Due to the recent death of my mother after two years of fighting cancer, and fears and concerns about a couple of other major health issues in my immediate family, I am putting my active campaign into suspension. My family and I need time to heal, recuperate, and recover from these troubles, and I need to be with them to give them my support.
I’m still considering whether or not to have a “passive” campaign where I just do what’s necessary to get on the ballot and perhaps make a few more posts on my site here, but I will definitely not be canvassing in the next year or so.
In the realm of local governance, the significance of responsible leadership cannot be overstated. For a local community’s school and village boards, the concept of responsibility forms the very foundation upon which effective governance is built. The intertwining roles of these boards in shaping the education and livelihoods of community members underscore the need for responsible decision-making, transparent actions, and a commitment to the greater good.
At the heart of any functional democracy lies the principle of responsibility. This principle guides leaders to uphold their roles with integrity, diligence, and accountability. In the context of our local governments such as our school and village boards, this responsibility extends to ensuring the best interests of the community they serve. When leaders prioritize their obligations to the people who elected them, it sets the stage for trust, collaboration, and sustainable development.
Transparency and Accountability
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, two of the most important aspects of good governance are transparency and accountability. They are also intimately tied to the notion of responsibility. Openly sharing information about decisions, actions, and resource allocation not only fosters public trust but also provides a platform for community engagement. When our governments communicate openly and honestly, residents can better understand the rationale behind decisions and contribute valuable input, resulting in policies that reflect the collective aspirations. Accountability goes hand in hand with this. Responsible governance requires board members to acknowledge their decisions and actions, taking ownership of both successes and setbacks. By being answerable to the public, local governments ensure that their decisions align with the needs and desires of the community. These concepts are all tied together.
Safeguarding Community Interests
In the realm of school boards specifically, the impact of responsible governance directly affects the quality of education provided to young minds. Responsible board members prioritize allocating resources for the betterment of students and educators, ensuring that the learning environment is conducive to growth and innovation. They recognize the weight of their decisions in shaping the future of the community through education and commit to choices that elevate the standard of learning. This is such important a notion that it is solidified and inscribed in the District Vision Statement of the Fall Creek school district: “Committed to Academic and Personal Excellence”. This requires us to always seek to improve in every way, and not just rest on our laurels or consider anything “good enough”. Nothing is “good enough” for our children. Our children today will be our future doctors, lawyers, and leaders tomorrow. It’s important that they have the best education possible.
For village boards, responsible governance means safeguarding the interests and well-being of the residents. From infrastructure development to public services, responsible decisions consider the long-term effects on the community’s livability, sustainability, and overall quality of life. Responsible leaders allocate resources judiciously and conservatively, striving to strike a balance between immediate needs and future aspirations, as well as the financial well-being and stability of the community. It’s important to note here that a community doesn’t necessarily have to seek perpetual growth, but must ensure that there is not perpetual regression.
Responsibility in local governance transcends individual agendas. “Groupthink” causes stagnation and decay; conversely, good local governance thrives on collaboration and inclusivity, where board members actively seek diverse perspectives and engage the community in decision-making processes.
It is the responsibility of all elected officials to consider those opinions that disagree with their own, to ensure that they are accounting for the possibility that they may be in error. This is a huge aspect of responsibility in governance.
School boards can make well-informed decisions that cater to the needs of all involved parties by involving different stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, students, and local businesses. For village boards, responsible governance entails fostering a sense of belonging and participation among all residents.
By embracing a collaborative approach, these boards tap into the wealth of knowledge and ideas that exist within their communities, leading to solutions that are both innovative and effective.
In the intricate tapestry of good governance, responsibility is the thread that weaves through every action, decision, and interaction. For our school and village boards, this principle is paramount, as it directly influences the quality of education of our young people, the vibrancy of our community, and the future prospects of generations to come. When leaders commit to responsible governance, they pave the way for transparency, accountability, collaboration, and the collective prosperity of the community. As citizens, we must recognize the importance of holding our local leaders to the highest standards of responsibility, ensuring that our school and village flourish under their care.
Accountability is one of the bedrocks of effective governance at any level, and local governments, including village and school boards, are no exception. These grassroots institutions play a vital role in shaping the lives of community members, making responsible decision-making and transparency essential. In this article, I will explore the paramount importance of accountability in local governments, delving into its benefits and how it fosters trust, participation, and sustainable development.
