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Schultz challenges Biggers for school board

Julian “Strippy” Biggers (Left) and Shelly Schultz (Right) are running for Mid-Del School Board Office No. 4 on April 2. Photos provided

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

JULIAN “STRIPPY” BIGGERS

Julian “Strippy” Biggers has been involved in education and youth sports for much of his life.

The longtime special education teacher and coach worked at Carl Albert Junior High School for nearly three decades and has helped with the Oklahoma Coaches Association and Special Olympics for years.

Biggers has continued that service as a member of the Mid-Del School Board, and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. He is running for reelection as the Office No. 4 representative on the board.

“If I can get on and help and do things, especially getting this bond issue really on the road, then I want to do it,” Biggers said.

Biggers will face challenger Shelly Schultz in the April 2 election. The winner will be elected to a five-year term. Only voters who live in Ward 4 will be eligible to vote.

Biggers has served on the school board for six years. He was appointed to replace Sen. Jim Howell who retired in 2018.

“[School board member] LeRoy (Porter) approached me about it, and I said yes, I thought it’d be interesting,” he said. “I grew up here in Midwest City and was always an advocate for teachers.”

He did not have an opponent in 2019.

Serving on the school board has been an eye-opening experience, Biggers said.

“Since COVID we’ve been trying to get students back and we’re working on the bond issue,” he said. “My number one agenda item is trying to get the students back to where they were academically before COVID.”

Biggers said he’s also excited about carrying out the record-breaking $492 million bond issue that was approved by voters in October. The bond issue includes a new school at Townsend Elementary, security upgrades, new additions for fine arts, classrooms and athletics and others.

He also pointed to a couple of critical issues the district faces, in teacher shortages and student absenteeism. He said he supports the district’s efforts to attract and retain educators including those that are emergency or alternatively certified.

Biggers has lived in Midwest City most of his life. His family moved from Bethany to Midwest City in 1954. His father worked at Tinker Air Force Base.

He graduated from Midwest City High School in 1959 along with fellow board member LeRoy Porter.

Biggers earned a bachelor’s degree in education – special education from UCO, then Central State College. He later earned a master’s degree from UCO in administration.

After teaching for one year in Baltimore, Maryland, Biggers returned to work at Carl Albert Junior High School. He taught special education and coached every sport except basketball and was the athletic director for 10 years and was activities director for the last two years.

While teaching, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1966-1972.

Biggers retired from teaching in 1994.

Biggers has been actively involved with the Oklahoma Coaches Association and was named to the hall of fame in 1997. He’s served on the board of directors and was an all-state games coordinator for many years.

He worked as a starter for track meets with the OSSAA.

Biggers has been involved in Special Olympics since the early 1980s. He has served as sports director, oversaw track and field events, and served on the board. Biggers now helps with meals for athletes.

“We are the largest event west of the Mississippi and it’s awesome,” he said.

He and his wife had two children. His daughter Julie is the assistant superintendent at Western Heights. His son James passed away.

SHELLY SCHULTZ

Like many parents across the country, Shelly Schultz was concerned about her children’s education during the pandemic.

At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Mid-Del Schools used an A/B schedule and remote learning due to concerns about the COVID.

Schultz believed students should be in the classroom. She helped create a parent group that met with school district leaders to voice their concerns. The schools soon returned to in-person instruction four days a week and used remote learning during spikes in infections.

That experience of working with others to implement change inspired Schultz to take a more active role.

“That was the moment I knew I was going to run for school board,” she said.

Schultz followed through with those plans and is challenging incumbent Julian “Strippy” Biggers for the Office No. 4 seat on the school board. The winner will serve a five-year term. Only voters who live in Ward 4 will be eligible to vote.

“COVID was kind of an eye opener for me,” she said. “The thing for me was being able to put together a group of parents that were able to effect change. It’s up to everyone to decide how they want to be part of that change. I decided to run for school board when it’s time.”

Schultz has stayed active in the school district, helping with the Carl Albert High School band booster club and the school district’s bond steering committee last year. Mid-Del passed a $492 million bond issue last year.

“I learned so much and loved how the school district got the community involved in the planning,” she said. “They did a great job pulling all the different groups together to look at the bond and I was really pleased with the results.”

Schultz says she wants to see the school board become more engaged with parents and patrons.

“School board is the liaison between community and the ward they serve and Dr. [Rick] Cobb. In my experience, concerns from the public aren’t being brought forth. And that can foster a lot of distrust in the community,” Schultz said.

If elected, Schultz vows to listen to residents.

“I will be responsive if issues arise that need to be brought to the administration,” she said. “I’m willing to do that and I’m willing to ask the hard questions,” she said.

Schultz said other school districts can offer merit pay for teachers and would like to see if it’s possible at Mid-Del. She said they also need to address vaping and substance abuse among students, as well as mental health issues.

“Vaping and drug use affects children’s mental health, ability to grow their pathways in the brain,” she said. “That’s something near and dear to my heart. That and mental health of students.”
Schultz was raised in Bartlesville and went to Pittsburg State University and later Oklahoma State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in science and biology.

She lived in Oklahoma City for several years and moved to Midwest City in 2020. Her two children Henry and Heidi attended Mid-Del Schools and graduated from Carl Albert High School.

She works for Smart Start which sells alcohol monitoring equipment including vehicle interlock devices. Schultz is a regional manager overseeing the Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kentucky region. Previously, she managed Oklahoma’s interlock program.

Mid-Del School Board Office No. 4 map.

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