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ISD #279 School Board Member {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

School board members oversee the care, management, and control of schools within the district. This includes hiring, firing, and overseeing superintendents, who manage the day-to-day affairs of the district. They also set budgets and policies that affect students in classes and other activities that affect the students’ wellbeing and education.

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  • Candidate picture

    Melody Brinkley

  • Candidate picture

    Thomas Brooks

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    Sarah Mitchell

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    LaDawn Severin

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    Tanya Simons

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    Kelsey Dawson Walton

Información Biográfica

Why are you the best candidate for this position? (750 characters)

If elected, what will your top three priorities be and why? (500 characters)

How will you work with staff and teachers to promote safety in our schools? (500 characters)

My background in education and experience in leadership has uniquely positioned me to be a bridge between teachers, administrators, students, and community. I am a clear communicator, and I understand school systems and teaching best practices. Furthermore, I am a parent and community volunteer on ISD 279 District Planning and Advisory Committee. It is my aim to address our achievement gap by unifying with fellow board members, school administrators and parents to remove hurtles and ceilings that impede student learning. Every student can learn. It is time to come together and get to work. I intend to influence our school district to this end.
1. Parent/guardian engagement and partnership, as it is a leading indicator of student success and achievement in the classroom. In a climate of mistrust, it is imperative that we focus on building relationships with our families. 2. Safety for staff and students, both physical and emotional, is a priority because safe schools foster environments conducive to learning. 3. Teacher retention creates consistency over time. Students will learn best from competent and confident teachers.
I plan to visit schools within our district where safety is a concern. By listening to administrators, teachers, and parents/guardians, it will be plain what is working and what is not. I intend to be part of improvement plan discussions, as I can offer support from my past experience.

For emotional safety, I plan to meet with student support leadership. I think it is important to distinguish between needs schools can address and where we need outside resource partnership.
With collaboration, I’ve been able to influence equity driven strategic directions that balance academic performance and a safe and welcoming culture, impacting the day to day experiences of our scholars and staff. As a full board and individual board member, we are building steam and making progress toward a shared goal of helping each of our scholars achieve their dreams. Every challenge that comes before the board in this large and diverse district is complex. It takes thoughtfulness and vision to truly represent the needs across our large and culturally diverse district. I am deeply committed to public service and improving our district so no scholar is without access to achieving their dreams.
My top three priorities are safe and welcoming schools, academic excellence, and the long term sustainability of our district. Each of these priorities capture the shared goals of scholars and families across the district regardless of school, zip code, or political viewpoint. Each of these three priorities is already embedded within our district’s strategic plan of which I’ve had an opportunity to help develop as a current school board member.
I will continue to work with school administration to promote safety in our schools by encouraging continued updates in technology that address school safety, deeper relationships with our community partners, and a proactive approach to ensuring scholar and staff needs are met while in our buildings. Technology and partnerships are imperative for ensuring physical safety in our buildings. Family engagement and investing in proactive mental health and behavioral supports are also critical.
I believe my greatest strength is my character. When it comes to voting for a school board candidate, I believe we need to choose a person we can trust, one with integrity, who will communicate truthfully and make the choices that are best for all of our students. I am a parent with students in the district, at all levels (one in elementary, one in middle school, and one in high school). I truly care about the well-being of all of our students.
If elected, my top priority is to keep our school system focused on the main thing, which is the most important thing, academic excellence. I desire to help cultivate a culture within our schools that includes increased parent and guardian engagement, as well as increased transparency and accountability on classroom learning and curriculum. By securing academic excellence for today's learners, we are ensuring tomorrow's young adults are well prepared for their future.
Every student deserves the right to a safe and positive learning environment. My Dad is a retired middle school teacher of 36 years and his motto has always been to “put out the small fires first.” Behavior disturbances have increased and we need to address these rising issues with both clear expectations and accountability of the consequences. We need to create a culture of mutual respect (respect of students toward other students and also mutual respect between students and teachers.)
One of my key strengths is SERVANT LEADERSHIP – sampling: • Captain – cross country (H.S.) • Co-leader - Gustavus Christian Fellowship (college) • Ran skateboard park summer outreach in Anoka; late 90s • Led “People Of Praise” (weekly fellowship group for adults w/ DD) • Lead preschool teacher; late 90s • Office Mgr - small newspaper • Volunteered w/ ARC (Abstinence Resource Ctr) speaking in public school health classes • On-site Mgr - large apt complex; early 2000s • Coordinated Pre-K ministry • Hosted Moms in Prayer since oldest started kindergarten in 2010 • Mission trips – six countries; four continents • Teaching kids since the age of 16 • Co-led moms group w/ free childcare • Currently volunteer on Brooklyn Park Charter Commission
*Increased post-graduation resources intentionally shared to the whole student body - CLEP, trades programs, PSEO etc.

