This story has Unlimited Access. Please support our commitment to public service journalism. Subscribe now.

Voters in the Houston School District will elect two members to the board of education on April 5.

Jennifer Scheets and Jeff Gettys are the incumbents. A third candidate is Andrew “Andy” Wells.

The candidates completed questionnaires. Here is a look at them.


Tell us a little biographical information about yourself:

I am a 1999 graduate of Plato High School and I’m married to Jarid Scheets, a 1993 Houston Alumni.  I have lived in Houston for the past 20+ years and work as the Executive Director of the Houston Housing Authority, I am a real estate agent with VIP Properties, and my husband and I own/operate a business, Miller’s Grill, in Houston.  We have five daughters, Riley (19) who is a Houston Alumni; Katy Scheets (15) Freshman; Hally Scheets (13) 7th Grader; Charlie Jo Scheets (10) 4th Grader; and Ellie Scheets (8) 2nd Grader.  Our family owns a cattle farm just outside of Houston and we are actively involved in our community through several organizations including Bright Futures, Wellness Committee, Houston Booster Club, Career/Technical Education Program Advisory Committee, CSIP Committee and the Houston Chamber of Commerce.  Our family is rooted in this community and we love being a part of Houston!

Why are you running for the Houston Board of Education?

Jennifer Scheets

I’ve been very blessed to serve the Houston School District as a board member for the past seven years and look forward to the opportunity again. With that said, I am a mother of 5 (4 students still enrolled) and I am highly invested in the school system for the long haul.  I can say that I am very passionate about the public education that not only my kids are receiving, but the kids in our community.  I am motivated to work with our kids and for our kids, teachers, school administration, public officials and community to ensure our children are receiving the best education that they deserve and have all the resources available to them to strive.  I believe that our district has made huge strides in success and we’re going in the right direction to make even more things happen and I want to be a part of that.  I want to see EVERY student succeed.

What do you consider to be the current strengths of the district?

Our strong leadership teams are definitely one of our current strengths, as well as our open/active communication within the district.   Our district’s has a strong shared belief and value about what is possible for our students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach all children at a level to see them succeed.  Our district has an open door policy…if there is a problem; we want to know about it so we can address it.  We want families to feel welcome to come and discuss their children and any concerns.  We have a strong group of dedicated staff that work hard to make sure our children get the education they deserve.   

What are the areas most in need of improvement? How do you tackle it?

Increased teacher pay; additions to our trade school/CTE program; improvement to our facilities; Academic success (increase test scores); after school programs; improve our college/career readiness program; while I believe we have a great community/school relationship, there is always room for improvement to reach other members of our community and make a stronger bond with those members and get them more active in our school.

 The school district is considering a number of capital improvements across campus? Do you support these? And if so, which should receive priority?

Yes, I definitely support our capital improvements that the Houston School District is considering.  Our facilities definitely should receive priority on these.  We have some of our older facilities (Middle School Gym, classrooms, etc.) that need to be looked at and repaired.  As well as some of our outside facilities, like the track, need to be repaired to utilize it to the fullest potential through the school and our community needs.

What do you believe is the purpose of a school board member?

I believe the purpose of the school board members is to ensure that school districts are responsive to the values, beliefs and priorities of their communities.  We work for our community to make the best decisions for our children to provide them with the right tools to become productive individuals in society.  We set a direction; we establish an effective and efficient structure; provide support for our teachers, administration, students, and parents; we ensure accountability; and most importantly, we are advocates for our students, teachers, administration, and community. 


Tell us a little biographical information about yourself:

I am Jeff Gettys, and I would appreciate your vote on April 5 for Houston School Board. My wife and I both have strong ties to the community, having attended Houston School District from K-12th grade. We currently have three young children who we hope to see graduate from the district as well. Following high school, I attended the University of Missouri where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, followed by a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Missouri State University. 

Jeff Gettys

I have held multiple positions within state government, including five years at Missouri State University. Through my experience in higher education, I was able to recognize the skills and capabilities that students must acquire today in order to meet industry needs tomorrow. It was last March when I decided to leave the public sector in order to join Texas County Memorial Hospital, where I was named the Director of Projects and Foundation. This opportunity allows me to encourage growth in our local health system and implement improved healthcare resources for our community.

We moved back to Houston three years ago because we wanted to raise our children in a community that still embraces the values and beliefs that made us the people we are today. We take pride in the opportunity to be a part of the next generation that contributes to the success of this community.

