Q: What is your educational and occupational background?
A: I'm a 1984 graduate of Hastings Senior High School. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato in 1989.
I am an Information Technology Manager for Dakota County.
Q: Why are you running for School Board? (Is there a specific issue that brought you into the race?)
A: My wife, Karen, and I have three children currently attending school in the district. They have very different educational needs. I want this district to be able to give all students a chance to succeed, no matter what their age or ability.
I believe that the schools are the single most important attribute of any community. The first thing people ask about a community when considering places to raise a family is the quality of the school district. I grew up in Hastings, as did my parents and grandparents. I'd like to envision my children and grandchildren living in Hastings as well. That won't happen, and I wouldn't even wish it so, without a quality school district.
I am running for my second term on the board, a term that presents a new set of challenges and opportunities from the first four years I served. In my first term, we reduced class sizes, improved test scores, and brought enhanced technology and curriculum upgrades to the schools. We did this during very difficult economic times. These accomplishments required hard work by all involved. Therefore, a large reason I'm running for a second term is to prevent a backslide to the past. That said, I'm not satisfied with protecting the status quo; we need to keep working, to meet new challenges and ensure our kids are succeeding. We are moving the district in the right direction. We need to maintain the momentum we've built up the past four years.
Q: What makes you uniquely qualified to join the board? (What specifically do you bring to the mix and how will it enhance the abilities of the board to manage the district?) (Why now?)
A: First and foremost, I have the experiences and accomplishments of my first term. I am a straightforward, honest person. You can count on me to voice your concerns in my second term as I have done in my first term. Previous to my school board experiences, I served on the boards of several non-profit organizations. My work on those boards earned me advocacy awards. I will continue to be an advocate for the community, our schools and our children in my second term.
Q: The School Board has asked voters twice, unsuccessfully, to allow them to borrow money to do repairs on the district buildings. Where do you stand on this issue - a loan for repairs - for roofs, windows and the first phase of mechanical upgrades in some of the schools (questions 1 and 2 on the referendum)?
A: I'm strongly in favor of passing these two questions. We would be taking advantage of an opportunity to get stimulus money that would make bonding interest free (or close to it). We were ranked the highest priority to receive this stimulus money because of our unique infrastructure needs. If the community decides not to act, other districts will be happy to jump on the opportunity and will receive the money that could have been used to benefit our schools.
Q: What are your thoughts about question 3, the addition to the middle school to accommodate fifth grade, and a renovation of McAuliffe and JFK to accommodate kindergarten classes? The question also includes the modification of Tilden to potentially consolidate programs now in leased facilities into a modified Tilden facility.
A: I'm in favor of the district asking the community this question. I also will be voting to pass this question. I do understand the concerns of the community. I also had reservations before I fully understood all the opportunities for hybrid programming that could blend the best of the elementary and the middle school experiences. This could offer fifth-graders, and perhaps sixth-graders, a better transition into middle school, while saving the district money. I urge people to listen to Mark Zuzek and/or Tim Collins talk about the possibilities before they make up their minds on how to vote.
Q: Take a small space to make a statement, not part of the questions asked, that you'd like people to know about you.
A: Thank you for supporting the school district. We have accomplished a lot in the past four years. That would not have been possible without the strong support of the entire community. Please remember to get out and vote on November 3.