*Increased in-school academic interventions - with serious consideration of placing a Modified Learning Room prototype in each elementary school, and mandatory study hall with tutoring at the secondary level for struggling students.

*Increased transparency and considerate timing when communicating district happenings and goals. More parent input during vision-casting stages.
I’d work to steer district policy back to the two R’s – RESPECT (for peers, teachers) & RESPONSIBILITY (for one’s own grades, behaviors). Most of our existing policies DO reflect these ideals, but we’ve let political forces muddy the waters when it comes to applying and enforcing district policy equally to all scholars. We’re afraid of what the “data” may look like on paper. Let’s re-commit to hold the line on how students are allowed to treat their peers & teachers, as stated in our policies.
Campaign Website http://tanyasimons.com
Campaign Mailing Address PO Box 43942
As a first-generation American, I understand the opportunity for success that a strong school district provides for every child. My core beliefs that all scholars are capable of successful outcomes and that a financially and academically strong school district is essential for strong communities, fuel my passion to serve as a school board member. These past four years, I focused on achievement and results and influenced clear goals, outcomes, and measures for key educational initiatives. I leveraged my professional background to advance a new strategic plan focused on academic success for all scholars and district values to create a culture of excellence and empowerment for scholars, teachers, and staff members.
My top priorities will be improving academic outcomes, developing positive school cultures, and increasing stakeholder voice. Through focused core instruction, empowering students to own their learning with goal setting, and increased mentorship we will improve outcomes. We must set high standards of conduct in our school cultures and recognize excellence, innovation, and success. Last, engaging teacher and parent voice in decision-making is essential to accountability and transparency.
We have strong systems of risk management that ensures the safety of all scholars. We can further increase safety by focusing on high standards of behavioral expectation with support for behavioral interventions, mental-health resources, and parent engagement. Increasing the transparency of teacher, staff, and parent concerns and engaging them in solution development will ensure we address safety and school environment issues directly, quickly, and concretely.
Campaign Website http://Kelseyforosseo.com
Campaign Email Kelseyforosseo@gmail.com
Campaign Mailing Address 17761 69TH PL N
Serving as school board chair for the last two years, I have led a divided board through some of the most difficult and divise times in recent history.

I am running for re-election because as a parent to four scholars in this district, I believe in it and trust it with my greatest treasures.

Our school district continues to face a number of challenges like many others, yet we have a solid foundation to build upon.

I will continue to be a catalyst to strengthen our school system through my ability to lead and listen through tough and courageous conversations, better connecting our community, problem solving together and leading thoughtfully.
1Extracurricular opportunities for our scholars. Our scholars maximize their potential when they are connected, when they are safe, when they belong. Partnerships cities, foundations, families, businesses, community orgs so our scholars have opportunities to thrive

2Educational excellence-inclusive of safe schools, academic motivation and rigor to unleash the dreams of each and every scholar.

3Family partnership - our scholars do their best when they know their community is behind them.
Without the foundation of safety, our school system can’t function. If we aren’t safe physically, socially, emotionally and mentally then learning can’t happen.

As an Education Minnesota endorsed candidate, I will continue to work closely with our educators who are the heart of our district. They are the eyes and ears into what our scholars need to be successful, feel safe and supported. Our educators also need to feel safe & supported so they can do what they do best and that is to teach!