to be involved and aware of the growth they are making. I want to see students prepared for what they want to do, whether for college or for a trade.

Our teachers do the hard work of preparing our students for their futures. I want teachers involved in policies. I want to include them in planning; I want the board to listen to what they have to say. They have day-to-day experience with our kids.

And, at the last school board meeting Dr. French discussed the growth expected in Caldwell. We need to be pro-active. I don’t want teachers to have more than 28 to 30 students in a class. Smaller class sizes make it possible for all kids to be heard and seen by their teachers. It adds to the motivation of both student and teacher.

Why should voters select you over your opponents? I am hard working, focused on my family, dedicated to our community, and want to give back by being a role model to kids in our community who haven’t seen someone like me in our elected leadership. We have a vibrant, interesting, and diverse city and our elected leadership should reflect that.

I was born here in Caldwell and have raised my three daughters here. Over the years I have built a large network of connections to the different communities in Caldwell. As a result, I can listen to and represent Caldwell parents.

I have been focused on the success of my kids. I think of myself as just like so many parents in Caldwell – primarily concerned that my kids get the opportunities that I didn’t, and that they have everything they need to achieve their goals. I believe that gives me the perspective needed to be a good School Board Trustee.

What education-related issue is on the top of your wish list for state lawmakers to address next session, and what changes would you like to see? We need to keep our talented, experienced teachers in our community. Having teachers who have been in our school system for years and are dedicated to our kids and the success of our community helps make our community strong. As it is, pay for our experienced teachers is low and veteran teachers are leaving our community.

The legislature needs to support school districts by increasing pay for veteran teachers. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction has proposed raising veteran teacher pay in 2020 and I support her proposal.

Are you happy with the school district’s current direction? Why or why not? I am happy with the work of the current school board and the direction of our school district. In particular, we now have full-day kindergarten for all students, which is a great step forward. I’m not running to make major changes, but to help keep our schools

strong and to help prepare for the growth that is coming to Caldwell. I also want to strategize on how we can improve our student’s test scores. The scores are still low in a lot of areas of the district. The school district is headed in the right direction and there is always room for improvement.


Zone 2 candidate: Dan Kener

Dan Kener

Dan Kener

  • Age: 52
  • Education: B.S. Utah State University
  • Website: None
  • Bankruptcies or misdemeanor/felony convictions? No

Occupation and relevant work experience: I have worked in the Ag-Retail business for 27 years, 24 of those with the same company.

Past political experience: None

Endorsements: Jim Rice

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Why are you running for this office? I want to give back to our community. I believe that education is important and that all of our children deserve a quality education along with opportunities and experiences that will help students be prepared to become contributors in our community. I know the importance of giving back and volunteering to make sure the youth in our community have the same the opportunities we enjoyed. I also understand many of the challenges teachers face today as my wife is an educator in a neighboring school district. It is vital that we support our teachers through continuing education and professional development.

What are your top three priorities if elected? (no answer)

Why should voters select you over your opponents? I am the right candidate for this position because I have a lot of experience solving problems, making difficult decisions and building coalitions. I want to help make the Caldwell schools a great place for the youth in my neighborhood and in the community as a whole.

What education-related issue is on the top of your wish list for state lawmakers to address next session, and what changes would you like to see? (no answer)

Are you happy with the school district’s current direction? Why or why not? I feel like the Caldwell school district is headed in a good direction and I would like to help that continue.


Zone 4 candidate: Andrew Butler

Andrew Butler

Andrew Butler

  • Age: 37
  • Education: Holliston High School 2001 (Massachusetts), Snow College 2005 (Utah), AAS Building Construction and Construction Management, AAS Traditional Building Skills
  • Bankruptcies or misdemeanor/felony convictions? No

Occupation and relevant work experience: I am a third generation Custom Cabinet and Furniture maker with broad training in historical preservation and restoration.

Past political experience: None

Endorsements: None

Why are you running for this office? I have always wanted my kids to have the same opportunities that I had growing up. It is my desire to be a board Trustee to ensure my children will receive the best education possible. I believe that you get out of education the effort that you put in. However, it is up to the parents and educators to make sure the needs of every individual can be met and create an environment where each student can achieve their potential

What are your top three priorities if elected? The first thing that comes to mind with public education is lack of funding. Funding our classrooms properly will give teachers the necessary tools they need to teach the curriculum to the best of their abilities. Also, we need to create an environment in our district that will attract teachers and keep them here long term so that our students can count on stability in the classroom. One subject that is close to my heart is the growing skills gap in this country. I believe that we can bring back our skilled trades programs and help all our students find success in whatever capacity they choose.

Why should voters select you over your opponents? Having my own children attend Caldwell Schools for the next 15 years increases my devotion to the future of the district.

What education-related issue is on the top of your wish list for state lawmakers to address next session, and what changes would you like to see? We cannot continue to look to property tax levies to fund schools. The legislature should seek a permanent funding formula that accounts for growth needs, infrastructure, class size, and ongoing operations.

Are you happy with the school district’s current direction? Why or why not? The quick answer is no, that is why I have decided to run. I believe in working harder and smarter, but I see our teachers leaving the district for a variety of reasons and I know they are working as hard as they can on behalf of students. I see some Trustees trying to be innovative and some looking for ways to maintain the status quo. It’s time for change. I believe I can be that change agent to move Caldwell district to the next step.


Zone 4 candidate: Charles Stout

Chuck Stout

Charles "Chuck" Stout

  • Age: 63
  • Education: Graduate Vallivue High School, WBMA business curriculum
  • Bankruptcies or misdemeanor/felony convictions? No

Occupation and relevant work experience: Sales Representative for local lumber company. Duties include customer service, preparing estimates, working with contracts and financial institutions.

Past political experience: 8 years Caldwell School Board Trustee. President of Western Building Materials Association (multi-state lumber association)

Endorsements: Jim Rice, Carol McCloy Retired Educator, Casey Vorhees Executive Director Western Building Material Association.

Why are you running for this office? As a member of the Caldwell School Board for the past 8 years, I believe stability at all levels in our district is the key to excellence. A stable board, superintendent and administrators leads to stability and longevity for teachers and creates an environment for students to succeed.

What are your top three priorities if elected? Students – curriculum, resources, and all programs they participate in. Retaining teachers and working towards a prosperous environment for them to be successful. Financial stability in our district. During my time on the school board we have passed all levies with community support while lowering the tax levy rate.

Why should voters select you over your opponents? As a trustee for the past 8 years I have had many hours of training from the ISBA on how high achieving School Boards operate. I have learned the proper role of a school board is to not interfere with our schools but to give support and direction. I have spent many hours with the legislature working with our law makers to explain the needs of our students and teachers. I have lobbied for funding for those needs. I have also worked hard to build relationships with community members, business leaders, and city and state government to make sure our district has the tools they need to continue to move forward and thrive. I have an effective and positive working relationship with the administration and board.

What education-related issue is on the top of your wish list for state lawmakers to address next session, and what changes would you like to see? Funding – I would like to see more funding for students, teachers’ salaries and benefits, curriculum and classroom resources. I would also like to see an increase in funding for district facilities. Ultimately there would be less need for supplemental levies and plant facility levies, if we continue to manage our funds well and are supported appropriately by the legislature.

Are you happy with the school district’s current direction? Why or why not? I feel good about the current direction of the school district, we have a long-range plan that guides us moving forward, this plan is addressed annually to measure effectiveness. We continue to support and look for ways to expand college and career readiness, vocational education and other programs that will prepare our students for the future.


Editor's note: The Idaho Press invited candidates in contested races to complete a survey over email. We ran all of the responses we received.

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