Upholding Transparency and Building Trust in Governance
As I’ve mentioned before, at the core of accountable local governance lies transparency. Transparency ensures that decisions are made openly, with information and actions accessible to the public. By proactively sharing financial records, meeting minutes, and policies, local governments foster trust with their constituents. This transparency not only allows community members to understand the reasoning behind decisions but also helps prevent corruption and misuse of power. Transparency and accountability go hand in hand, for what is the purpose of transparency, if those elected officials aren’t held accountable for any poor decisions that they may make?
When local governments embrace accountability, they demonstrate a commitment to serving their constituents’ best interests. By being answerable for their actions, they build trust and credibility within the community. Trust in governance encourages citizen participation and engagement, leading to a more active and informed community. Citizens who feel that their voices are heard are more likely to support initiatives and contribute to local development. Contrary-wise, when accountability goes out the window, so too does citizen engagement.
Ensuring Effective Resource Management and Encouraging Citizen Participation
Local governments are responsible for managing resources such as finances, infrastructure, and public services. Accountability ensures that these resources are utilized judiciously, responsibly, and frugally. A transparent and responsible approach to resource management helps prevent wasteful spending and promotes efficient allocation of funds to address community needs effectively.
Accountable local governments foster a culture of citizen participation. When constituents see that their input matters, they are more likely to actively engage in community affairs. Public consultations, town hall meetings, and community forums provide opportunities for citizens to express their concerns, offer suggestions, and work collaboratively with local officials to find solutions. This participatory approach leads to policies that are more representative of the community’s diverse needs.
Promoting Sustainable Development and Mitigating Corruption and Mismanagement
Sustainable development is a critical aspect of local governance, as it ensures that the needs of the current generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accountability plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainable practices by holding local governments responsible for implementing long-term, environmentally conscious policies. This may include initiatives related to renewable energy, waste management, urban planning, and conservation efforts. This is why projects such as the Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition are so important, to ensure that our children and their children have clean and clear water. It’s important for such groups to have clear goals, and to publicly state what those goals are, the steps they are taking to meet them, and the outcomes of their attempts.
Accountability also acts as a powerful deterrent against corruption and mismanagement of public resources. When local governments are transparent about their financial dealings and decision-making processes, it becomes harder for unscrupulous individuals to exploit the system for personal gain. Regular audits and oversight mechanisms further bolster accountability, ensuring that those responsible for public service remain committed to their duties. When elected officials are called to account for their actions, it can only improve all of the functions of government. This is why I’m personally opposed to closed session meetings, except where an open session could directly cause harm to a person, persons, or organization(s).
In conclusion, accountability is the lifeblood of successful local governments, including village and school boards. Upholding transparency, building trust, and fostering citizen participation are all essential components of accountable governance. By embracing accountability, local governments can effectively manage resources, promote sustainable development, and safeguard against corruption and mismanagement. Ultimately, accountable local governments are better equipped to address community needs, foster civic engagement, and create a brighter future for their constituents. As active participants in our local communities, we must demand and support accountable governance to build stronger, more vibrant societies.
Transparency is a fundamental principle that underpins the effective functioning of local government. It refers to the openness, accountability, and accessibility of information and decision-making processes. In the context of village boards and school boards, transparency plays a crucial role in ensuring the trust of citizens, promoting responsible and sensible governance, and fostering civic engagement. Here I will examine the significance of transparency in local government, with specific emphasis on village boards and school boards.
For the purposes of Accountability and Public Trust
Transparency in local government fosters accountability and upholds public trust. When decision-making processes and the reasons behind those decisions are made accessible to the public, citizens are better able to hold their elected officials accountable. Transparent governance builds confidence in the system and ensures that public officials act in the best interests of the community.
In a local village board, transparency ensures that it becomes easier for the public to track and evaluate the actions taken by board members. The availability of information such as meeting agendas, minutes, and financial reports allows citizens to hold officials accountable for their promises, commitments, and the overall performance of their duties.