Why are you running for the Houston Board of Education?

I want to continue serving on the Houston School board because I believe that the district has made major strides during the last three years, but our journey to where we want to be is not yet complete. I first decided to run for the board three years ago, because I wanted to be a part of the progress within our school system trying to make a true difference for our students.

In my three years serving on the school board, I had the opportunity to contribute to the largest capital project in school history with the construction of our new gym. The board has been able to increase our staff’s wages each of the last three years, including the largest single increase to the pay scale that has ever previously been approved. We implemented the Piney River Technical Center into our district, which strengthens our health occupation and welding curriculum, while allowing space for further expansion of our technical education. All done without a single tax increase to our community members.

I believe our district can be more than just competitive in the classrooms and on the fields. I believe we can lead the way for others throughout the state and set the tone for future growth in the surrounding areas. I am excited for the opportunity to continue to be involved in the momentum we have created the last three years, and eager to contribute to its future success.

What do you consider to be the current strengths of the district?

The effective leadership demonstrated by our administration is one of our district’s biggest strengths. As a result, they have made great strides to improve the campus, while ensuring a minimal impact on taxpayers. We used these previous experiences and demonstrations of excellence as a basis for our decision when selecting a new superintendent and various positions within the administration over the last few months. Their strategic decision-making has further enhanced our district, keeping it competitive with others throughout the state. 

This is only further amplified by our knowledgeable staff in the classrooms preparing our students for the roads ahead. These individuals are the ones responsible for developing the current generation to become the workforce of tomorrow. As new technologies for instructing students have emerged, our educators have learned to adapt their teaching methods. Our district’s staff has fully embraced technology to meet the needs of our students in modern and innovative ways, while maintaining the personal touch we have come to expect from a district of this size. 

All of this is made possible by our community’s commitment to the district. We returned to the area because of the district’s sense of pride and responsibility that is widespread throughout our community. Having a strong and supportive community, such as ours, is the underlying foundation for the district’s success.

Houston has much to offer and has the ability to attract teachers from all over the country. However, we must be competitive with other states and neighboring districts when it comes to supporting teachers and students. If we actively foster a collaborative relationship between administration, staff, and the board of education, by continuing to row the boat together in the same direction, we can improve our competitive advantage. This kind of ongoing cooperation can create a flourishing educational environment that will only help our students thrive.

As a district, we must continue to look for new and innovative ways to improve our school system. Below are three areas I believe we need to prioritize moving forward:

  • Curriculum Offerings – Are we offering courses that will benefit students for the careers of tomorrow?
  • Instructional Technologies – Are there ways that we could better connect with our students?
  • Capital improvements and repair – Are we providing a safe and productive learning environment?

The school district is considering a number of capital improvements across campus? Do you support these? And if so, which should receive priority?

Absolutely! We must continue to invest in our physical infrastructure in order for our district to grow and be competitive in our region. As a result of the recent completed phases of our Capital Project Plan, the gymnasium and Piney River Technical Center purchase, we have already seen substantial dividends paid for our students and our community. We have been able to host significant events and incorporate curriculum that otherwise would not have been possible. 

As we look to the future, the updated track and athletic training complex will enable students to sharpen their competitive edge in the classroom and on the field. As we expand our space for trade, business, agricultural, and early childhood education classes, we’ll be able to provide an advanced level of instruction not possible in the current space. Our elementary students will soon have access to a large, shaded pavilion during their recess period. This will enable students to stay out of the sun during warm periods of the school year, enhancing their ability to focus in the classroom. It is vital to move students out of some of the dilapidated Middle School facilities into a more modern, learning-friendly environment. These are just a few of the priorities that will be addressed over the next few years as we continue to meet the student needs of the Houston School District.

What do you believe is the purpose of a school board member?

I believe that the board’s core responsibility is to work with the district’s administration to improve student achievement and success. A board member should be a reflection of the community’s interests in the boardroom. Members should be open and receptive to conversations with all stakeholders that have a vested interest in our district. With that being said, I would appreciate your vote on April 5 to continue serving our great community.


Tell us a little biographical information about yourself:

I am a father of five, two adult sons from a previous marriage and three adopted daughters with my wife. I retired from the U.S. Army as Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) after 23 years of service and moved back to Houston, Missouri, 11 years ago for the small-town life. During my time in the military, I spent almost 8 years as a military instructor. I was the first active-duty soldier in U.S. Army Aviation to achieve both master instructor and senior evaluator certifications. I developed learning standards, curriculum, and wrote or revised over twenty-five hundred hours of instruction (more than double the requirement of a school year). I also held additional duties as an Equal Opportunity NCO, Retention NCO, Budget NCO, and Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention NCO. I understand education, equal opportunity, retention, and budgets.

