I’m a caring father, soccer coach, Sunday school teacher, and frankly - I'm concerned over some the decisions the current board has made, their lack of transparency, and some of the things going on nationally within public schools. And instead of coming up with a solution for only our family, I decided to get directly involved. I’m committed to continuing Orono’s tradition of excellence and I feel I have the right skills to do so. I’ve spent 18 years working in the Med Device industry, in my career I’ve been a professional change agent. I’ve worked with a wide variety of people, I’m an expert in market research, gathering feedback, collaborating, and I listen to people’s needs and concerns before and after implementing change.
TRANSPARENCY, because as a public school, decisions that affect our precious children should be made out in the open and they should represent the community's values. FOCUS on ACADEMICS: Orono has a tradition of excellence and every child benefits from a culture of excellence - I want to keep the focus on academics and not outside influences. LISTENING: I want all parents and community members to know that they have a voice on the board and I will work to improve communication with trust.
Safety is critical to a school - both physical and mental safety. All children need to feel safe, welcome, and valued while at school and parents need to feel confident that this is happening. The relationship between the schools and the OPD is strong. Digital & cyber safety is increasingly important. Mental health & safety is critical - especially after Covid. As a board member, I would inspect each of these areas to ensure that policies are being followed or if they need to be strengthened.
I love Orono Schools and have been contributing to its success for over a decade through the School Board, the Orono Foundation for Education, and the PTO. I have the most governance experience of all of the candidates with over 15 years of experience serving on non-profit and education boards. My unique perspective as a parent of two Orono High School students adds value to the board. With an MBA and my role on the Finance & Facilities Committee, I have the real-world experience to continue Orono’s conservative fiscal stewardship of our resources. Finally, with the huge change of having one-third of our board being brand new in 2023, my experience as an effective school board member will be crucial in maintaining Orono’s excellence.
1) Orono is the #1 traditional high school in Minnesota, according to the U.S. News and World Report. As a current Board member, I am part of that achievement. We maintain a continuous improvement approach so that Orono can stay world-class.
2) Supporting our teachers by working with legislators to better fund our schools. Mandates should be funded, such as special education.
3) Increase mental health supports. This is a state funding issue, and finding solutions at the state level is key.
With the Superintendent, we school board members identify areas where Orono can improve, such as cybersecurity, and then work to find funding, such as putting forth a tech levy renewal. Another area is supporting our world-renown character work. It aims to help students grow into good citizens, including being fair, respectful, and trustworthy. This work helps keep staff, teachers, and students safer because there is a community of people who are actively working be better citizens.
I have deep roots in this community. My parents were both Orono alumni, my wife and I were both Orono alumni, and now we have 3 young kids in the Orono school system. My father was a science teacher at Orono for 25 years at the High School. As a long-time member of the community here in the Orono School District, I have seen how great this school is and know how highly regarded it has been throughout the years. It is absolutely crucial to have the trust of the community and parents in the school district for a school board to operate effectively. I will work diligently, with extreme transparency, to build community trust providing confidence to district residents that Orono will achieve its goal of academic excellence for years to come.
1. My number one priority is the school's number one priority which is academic excellence. Every school needs to prioritize academics and Orono has a long history of scholastic accomplishment which needs to continue.
2. The parents and residents of the Orono School district need to know that their voice is being listened to by school board. I will work to rebuild any trust lost through the last controversial school years.
3. I will work with honesty and integrity, ensuring board transparency.
School safety is paramount. Parents, like myself, need to have the utmost confidence that their child is protected while attending school. This is one of many issues I plan to investigate further once I am elected to the school board. There are many measures in place today, like limited badge access to facilities. Another benefit Orono has is that the Orono Police Department is located directly across the street. There may be opportunities to collaborate with the OPD to further bolster safety.
I am a literacy specialist and former elementary school teacher. I am a board member of Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota working toward bipartisan support of literacy bills and testifying at the Capitol. I have served on the district’s Curriculum and Accountability Council for eight years, and I was a member of Orono Schools’ Strategic Planning workgroup. I served on the Orono Foundation for Education Marketing Committee, and this will be my eighth year co-chairing the elementary schools’ Scholastic Book Fair. I am also a board member on the Orono-Westonka girls’ hockey committee, and I served on the board of GIVING WoMN. I have been soccer manager, hockey manager, room rep, and classroom volunteer. I have two daughters in Orono schools.
