I have a passion, conviction, and commitment to public education for every student. I believe in the potential for everyone to achieve their dreams and will continue in my next 4 years to work to provide the means and support to help them accomplish that. That optimism and hope is tempered by the realities of life, the world we live in, the obstacles in front of them, and the hurdles they must overcome. By teaching them to face reality, to learn to understand and not fear knowledge, to think critically and without prejudice, and to have the fortitude and confidence to press on with a positive, can-do attitude is what guides me. I reflect on my life and the lives of my kids to question myself and strive to do more and better to help others.
Resetting the recent past and working to recover the academic loss. That will take time and effort. Providing mental health resources and support for students and staff. The last couple of years illuminated the need that has always been there. Concomitant with that is to support and defend teachers and their profession. If we are to teach in the 21st century we need the learning environment for that, and the high school is sorely in need of modernization.
Students of all stripes need connections with teachers, coaches, and the community. No one should be marginalized or ignored. Diffuse their worries or help find someone who can before they become overwhelming. I will continue to speak for the quiet or silent voices and those in the shadows. I will not waiver in my conviction to issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism. We all know, though, that some of the solution lies outside of the realm of schools.
We need passionate advocates for our families and schools on the Northfield School Board. Our schools face very real challenges and we need leaders who will stand up and fight for our children, their families, and the excellent schools we have in Northfield. As a parent of two young children in our public schools, I was motivated to become deeply involved in supporting our schools and have experience on multiple
district-level task forces and committees working through policy and budgets. An exemplary school district is a founding pillar of a democracy and by continuing to challenge our known assumptions, combined with a willingness to embrace change, our schools can fulfill their vision of preparing every student for lifelong success!
1. Address chronic state underfunding: Our schools are running up against real financial headwinds as costs rise while state funding fails to keep up. 2. Mental health: The last few years have been extraordinarily disruptive to our student’s well-being. We need to assist our students, families, and staff by providing necessary resources and support. 3. Racial equity: This work needs to continue. We have a moral imperative to provide a welcoming environment that empowers and celebrates all.
At its core, school safety comes down to the strength of relationships, communication, and support. Yes, we must continue to invest in security measures such as secure entrances and ensure that all staff and students are trained for emergencies, but these hardening measures are not enough. Instead, we need to focus on building a strong school community where students have trusted adults they can turn to and where resources are readily available to intervene with and support students and staff.
School boards are charged with creating the conditions for neighborhoods to thrive and with enabling schools and teachers to fuel the hopes and dreams of every student and family. They need to hear everyone’s voice.
The strongest school boards include people who represent many points of view, a wide array of experience, and a diversity of backgrounds and can still work together collectively.
Like a lot of my neighbors, I have served on the various volunteer community committees for the school district over the years. I want to help steward that growth & shape the direction of our community. Even though it is not a requirement, our family has a child in elementary, middle & high. I am definitely invested in our kids’ best future.
• Focus on serving all children. Ensure every deliberation, decision and action reflects the best interests of every student. Design a system that produces students who have personal and specific hope for the future which they can articulate, and believe in, and share with others.
• Support & enable great teachers who seek to grow all students to shape and change their world.
• Establish a new & better norm that values civility, mental and emotional wellbeing & address COVID-19 related losses
Promoting safety in our schools is a high priority for families & communities. Reviewing school prevention policies, plans & procedures with staff & teachers to make sure the students and everyone has confidence & trust their role in various scenarios. Train in a way that creates pride & reassurance in our students and for everyone. Share/review our prevention & preparedness plans with families & community partners to revise & improve our outcomes. Reassuring all & vigilance for those in need.
I have more than 20 years of leadership experience in state government and the private sector, as well as previous school board service. I’d be honored to share my experience with the Northfield schools. A lifelong Minnesotan, I grew up believing that if we all do better, then we all do better, and I would bring that philosophy to my service on the school board.
The district faces challenges in the coming years, with declining enrollment, stagnant support from the state, workforce retention, an aging high school building, and an ongoing gap in academic performance and outcomes within our student population. I believe that my combination of public and private sector leadership and previous school board experience make me a great choice.
We ask a lot of schools as institutions and, if elected, I would work with the board to ensure that our district retains strong financial support from our community. Retaining and hiring excellent teachers, counselors, and staff are key to providing an excellent education. I would also focus on ensuring adequate counseling and mental health resources exist for students as well as supporting programs that address the diversity of career and education choices for students after graduation.
I think it's unfortunate we live in a society where our schools are at risk of significant violence. Part of the solution is working with public safety experts to mitigate risks, and more importantly I believe schools need to provide adequate mental health and counseling resources to students. For some students, school is one of the few safe places in their lives and Minnesota has one of the worst counselor to student ratios in the US. I strongly support more state funding for counseling.
I have 22 years of school volunteering experience including fundraising, before and after school care, recess supervision, and classroom activities. I also have experience in policy, contracts and legislation from working in project development in the construction industry. This experience on both sides helps me easily understand school policies as well as the concerns and goals of our community, and to offer valuable insight on the issues we are facing. I take pride in attending our district's events such as Rock and Roll Revival and Varsity football games. I am inspired by the excellence and determination our teachers and staff demonstrate, and in turn, I will work hard to add value to our already strong, dedicated leadership here.
One priority is students' mental health. Students need a chance to heal from the last 2 years of chaos. Another priority is family engagement. I believe if we can increase these opportunities for parents and families, academic performance and proficiency will also increase. Another is creating more structure. We have highly qualified, dedicated teachers doing an amazing job and it is important every student have an equal opportunity to learn inside of the classroom, free from disruptions.
I am proud that Northfield Schools have made safety a priority. I would like to help teachers increase structure in our classrooms by filling in the gaps in our discipline policies and guidelines. I would also help staff implement an emotional support program for all students, regardless of past or current behavioral issues. Also, a weekly communication with teachers and staff to encourage reporting of anything they might feel is unusual or an issue in the school buildings or community.
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