Andrew “Andy’ Wells

After I retired from the military, I spent another 9 years working as an overseas government contractor fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda. During my five plus years working in Africa I was always in the minority by race and religion. I saw firsthand school children who were targeted and killed by terrorists because they were simply getting an education. We, as Americans, tend to take for granted the ability of our children getting an education and the ability to do become whatever they want in life. I was in these counties because of my education and respected because of what I knew.

I have multiple college degrees in various subjects from welding to paramedicine to theology. If I want to understand something I study and learn until I am satisfied with my knowledge level.

I am a 100% disabled combat veteran and currently the volunteer Missouri Chapter President of No Left Turn in Education, a national non-profit fighting to take back schools from an alt-left ideology, sexualization and sexual confusion. I know what is happening with Missouri legislation that will affect our local school district.

Why are you running for the Houston Board of Education?

I am running for the school board because when I adopted my three daughters, I swore before a judge, courtroom full of people, and God that I would do my best to ensure they became educated productive citizens. After seeing disturbing trends in education and some of the lack of decisions made in the district I decided to get involved and try to make a positive change. I believe its members should reflect their communities’ values and ethics. There are a couple of school board members that I see are not inline with the community. Being a “nice guy” or “from a good old Texas county family” should not be a deciding factor for a position that directly effects our children and their future.

What do you consider to be the current strengths of the district?

Our teachers are the backbone of our schools, and they are doing an outstanding job despite the fact they are some of the lowest paid in the state. They are doing the best they can to give our children a quality education and I am incredibly grateful to them.

Our community is another great asset. The community supports the district and the education of our children as they know that the kids are the future of our nation. Thru good times and bad the community has always come together despite differences to support the Houston R-1 school district.

What is the area’s most in need of improvement? How do you tackle it?

Albert Einstein is often attributed as saying: “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result”. When it comes to Houston School Board members the taxpaying citizens of the district should take heed! According to The Missouri School Rankings Project Houston R-1 school district ranks 473 out of 516 districts assessed and Public-School Review ranks Houston R-1 at 466 out of 557 school districts. How do we fix it?

First would be teacher pay! Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the state at an average of $37,720. At $15 per hour like a fast-food worker, the annual salary is $30,000. We will never retain quality teachers without an increase in pay.

Second will be curriculum. Our curriculum must focus on true academics of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and fact-based History. We must get away from any curriculum or programs that emphasizes “equity” instead of “equality”. These are two vastly different things. Equity is equal outcomes and equality is an equal starting point. The only way to have “equity” in education is to bring down the best students to equal the students doing their best at a lower level. You cannot make a student with an average IQ equal to a student that has a gifted IQ unless you dumb down the gifted student. Equality means that our students will have an equal starting point to do their best to learn and grow. We have the dedicated teachers to motivate them and educate them. Out teachers must be allowed to teach and not to have to worry about being a social worker or therapist in the classroom. Our curriculum must be rigorous enough for the students to learn and grow. If we accomplish that then our school district will excel.

Third we must ensure that the “social justice in education” movement across America does not come into our school district. The school board decides what the direction of our district takes but unfortunately, we have been moving in the wrong direction.

The school district is considering a number of capital improvements across campus. Do you support these? And if so, which should receive priority?

Capital improvements must happen, but they must never come at the expense of our student’s education. Having pretty new buildings when our students are failing would be a direct failure of the school board. Most of the significant improvement programs are already in process but that does not mean that we cannot fix our teachers pay and ensure our students have what they need to excel. I have managed multimillion budgets and understand how to prioritize funding.

What do you believe is the purpose of a school board member?

This is a remarkably simple answer that has some complicated parts. According to the Missouri State Statute 171.011.  “School board may adopt rules and regulations. — The school board of each school district in the state may make all needful rules and regulations for the organization, grading and government in the school district”. This gives the school board a lot of power and leeway to do several things. It is the school board members job to make the best decisions for the students and staff while staying withing the state laws. Just as I told the judge 3 years ago, I will promise to do my best to ensure all Houston R-1 students became educated productive citizens.

April 2022 election

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply