What experience and qualifications do you bring to your candidacy for Eden Prairie School Board?
I believe having kids in the district is a very important qualification. I have four kids that are in, and will be in, the district for the next 10 years. I am invested in our community as demonstrated by being a coach, Cub Scout leader, church youth group leader, and PTO volunteer. I think living the experience of the schools, with my kids, is a great starting point.
I have been a financial professional for over 20 years. I have lead teams at two Fortune 500 companies: performing financial analysis, risk management, audits, and team building. More recently, I started my own business that focuses on financial due diligence and consulting with technology companies under $50 million in revenue.
I will to listen to all sides, and will ask tough questions in order to find the best solution. I am not afraid to make difficult decisions.
What personal values and qualities do you believe are especially important for a school board candidate?
I attempt to approach problems, by starting with the question “what are the principles we can all agree on?” I have found that when you start from common principles, you can build durable solutions that are grounded in consensus, not compromise.
Consensus is not always possible, and compromise is sometimes the only option. However, when teams can come together to solve problems with agreed upon principles, amazing things are possible. Unfortunately, often we begin problem solving by focusing too much on the areas we disagree on, rather than the areas we do. I will work with the other members of the board, the administration, and teachers to find these common principles.
Why should Eden Prairie voters choose you for the School Board rather than other candidates who are running for the Eden Prairie School Board?
I am the only candidate running with extensive financial and accounting background. The projected MN State budget deficit for the next biennium of $4.7B will place significant pressure on school finances.
With significant financial and accounting expertise leaving the current board, Eden Prairie will need a board member with this experience to ensure we exhaust all financial options and creative cost synergies before making unnecessary sacrifices. Nonetheless, running for political office is an exhausting process. I now have a much greater respect for all candidates running for public office.
What do you believe are the key factors in the Eden Prairie Schools’ management of COVID-19, and why?
We are fortunate that Eden Prairie has the technology and resources to offer on-line and in-school learning. Our teachers, staff, and leadership have made heroic efforts to support our children. Although I am confident this will continue, distance learning in its current form will not provide the academic and social development required to keep students on-track for success.
The district’s primary goal should be to increase in-school education days within risk-based safety protocols to drive holistic student success. Additionally, the district should increase high school class offerings so that EP On-line can fulfill its intended mission to be a fully accredited on-line school.
Although EP has moved fast, my interactions with teachers and parents revealed that the change management process and communication can be improved. In the year of COVID, we have to bring everyone along, do things differently, make sacrifices, and be patient while working to achieve our goals.
What are your top three priorities for Eden Prairie Schools, and why?
• Deliver academic success for ALL
• “Do the Work”
• Develop an Accountability Dashboard for community oversight
The good news is we have the financial resources, the best teachers, and the leadership necessary to improve graduation rates for all students. In 2019, most racial categories showed significant improvement; however, these results did not meet my/the school board’s expectations.
In February, the Superintendent updated plans including: high-speed internet access for all EP students, customized individual learning plans to reach each student where they are at, and progress at 3rd grade from reduced K-2 class-size investments.
It is the responsibility of the board to hold the Superintendent accountable to the academic expectations of the community. I will do this by: (1) Asking uncomfortable questions to determine the root cause of underperformance, (2) Where these problems can be addressed by the school district, require creative action plans, (3) Measure outcomes, improve transparency, and align incentives.
Is your candidacy informed by a political perspective? How does that perspective inform your priorities? (Alternatively: If your candidacy is not informed by a political perspective, why not?)
I am running as a non-partisan candidate. My goal is to represent all stakeholders in Eden Prairie by listening to their concerns. I have opinions about the world around me and speak up when I think things should change.
However, when I applied to run for School Board as a non-partisan, I agreed to leave my politics at the door, to respect the non-partisan position and voters, and represent everyone in Eden Prairie- not just people who agree with me. I will make the case to keep politics out of the schools – and in this election cycle, there is a clear choice between the candidates on this issue.
What will it mean to you, personally, if you are elected to the Eden Prairie School Board?
Humbling- people put trust in you to lead a $165MM enterprise, with 8600 kids, and 1500 staff! It will also mean the work continues. It will mean lots of meet and greets throughout the city to learn about how the community feels about our schools.
Campaigning has been a full-time job and if I am willing to put that time in to winning the campaign, I owe it to everyone in the community to keep working to help make Eden Prairie’s schools the best in the State of Minnesota.
How can interested voters learn more about your candidacy (website, public phone/email etc…)?*