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Profiles Provide Basics on Parkway's School Board Candidates

Eight candidates are vying for the two open spots on the district's board of education. The election is set for April 2.

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The following information was provided by the Parkway School District and is available on the district's website. The district will also host a candidate forum on March 11. 

Sam C. Sciortino, Ph.D.

Over thirty-six years, I had the distinct privilege to serve as a teacher and administrator in the Parkway School Distirct. My educational career began at Central Junior High School where I served as a Teacher and Assistant Principal. When East Junior High opened in 1972, I served as an Assistant Principal and later as Principal from 1975-1981.

My opportunity to serve the school community at the district level began in 1981 as Manager of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction followed by the positions of Executive Leadership Principal and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. In May, 1987, my request was granted to work directly with students, faculty, and parents at West Middle School as Principal until I completed my tenure in Parkway in May, 2000. I was appointed the Principal of Oak Hill School and later served the Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill school community as Head of School for six years until my retirement in July, 2008. I have returned to Oak Hill as Principal in 2012.

As a director of the Board of Education, my professional and personal commitment and dedication is to work with the school community in growing Parwkay’s rich tradition of excellence for student success.

Jenifer Clifton

Jenifer Clifton has lived in St. Louis County for over 20 years. She is a Parkway South alumni and proud mother of two children who she hopes will one day be Parkway alumni themselves. She lives with her husband, William, in West County.

Having earned a B.S. from Southeast Missouri  State University, she has established a career in purchasing and supply management, working for companies including AT&T and Sigma-Aldrich. She currently handles materials procurement and production planning at St. Louis based Keefe Group. Through this experiences, she has learned how to achieve maximum results through careful and efficient management of resources.

Outside of her time spent dedicated to her family and career, Jenifer is an active member of her parish, attending and volunteering on church retreats and assisting with other seasonal events. Additionally, she holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and as an assistant instructor she enjoys teaching students, helping them to achieve their goals through self-discipline and perseverance.

Jenifer believes that our children deserve the best education possible and as a director on the school board would work to ensure that our educators have the resources they need to make this happen.

Tom Appelbaum

Parkway has made great strides during my first term on the Baord. As an alumnus of Parkway North, and a lifelong member of the Parkway community, I have been proud of this district and the role it has played in the community. It was in this spirit of community that inspired me to organize the parade to welcome home the heroes from the Iraq war in downtown St. Louis in January 2012. It was one of my proudest moments as a school board member to encourage the participation of Parkway students in this event. Parkway is setting a great example with projects such as the largest installation of solar panels in the state, as well as being the first school district in the state to use compressed natural gas buses. As an attorney and MBA, I have been pleased and proud that Parkway has been able to be fiscally responsible, while continuing on course with a strategic plan that focuses on improving the quality of education and enhances Parkway’s role as a vital partner in the community.

Daniel P. Brodsky

 My name is Daniel Brodsky. I have lived in the Parkway School District for over 30 years. Both of my older children attended Elementary, Middle and High School in the Parkway District. And now my 10-year-old son is in Sorrento Springs Elementary School.

During the years that I have lived in the Parkway District, I never aspired to sit on the Parkway Board of Education. That all changed on December 14th of last year. After the terrible tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I realized that violence in our schools—gun violence in particular—is now a threat to the safety of those whom we hold most dear: our children. The fact that our school district has not yet experienced such a horrible event does not mean that it couldn’t happen.

I would like to serve on Parkway’s Board of Education and work to make our schools—across the spectrum—safer for our children. I would like to stress that I am not an advocate of putting guns in our schools; my plans are far less aggressive, and they should be easy and affordable to implement. Please consider voting for me to join the Board of Education.

Brad Williams

Brad Williams and his wife Andrea are proud parents of two current Parkway students. Brad currently serves on the Government Relations Committee at River Bend Elementary and works for the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he also received his Baccalaureate with Honors in History. Andrea is an Alum of the Parkway District and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

In his position at UMSL he is responsible for advising community college students in planning their coursework for preparation of transfer. Additionally Brad serves as the Advisor for the Tau Sigma National Honor Society for Transfer Students and UMSL College Democrats, as well as researching and monitoring related legislation and assisting with strategic planning. Other previous work experience includes Education Specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Commercial Deep Sea Diver/Dive Medical Specialist.

When asked why he wanted to run for the School Board, Brad answered “To me the school board is one of the most important positions within our government. With hard work and dedication, we can ensure the values of strong character, solid academic preparation and good citizenship continue to be the focus of the Parkway School District during these fiscally and morally tough and trying times.”

Deborah A. Hopper, MHA

I have been inspired to run for election to Parkway’s Board of Education through my involvement with Project Parkway, my current role on Parkway’s Government Relations committee as the Claymont Elementary PTO representative, and various volunteer efforts with our schools.

My husband and I have a fifth grader at Claymont Elementary who will transition to West Middle and a pre-schooler entering Kindergarten in August. We utilize many of Parkway’s resources: the Early Childhood Center, Parents as Teachers, Y Club, Community School, SSD, and other educational specialists. With our youngest graduating in 2026, I am committed to help this district excel and maintain its mission “to ensure all students are capable, curious and confident learners who understand and respond to the challenges of an ever-changing world.”

A native of St. Louis, I graduated from Washington University with a BA in Biology and a Master of Health Administration. Currently I am an Administrative Director of Research Operations at Washington University School of Medicine, serving in this position for 12.5 years. I have prior board experience and held management positions at other local healthcare organizations.

I would be honored to be involved with Parkway’s forward-thinking efforts for the success of all our students.

Dr. Ken Eigenberg

A resident of Parkway for thirty years, Dr. Ken Eigenberg is well versed in educational issues concerning our community.  His goals for board service include: insuring the district allocates funds in congruence with stated goals, improving student achievement while maintaining fiscal accountability, ensuring curriculum and instruction accommodate all students, supporting staff, and leveraging teaching through instructional technology.

After receiving a Ph.D. from Caltech, Ken was employed as a research scientist. He now focuses on parenting and community service, through education and children’s services.

With nine-years service as Parkway’s representative on the Special School District Board of Education, he is experienced in all aspects of school governance, including superintendent search, budget and taxation oversight, public school laws and district policy, continuous improvement, and community services.

He has served Parkway on textbook and curriculum committees, as library, classroom and PTA volunteer, on Parkway’s former Citizen’s Advisory Council and the Parkway PACCD.  Ken has also served as state-appointed Educational Surrogate Parent for students who are wards of the state and as Court-Appointed Special Advocate for children in Family Drug Court programs.  As a public education advocate, he currently serves on Cooperating School District's Legislative Committee and as legislative liaison for SSD.

Diane Finnestead

Diane Finnestead is an educator with a business background who believes in Parkway. She is a Parkway graduate who entered Hanna Woods as a kindergartner. She received a Bachelor’s of Music from the University of North Texas, returned to St. Louis to sing with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and enjoyed ten years in sales, marketing, insurance and corporate training before becoming a teacher. Her teaching career has extended to instructional coaching, administration, professional development and includes two graduate degrees from Webster University. Diane earned a Masters of Teaching in Special Education and her Education Specialist degree in School Leadership. She’s had the post-graduate honor studying as a Summer Fellow at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Currently, Diane is an administrator with the St. Louis Public Schools and an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Webster University teaching arts integration and interdisciplinary arts. Every week, she enjoys singing in the Manchester United Methodist Chancel choir and spending time with her family.

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