Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Six vie for Dist. 518 board seats

WORTHINGTON -- Voters in District 518 will chose from five candidates to fill four, 4-year terms on the school board, while a lone contender, Mark Shepherd, vies for the vacant two-year term.

The Daily Globe asked candidates for the four-year term the same four questions. Here's how they responded:

William Anderton

Why are you running for the District 518 School Board?

I feel that the school system here could be a little better and focus a little more on the education part. The drop-out rate here is pretty high.

Tell us about yourself.

I live in Worthington, at 1211 Virginia Ave. I am a shift manager in the cafeteria at Swift. I like to play cards. I'm always learning how to cook more and different types of food.

Explain the experiences or qualifications you possess that make you a good candidate for this position.

With the job I have, I don't have any qualifications, but I feel that focusing on education is a lot better than focusing on money. There's always ways of making money, and the economy is getting pretty bad, and education has to come first. I've helped tutor students throughout my live. I've mentored students in school; I love doing that. I've helped quite a few students go through school in this town. You're never too old to learn anything.

What would you say is the most important issue in District 518 at this time? How would you address it?

We could try to get teachers to focus more on education. In this town they seem to feel highly for the sports programs.

Joel Lorenz

Why are you running for the District 518 School Board?

I have an interest in quality public education for all of our students. I will strive to offer opportunity for successful achievement for students and staff.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a graduate of Worthington High School and Worthington Community College. I have been operating a corn and soybean farm for 32 years. Our address is 22491 Oliver Ave., Worthington. My wife Julie is a Title One teacher at Fulda; our son Aaron and his wife Alexis are living in Madison,Wis., where he is attending the University of Wisconsin. He will be graduating with a Ph.D. in plant genetics in December. Our daughter Lisa and her husband Nathan live in Sioux Falls where she is teaching vocal music.

My hobbies include sports, walking, bike riding, church activities and spending time with family and friends.

Explain the experiences or qualifications you possess that make you a good candidate for this position.

I have served on District 518's Board of Education for 14 years and have served as chairman, vice chairman and currently am serving as treasurer. I have served on many committees over the years including the building, operational, instructional and public relations committees. Experience from serving on these committees as well as interviewing and hiring superintendents and administrators I believe is an asset as we move forward with many challenges facing our district. Past experience of making significant budget reductions and prioritizing opportunities for students and staff should be helpful to the board as we continue to face major budget issues in the near future.

What would you say is the most important issue in District 518 at this time? How would you address it?

The NCLB (No Child Left Behind) act requires the district to meet AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). Minnesota standards in reading, math and science must be met under current law to receive federal funding. This, along with improving graduation rates are the most important issues facing District 518. To address this issue, the board must communicate with parents, staff and administration, adopt policies and offer curriculum to our staff which will be both effective and efficient as possible. It is imperative that we adopt a team approach to address this issue including community, parents, teachers and staff, administration and the board of education.

Linden Olson

Why are you running for the District 518 school board?

The quality of education available in a community is a major factor for families making a decision on where to live and work. To attract and keep these families, the education system must offer not only the classroom subjects but also the opportunities and experiences that will provide their children the best opportunity to become productive adults that will make positive contributions to the global society in which they will live. My desire to serve on the school board is to help make this happen by providing the best educational opportunities with the funding that is available.

Tell us about yourself.

My wife of 25 years, Carol, and I live on the family farm south of Worthington. We have three children, all who graduated from Worthington High School: Nora, who graduated from Augustana College last spring; Ahnna, who will graduate from the University of Minnesota in December; and Joel, who is in his second year at Minnesota West in Worthington. Presently, I am a swine management and records consultant after operating a grain and livestock farm for 40 years.

Explain the experiences or qualifications you possess that make you a good candidate for this position.

The four years on the Worthington school board have given me a good understanding of how the district operates and the challenges and opportunities it faces. The 20-plus years of serving on state and national boards and committees have given me the experience and knowledge of working with other board/committee members to develop goals, policies and procedures for administration and staff to follow and then to provide oversight to see that they are carried out in the way the board intended. Serving on the school board also involves taking the time and effort to understand the operation of the district, local issues and continuing developments and issues in education on the state, federal and international level. I am interested, willing and will take the time to become informed in these areas.

