Derald Porter has announced he is seeking election to the at-large Position 7 on the Van Buren Board of Education, in Tuesday’s school election.

Porter said the Van Buren School District faces many issues in the coming years, teacher retention, competitive salaries, rewarding teachers for seniority, and maintaining and improving the academic standing with a changing curriculum. Improving and maintaining the vehicles in the aging transportation fleet is needed, he said.

Porter said the believes the board should maintain communication with the staff and the community. Sometimes the board retains members for long periods of time.

"Experienced board members are a plus, but if they fail to listen and communicate with the staff and the people who elected them, then they should be replaced with people with fresh ideas, a sense of fairness, and willing to listen," Porter said. "The new superintendent, Dr. Jeffcoat, is a high energy person and deserves a board that will be willing to take his ideas and work to implement them and improve the district and make it one of the best in the nation. I would like to be a part of making this possible."

He is married to Danalene (Campbell) Porter. his wife of 42 years and director of the Van Buren Library, and has one son, Robert and wife Penny, four grandchildren, Seth, Leia, Aurora, and Daniel. He and Danalene have hosted two exchange students, Chizuko Iwaki from Japan who is married to Michael Sullivan and now lives in Van Buren, and Martin Juha from Germany.

Porter graduated in 1967 from Alma High School, attended Fort Smith Junior College for two years and graduated with an associate degree in business administration. After taking a four-year hiatus and reporting for duty in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, he returned to Van Buren with his new wife.

He continued his education while working full-time, and completed all course work at Westark Junior College for a two-year degree in electronic technology. He has worked for more than 33 years in industry as a maintenance electronic technician, the last 24 years for Macsteel/Gerdau Steel in Fort Smith, retiring in 2008.

In 2002 he received his real estate license and worked part-time until his retirement and now works full time for Chuck Fawcett Realty in Van Buren. He also volunteers in different projects in the community, and believes in giving back, and making Van Buren a better place to live.

He is a member of the Crawford County Board of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, one of the founding members and board member of the Crawford County Optimist Club, current president of the Van Buren Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, graduate of Leadership Crawford County in 2013, serves the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador, served on the site selection committee for the new Van Buren Police Department, and serves the city on the Van Buren Historic District Commission as a commissioner.