(Update: Watch the March 21 EPS forum here, and view a full video of the discussion here.)
With the culmination of Edmond’s 2023 local elections set for April 4, Edmond Public Schools District 3 incumbent Jamie Underwood and challenger Dr. Jerry Childs have agreed to participate in a forum hosted by the Edmond Parent Legislative Action Committee at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Sequoyah Middle School.
NonDoc journalists will serve as moderators, and the forum will be streamed on NonDoc’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The forum is free and open to the public.
EPS board members are elected to five-year terms. Only registered voters within the District 3 boundaries are eligible to vote in this election on April 4.
Doctor challenges 22-year incumbent
Underwood is seeking her fifth term representing the District 3 seat on the Edmond Public Schools Board She was first appointed to the seat in April 2001 when former board member Kathy Panas — who now serves as the city’s finance director — moved outside of the District 3 boundaries.
Since her appointment, Underwood has won elections in 2003, 2008 and 2013. In 2018, her only challenger for the position withdrew his candidacy.
A graphic posted on her Facebook page states that Underwood has overseen the district’s population growth from less than 18,000 to 26,000 during her time on the board. The graphic also notes that she has advocated for 17 bond issues totaling more than $852 million.
Childs is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. For 30 years, Childs practiced emergency medicine in emergency rooms around the state. Childs then worked as the medical director of the Oklahoma County Jail for five years. Before retiring in January, Childs worked as a regional medical director for county jails across the country.
With top issues listed on his campaign website, Childs’ platform includes eliminating redundant administrative positions in an effort to provide better teacher pay. He also proposes working with local businesses and organizations to “provide students with real-world learning opportunities and expose them to various career paths.”
Childs’ website also states that he “understands the importance of equipping students with vocational job skills” and “believes in providing students with hands-on learning opportunities through programs such as shop and Future Farmers of America.”