What would you say is the most important issue in District 518 at this time? How would you address it?

Meeting the requirements of unfunded federal (No Child Left Behind) and state (Annual Yearly Progress) mandates is and will continue to be at or near the top of the list of important issues for the next several years. The public needs to understand that two schools can have exactly the same percentages of student populations and identical student scores, but because of school demographics, the small school makes AYP and the large one does not. This fuels the public belief that one school not only is worse but is a failure. This is far from the truth. There are three areas to address this. The first is internal by providing the staff the curriculum, technology and ongoing training to help them be as effective in the classroom as possible. The second is to work with state and federal legislators to educate them on the effects of present and proposed legislation in the classroom. The third is to educate the public about the reality of NCLB and AYP.

Stephen Schnieder

Why are you running for the District 518 School Board?

I am running for the school board because I feel that an education is one of the most important things that a community can give our children. An individual's success in life is often dependent on the quality of education that they receive. I intend to work toward providing the best educational opportunities possible for all our children.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Worthington and attended the local schools including Worthington Junior College. I received an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota, and I am a professional engineer. I have served as the Nobles County Engineer for the past 25 years. My wife Lori and I have been married for 19 years and have three children: Sarah, who is in her first year at Minnesota West; Scott, in fifth grade; and Michael, in first grade. I am involved in my church along with several organizations in the community. I spend my free time with my children and doing volunteer work for various organizations.

Explain the experiences or qualifications you possess that make you a good candidate for this position.

I have been a member of the school board for the past 11 years. I currently serve as chairman and have been on many of the board's working committees. Many of the community organizations that I am a member of support youth activities in the community. I keep an open mind when dealing with issues before the board. My engineering background and position as Public Works Director has provided me with many opportunities to deal with complex problems and difficult issues. My years of experience on the school board and as a member of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative have allowed me to become knowledgeable in the many issues facing education in our community.

What would you say is the most important issue in District 518 at this time? How would you address it?

Not all students have been able to graduate on time. Standard test results have shown that some student groups have been struggling and need additional help, motivation and the opportunity to improve. We need to help students to see their potential and the benefit an education can provide for them. Early identification of problems, intervention, counseling and providing the additional help could make a tremendous difference. This isn't just a high school student problem. The earlier help can be provided, the better chance the students will have to graduate.

Bradley Shaffer

Why are you running for the District 518 school board?

I have four children, all of which are in, or will be in, District 518 schools. I have a natural desire to make sure my children get the best education possible, as any parent would. The best way for me to accomplish this is to help make District 518 the best district possible. So I decided to take an active role and get involved in the district. Having been on the school board for the last year, I have found that this experience has been difficult at times, but extremely rewarding at the same time. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have spent on the school board.

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and have lived in Worthington since 1995. I am currently employed as the corporate controller for Prairie Holdings Group. My wife, Dawn, and I live at 740 West Shore Drive here in Worthington with our four daughters: Brittney, 14, a freshman at Worthington High School; Emily, 10, a fourth grader at Prairie Elementary; Morgan, 4, will be in kindergarten next year with her twin sister, Madison. I enjoy golf, coaching my girls' sports teams and just being a dad.

Explain the experiences or qualifications you possess that make you a good candidate for this position.

I believe that my 20-year career in finance gives me a good background to learn and understand the complex financing issues that school districts face. Also, when you first go on to a board like this, there is a significant amount of learning that is needed in order to get up to speed on many of the issues that this board deals with. Having been on the school board for a year now, I have come through some of that and finally feel like I am able to contribute in a meaningful way.

What would you say is the most important issue in District 518 at this time? How would you address it?

As the second-most diverse school district in the state of Minnesota, one of our largest obstacles is the language barrier. We are constantly getting new students from different backgrounds. Some speak English, some don't. It is important to have a common language, so these students can communicate effectively and become part of the mainstream as soon as possible so that they can benefit as much as possible from the education system. This would also create a better learning environment for all of our students. We are doing a fine job, as a district, to address this issue. As we move forward, we need to continue to improve in this area.

Another extremely important issue is the way school districts are financed. Currently, we receive funding from many different sources, including state funds and our recently approved excess levy referendum. Even with that, our annual costs are increasing at a rate higher than our increase in revenues. We need to continually search for new ways to generate revenue for the district.

Advertisement