Board Member Candidates 2023

T Fleisher

Troy Fleisher

Troy spent K-12 in Knoxville and graduated in 2003 near the top of his class.  He went on to study business management at Bradley University earning a BS in 2007.  Troy spent 8 years working his way up the ladder in retail management before making the decision to return to his roots in agriculture on the family farm just south of town.  

He and his wife, Mary moved back to Knoxville in 2016 where they raise their two children who are students at Mable Woolsey.  Continuing the family legacy in the Knoxville area was an important consideration in this move.

Troy is fiscally conservative and lists students and their parents as his number one priority.  A close second goes to the D202 staff and taxpayers.  Happy teachers, administrators, and constituents will contribute to the best environment for our kids.

J Johnston

Justin Johnston

As a candidate for Knoxville, IL District 202 School Board, I have a unique combination of  professional experience, personal background and perspective that marries financial expertise,  passion for studentsโ€™ success, and appreciation for educators.  

As a native of Knox County, growing up in Galesburg and graduating from Galesburg High  School, as well as Monmouth College with a bachelorโ€™s degree in business administration. Then  later obtaining my graduate certificate in Agricultural banking from Purdue University. After  moving away from Illinois, my family chose Knoxville and are proudly raising our four children  here. As of the start of next school year, my children will be represented at all three schools in  the district. I volunteer as a Knoxville youth baseball and football coach, and I am a founding  member of the Knoxville JFLOCI board, a member of Jupiter Machine & Tool corporate board,  and a member of the Knox County Pork Producers.  

As the primary banker for a local higher education institution, I have had direct experience with  public debt and bond administrationโ€ฆ In my over two decades as an Ag/Commercial banker  and entrepreneur, I also have deep expertise in risk mitigation and compliance issues, energy  savings, financial budgeting, insurance, and many other areas, that I believe are key to being an  effective member of the school board.  

My entrepreneurial and career efforts have strengthened my resolve and lead me to see the  overwhelming benefits of trade programs within area schools. My work with these programs  all over central Illinois has given me the opportunity to speak with thousands of kids about  career development and the benefits these programs offer to students.  

The eldest son of a retired educator, I also appreciate the struggles and frustrations our  teachers and educatorsโ€ฆI would advocate for our teachers to have the resources, tools, and  overall support to enable our students to be successful in academics, career, and life.  

I am running for the Knoxville District 202 School Board because I believe in being a part of the  solution and leading by example. These kids represent our future and their education, and  development is not something I take lightly. Preparing all students for success in their chosen  fields. Vocational programs, dual college credit courses as well as advanced courses, at the  same time providing additional assistance for those who fall behind. 

R McCracken

Rebecca McCracken

I grew up on a small farm south of Knoxville, later graduating from Knoxville High School. I have been married to my husband, George, for over 50 years. Together we have 2 children, Kim and Stephen (both KHS Alums) and 3 grandchildren. I am retired from the State of Illinois, Department of Corrections, where I worked in the Business Office.  My position there included payroll, insurance, monthly reporting, retirement packets and Human Resources.

I have always enjoyed giving back to my community. You have probably seen me at sporting events and extracurricular activities. I love supporting our students in their activities and fundraisers! I have served on the Knoxville School Board for 2 terms and have learned so much about how a district runs. In my 2 terms, I have been recognized as a Distinguished Board Leader and a Master School Board Member for my commitment to serving the District.  

I am seeking re-election because I feel we need a strong voice advocating for our students,  staff and stakeholders. I love this community and want to continue serving the people of this district.

V Rose

Vicki Rose

My name is Vicki Rose. I am currently the Vice President of the Knoxville #202 School Board. I was appointed to the school board in the Spring of 2021. I am seeking election this year for a four year term on the board. I have lived in the Knoxville School District since 2004. I am married to Grant Rose, who is a life-long resident of the Knoxville area and graduated from KHS in 1995. I have two children. Fionna, who graduated in 2021, and is finishing up her second year at the University of Wisconsin- Platteville, and Maddox, who is currently in 7th grade at KJHS. I enjoy staying busy, including attending sporting events for Maddox, who plays football, basketball, and baseball and traveling to Wisconsin to see Fionna, who is on the UW-Platteville Dance Team. Aside from their activities, I am an avid sports and music fan and enjoy attending sporting events and concerts. I also enjoy spending time with close friends and family. I consider myself a lifetime learner. I completed my Masterโ€™s degree in May 2022 in Counselor Education from Western Illinois University. 

I am employed at Bridgeway Inc, a community mental health center, located in Galesburg. I have worked there for 19 years and currently oversee our mental health and substance use counseling programs. As part of my employment, I also serve on the Truancy Review Boards for both Knox and Warren Counties, whose mission is to help students/families who are struggling with attendance to identify and utilize resources that will eliminate barriers to attending school.  Mental health and wellness are a passion of mine. Aside from being a counselor, I am also a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and enjoy teaching others how to respond when someone may be experiencing a mental health challenge. This passion is what sparked my interest in being a school board member initially, as the social emotional needs of young people are increasing and changing.