Let’s give an example of this. Let’s say that a village board decided to only meet with only two or three members at a time in committees. By doing this, they’d be under the “trigger” for Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Laws, and thus would not have to have those meetings open to the public. By choosing to do this, and by e-mailing those that weren’t in the committee individually to discuss topics, they can essentially make decisions away from the “prying” eyes of the public. Certainly, the final votes have to be cast in public meetings, but by the time those subjects get TO the public meetings, the decision has already essentially been made, without any public input. The public was not privy to these private conversations, and have no way of knowing how these decisions were made, which can result in a dysfunctional system wherein the actual public meeting is merely a formality, the publicly elected members just “going through the motions” without any conversation, debate, and without public input. This is VERY bad for accountability and the public trust.
Transparency in school board operations is especially critical, as it builds trust among parents, students, and the broader community. When the decision-making processes are transparent, it ensures that education policies, curriculum development, and resource allocation align with the best interests of students and their educational needs. Open communication and accessible information help foster a positive partnership between schools and the community they serve.
Effective Resource Allocation
Transparent decision-making processes also enable local boards to allocate resources effectively. When the decision-making process is open and accessible, it allows for public scrutiny, reducing the likelihood of favoritism, nepotism, or wasteful expenditure. Transparent budgeting and financial reporting also enable citizens to understand how their tax dollars are being utilized and to provide feedback or suggestions for improvement.
Transparency acts as a safeguard against corruption and misconduct in local government. When the operations of village boards and school boards are conducted in an open and accountable manner, it becomes more difficult for officials to engage in unethical practices or abuse their positions of power. The fear of public scrutiny acts as a deterrent, creating an environment of integrity and ethical conduct.
Let’s give an example. Let’s say that a school has recently lost a few good teachers due to a tightening of purse strings. The school had decided to cut down on labor to reduce costs. At the same time, the school principal has a son that likes to participate in Pickleball. It would be highly unethical for that Principal to speak to school board members to convince them to invest thousands of dollars in a new Pickleball court at the same time that the school is also firing teachers to save money. Sure, other children may use the Pickleball court as well, but the nepotism did affect the direction of money expenditures in a way that benefit a small portion of the students, a the expense of a larger portion of them. It would be sacrificing the education of many children, for the extracurricular activities of one child, or a few.
If the public was made more aware of such decisions, then they could more effectively speak out against such inefficient resource allocation before the funds are approved and spent. The school would then spend their money in a more cost-effective manner, maximizing the benefit to the whole student body.
Public Participation and Civic Engagement
Transparency also promotes public participation and civic engagement in local government. By providing access to information, such as meeting agendas, minutes, and reports, village boards and school boards allow citizens to stay informed and actively participate in decision-making processes. This inclusivity fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among community members, ultimately resulting in more well-informed and representative decisions.
It is important that the public knows when meetings are happening and what they will be about, so that they have a chance to attend, and speak to the subject in an informed way, helping to guide the public officials to make the best decision based, at least partly, on the input and advice of the electorate. This also has a side effect of rejuvenating civic engagement, as the citizenry will be more excited to engage in public decisions if they are made more aware of what those decisions entail, and how it may affect them.
Transparency is a fundamental pillar of effective local government, specifically when it comes to village boards and school boards. By promoting accountability, effective resource allocation, public participation, and trust-building, transparency strengthens the relationship between citizens and their elected officials. It ensures that decision-making processes are fair, inclusive, and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community. To build robust and sustainable local governance systems, it is imperative to prioritize transparency and actively work towards creating an environment where citizens have access to information and the ability to engage in decision-making processes.
This short essay will be the first in a series of essays I’m planning to write on the topic of good governance. It’s an important topic to me, as I feel very strongly that we need more than ever good governance practices in our government at all levels.
Please, if you’re reading this page, I IMPLORE you to watch the video above before going any further. Or indeed, if you’re short on time, I’d rather you watch that short 12 minute video RATHER than read my diatribe below. It will give you a great insight into a different way or perspective on how to look at decision making, which most definitely applies to governmental actions. It will also provide a huge insight into how I try to approach the world.
