After three terms on the Lawrence school board, Loveland still sees work to be done.
Mary Loveland, the sole incumbent seeking re-election in next week's Lawrence school board vote, says she has a good reason to retain her post.
"Over time I've acquired 10,300 children, all of them adopted," Loveland said. "I work for every single one of them."
When Loveland, a Lawrence resident since 1976, first ran for the board, she had four children of her own in Lawrence schools. It was 1983, and Loveland lost. Since then, all have graduated and are either in college or professional careers.
Loveland said she is proud of the work the Lawrence school board has done in the 12 years she has served on it.
"I want the district to continue to make progress toward high standards of excellence, both in terms of student achievement and teacher satisfaction with the effectiveness of their careers," she said.
Loveland said she is waiting for the results of a recently completed curriculum audit before making specific decisions about changes in Lawrence schools.
"I think it's awfully important to resolve any curriculum issues we come up with," she said. "We need to look at facility needs of midlevel buildings. I think we've done a good job at the elementary and high school levels."
Loveland said she has been meticulous in trying to balance facility needs with the need of students and teachers in the classrooms.
At a recent school board meeting, she called into question the city's purchase of land for a swimming pool that will be adjacent to Free State High School. Loveland didn't want the city to lose interest at a future date and have the authority to sell the property to any open bidder.
She also was concerned that students might be tempted to smoke outside the city facility because the land would technically not be on school property, where smoking is banned.
"One of my concerns with it (the pool) not being in our possession is the 'no smoking' policy," Loveland said. "I don't want students to be able to cross some magical line and smoke on the property."
Loveland received assurance from City Manager Mike Wildgen that the city would neither sell the property without giving the school district the first option, nor allow smoking in the city building.
Loveland also has opened up discussions on a dual grading system that would credit students in advanced placement and honors classes with more points per letter grade than the current system allows.
"A dual system has a lot of appeal," she said. "But I don't want to set up something that makes it difficult for students. I'm concerned about students who take business and fine arts classes. Right now those aren't honors classes, and I want to stay fair to students who can't take seven hours a day. Students shouldn't be allowed to take honors classes for more than six hours a day."
In her tenure, Loveland has served on the board's Boundary Committee, Equity Council and Junior High Curriculum Revision Task Force, and she 0was registrar for the Kaw Valley Soccer Assn. She currently volunteers on the district's Policy Committee and Professional Council, and she is the president's alternate on the School Business Partnership board of directors.
She has been the school board president twice, in 1991-92 and 1997-98.
In 1977 she was elected to a five-year term on the Kansas University Alumni Association board.
Loveland was raised, along with two older brothers, in Merriam and attended Catholic schools from the time she entered school until her graduation.
"I didn't go to a public school until I came to KU," she said. That was 1966. She graduated in 1970.
She majored in English literature and met her future husband in student government.
"We didn't like each other," she said. "But a mutual friend of ours thought it wasn't right, so every time one of us signed up for a committee she would write the other name down, too. Eventually, it had to work out."
It did. Today Chuck Loveland is a Lawrence pediatrician. Mary Loveland often spends time with the family Weimaraners, Riley and Witte, when she's not attending school functions. The Lovelands have lived most of their married life in Lawrence, except for a six-year stay in Kansas City, Kan., while Chuck attended medical school.
Family friend Reggie Robinson met Loveland through church eight years ago.
"She throws herself into whatever she does, and she's committed to what she does with boundless energy," Robinson said. "She has a real interest toward serving school kids."
Mary Kate Ambler started out as Loveland's neighbor 22 years ago and ended up being her friend.
"She's had four children go through the system," Ambler said. "She does her homework and she visits schools."
When school board members are invited to lunch at a different school each week, Loveland's attendance is nearly perfect.
"Over a period of time you get to know schools by visiting them and talking to teachers and principals," Ambler said. "She's well-educated in the needs of our schools."
She's also has a green thumb, Ambler said.
"We're both gardeners, but she's far better than I am," she said. "She's always willing to share things from her garden."
In fact, Loveland views herself as a professional landscaper and gardener but concedes, "I only have one client."
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: 747 N. 1500 Rd.
Family: Married to Chuck Loveland; they have four children, Meredith, Doug, Morgan and Aidan.