I have been honored to serve on the Knoxville #202 School Board for the past two years. I have learned a great deal in that time and admittedly, still have much to learn, as there are many moving parts to a school district. The pride in the school district and community are unmatched here in Knoxville, which is one our greatest strengths and one in which I hope to continue to honor in serving in this capacity.

S Harshbarger

Suzanne Harshbarger

Hello!  My name is Suzanne Harshbarger.  I joined the Knoxville School District in 2004, shortly after moving to Illinois.  My husband, Kevin, is a Knoxville native.  Together, we have four children that currently attend either the high school or junior high, and they all are actively involved in extracurricular activities; they definitely keep us busy throughout the week and weekends, but I wouldnโ€™t want it any other way.

My days are spent as a practicing veterinarian, as I own Knoxville Veterinary Service.  Through the sporting events and my day-to-day business encounters, I have had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with a significant amount of the Knoxville community.  My business has been a participant or sponsor of numerous school activities and classes/programs, including the Homecoming parade, HS and JH FFA, community food drives, and Project Graduation, as well as a team sponsor of many Knoxville youth league teams. 

I joined the Knoxville school board in 2021 with the hopes of becoming a positive voice pushing for change on behalf of the community.  I have made every effort to make decisions based on facts and what will most positively improve the academic excellence of our students, as that is our number one goal.  The boardโ€™s most recent accomplishment during my term was the hiring of a new superintendent.  During my next full term, I would like to:

  • continue to see improved communication; 

  • institute more early career path guidance and goal-setting for our high school students, including career exposure and work placement options; 

  • institute STEAM into every grade level curriculum to allow for the integrated approach of the classroom and real world thinking and problem solving; 

  • continue to improve district accountability at every level so resources are being utilized as designed and to their full potential; 

  • work together to retain and attract quality teachers; 

  • work to prevent politicized theories and agendas from entering our local classrooms!!โ€”just to name a few. 

I know any board is a group of individuals, all with unique areas of expertise, that need to be able to work together, as an important group of decision makers, to accomplish great things.  I am willing to continue to be a good listener, bring fresh ideas to the table, make difficult decisions when they are needed, and be that needed voice for the community. 

C Jones

Caleb Jones

My name is Caleb Jones and Iโ€™m a 3rd generation graduate of Knoxville High School class of  2000. I currently reside in rural Gilson IL with my wife Lindsey, daughter Charley Jo (8), and son  Jace (5). 

After High School I joined the United States Marine Corps in which I served 4 years with 2  combat tours to the Middle East (IRAQ). During my active duty service, I reached the rank of E 5 Sergeant and received awards such as a Certificate of Commendation and the Navy and  Marine Corps Achievement medal for superior performance, outstanding leadership, and total  dedication to duty reflected upon me while keeping with highest traditions of the Marine Corps  and United States Naval Service. 

I have been a member of the Knoxville American Legion for 20+ years. I take great pride in the  organization and placement of over 800 American Flags on veteranโ€™s graves every Memorial  Day along with participating in the color guard for the graveside service. I also volunteer my  time in the Knoxville Youth sports league as a T-ball coach and a coach for the JFL flag football  program.  

I am currently employed with the Illinois Dept. of Transportation as a Highway Maintainer and  run a small real estate business that provides clean, affordable homes and apartments to local  families.  

I am running for a seat on the school board because with two children beginning their careers in Knoxville I believe itโ€™s the appropriate time to advocate and be a voice for their generation. I  would like the opportunity to make key decisions regarding the future of our school system and  give this new generation the best possible educational experience just like I had. I want the  students of today to take pride in their school and home town because they are the future of  our great community.

D Ratermann

Duane Ratermann

Duane is originally from Greenville, IL.  In 1988, he graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering.  At that time, he made the move to Knox County and began working for the Knox County Highway Department as a Civil Engineer.  In November of 1999 Duane was appointed County Engineer for Knox County, a position he still holds.  He is responsible for administering a $10 million annual budget for the county highway department.  Duane is a Registered Professional Engineer in Illinois.

In 2008, Duane and his wife, Diane, chose to move the family to Knoxville and enroll their 3 children in the Knoxville School District.  Diane had recently taken the job as the Food Service Director for the school district, a position she still holds.  The three children, Derek, Darcy, and Dedra have all since graduated from Knoxville High School.  

In November 2021, Duane was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Knoxville CUSD #202 Board of Education.  In the 16 months that Duane has served on the school board, he has participated in many training opportunities that have been offered by the Illinois Association of School Boards.  Duane feels that training is very important and can only make him a better, more effective board member.  Duane believes there should be a balance of school board members that have children in school and those that donโ€™t.  Most taxpayers in a school district do not have children enrolled in the school system.  

If elected to the school board, Duane plans to continue pushing the school district in a positive direction.  He will work to provide the administration, teachers, support staff and students everything they need to be successful.  Our children are our future.