A rigorous learning environment providing opportunities for all students and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
Continuous improvement of programs and policies with a focus on literacy. It is important not to get complacent; need to keep re-evaluating in cycles.
Responsible fiscal stewardship of the funds used to support Orono Schools and regular monitoring of the fiscal health of the district. Includes discussing and finalizing budget and monitoring spending.
I define safety in two ways:
Physical safety on campus would require continuous partnership with the local police department, crisis management policy that is actively looked at and trained for every year, ongoing review of campus safety features, and emergency drills.
Feeling of safety in school and among peers would be continuance of Orono's character education programming, review of bullying and discipline policies, and making sure every child has an adult with whom they feel connected.
My strengths and experiences (professional and former elected community board member) center around strategic thinking, team building and oversight:
- Creating short/long range plans and goals
- Allocating resources
- Monitoring and exercising strategic oversight of plan execution
- Long-term facility maintenance planning
- Policy development and oversight
- Maintaining compliance
- Approving budgets and overseeing implementation
- Planning, approving, and communicating special assessments
- Working through community and stakeholder concerns
- Coalition building and collaborating as a team to make progress
These skillsets and experiences will make me an effective and competent school board member.
1 - Oversight of the Superintendent and set goals. Ensure that the students are exceeding standards and creating policy that supports the school to meet their goals.
2 - Communication and collaboration with the community. Work to build stronger connections with the community to represent the districts values and concerns.
3 - Challenge every student. Kids that take AP courses, even if they don't take the exam, build confidence in themselves and exposes them to a higher rigor and preparation
Student safety is number one. Orono thinks about safety on a daily basis and partners with leading national safety prevention and response organizations. This is critical to ensure we are always being proactive in our safety standards and protocols. Orono must continue investing in its structural safety and responsive capabilities.
We must also think about the mental health and safety of our students and look to find ways to improve our resources for providing mental and emotional support.
I am a mom of three young kids in the district and have a vested interest in the success of Orono schools. I hold a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Services and I bring 20 years of professional experience in investigations and compliance. I work for a large multinational company where governance and the application of sound judgment is my profession. While employed by the federal government, I was the national recipient of the annual award for ‘displayed professionalism and integrity’. I seek to hear and understand all sides of an issue because I understand the importance of diversity of thought. I display tact in my interactions, even when we disagree. I embody ethics in all I do and pledge to hold this office with integrity.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE because no parent sends their child(ren) to school hoping for mediocrity in their education. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT, because it is not the schools responsibility to raise the child rather to educate the child and students benefit when teachers and parents work together. TRANSPARENCY, because it is a public school governed by elected officials and decisions that involve your children must be made in the open and reflect the values of the community.
Safety is paramount and requires a multifaceted approach. ALL children must feel welcome, respected and that they belong. The clubs and extracurricular activities offered by Orono should continue and evolve to meet the needs of our students and that create a sense of community. The physical security needs, as well as data privacy and cybersecurity need to be regularly reviewed to ensure we are identifying and addressing risk in the most appropriate manner.
My experience in non-profit and government organizations has spanned the past sixteen years. I hold graduate degrees in divinity, marriage and family therapy, and public health. I have provided care and counseling to people of all ages experiencing illness, trauma, and death. As a researcher and healthcare leader, I have obtained funding and implemented programs to improve mental health in individuals and organizations. The pandemic has challenged all of us. The long-term impact on our students and staff is unknown. My background uniquely qualifies me to be a voice on the school board that shapes policy in new ways to enhance student and staff well-being.
We are a leading district in the state. To build on our legacy of excellence, my priorities are to: Enhance Student and Staff well-being; Focus on process improvement grounded in known best practices and dialogue with students, staff, and families; Keep the board centered on local, non-partisan governance of our schools.
These priorities are especially important to me because I have two children completing their education in Orono.
Student safety happens through empowering teachers to meet each child’s educational needs. I will pursue policy updates and funding opportunities that will move us toward becoming the state’s leading district in student and staff well-being. Physical safety for our schools means funding programs for campus security and enhancing partnerships with the public safety departments in our district.