As a programmer by trade, it’s my job to solve problems. That’s my basic job description – problem solver. Everything else, all of the code, and data etc… those are all just tools and window dressing. They are secondary to actually solving the problem itself. And you can’t solve problems by coming at them with a closed mindset that sees only what it WANTS to see, or a “soldier” mindset as Ms. Galef describes in her video. If I lived my life with a “soldier” mindset, I would be a very poor problem solver, and I would create “solutions” that were inefficient, or frankly more harmful than the problems themselves. I’ve already seen this in my career so far – code and programs that add EXTRA workload to people’s lives rather than reduce that workload, which is kind of the opposite of what programmers should be trying to do. I’m sure you’ve run across this at least a few times in your life, when you’re frustrated with a piece of technology that seems to be getting in the way of your goal, of what you’re trying to accomplish. Those moments are the result of a soldier mindset, where the programmer decided beforehand that THIS was the way that things should be, rather than working with end users to make sure that the solution solved the problem in an elegant and efficient way that makes things easier, rather than harder.
To solve problems, it’s important that we see the world as it is, rather than how we want it to be, and try to move past our biases and predilections that may warp the lens with which we view the world. This is also why partisanship is a detriment to good governance. Because while having a pre-conceived notion or point of view before you get into a discussion is human nature, it also closes you off to being wrong. And being closed off to being wrong puts you into a place where you’re not open to discussion, debate, or compromise.
Good governance *IS* discussion, debate and compromise. There is a quote often attributed to one of our greatest leaders of the past, Abraham Lincoln:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
This quote from a well respected personage speaks of the importance of realizing that people are NOT a monolithic group. We are all unique individuals that have our own way of looking at things, and thinking about things. This is probably our greatest gift as humans – our variability. Its helped us to become the dominant species on the planet. It also points to the fact that a deception will only ever last so long – until the right person that doesn’t go along with the rest sees the deception for what it is, and exposes its falsehood to all.
Which is also why REAL conspiracies have a fairly short shelf life, and conspiracy theories should be given very little latitude. Because each person supposedly added in to a conspiracy exponentially increases the risk of that conspiracy being uncovered. So conspiracies that require dozens if not hundreds of people working in unison towards a common goal in complete secrecy? Most likely not realistic.
Why am I bringing up this quote anyways? Because I wanted to use this quote and paraphrase it to make it apply not just to deception, but to making people happy or comfortable. It could also be rephrased as follows: “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time”. And good governance is about realizing this, and doing what you can to “maximize happiness” as a utilitarian might say. You won’t please everyone all of the time, but with making wise choices based on the FACTS as we can know them, we can try to make the best decisions that will maximize people’s happiness with that decision. This requires moderation and compromise.
Now, if you follow the link above under the quote, you’ll see that we have no proof that Lincoln ever said that, and in fact, people quoting him as saying it without fact checking are doing the exact same thing that Ms. Galef is referring to… coming at something with a pre-conceived notion, and deciding that THAT is reality, without doing proper due diligence to ensure that what you believe to be true matches up with what’s actually true. Why do I bring this up? Because I just caught myself, during the writing of this essay, doing this exact same thing. I was just about to make use of this quote as-is, and attribute it to Lincoln to make the point that I made in the previous couple of paragraphs. I absolutely was and frankly, did. But then, I got to thinking about the thrust of the topic, and I asked myself, “what if I’m wrong”? So… I shifted myself from a soldier mentality to a scout mentality, and sought out the TRUTH of things, rather than what I’d like them to be. I discovered that I was indeed wrong, that Lincoln never said this. And I felt it important to note this, as a real life example of how a soldier mindset can cause issues like miscommunication and misunderstanding. However, the thrust of the argument is still valid, even if the source is obfuscated.
And what more, it offers a perfect example that all of us do this, myself included. It is a part of human nature to have a certain way of seeing the world, a certain viewpoint, and to not question that viewpoint without good evidence to the contrary. In philosophy it’s called the “Principle of Belief Conservation“, and it’s one of the many things that help us keep sane in an often times insane world. However, when taken to extremes, it leads to a soldier mindset, echo chambers, and confirmation bias, which are all VERY bad for us, and for the governments that we create and run.
We must make an effort to fight against this natural inclination to see ourselves as being always correct, and to seriously consider information contradictory to our existing positions.
It is only through this effort that we will find the “middle ground” that we need to maximize happiness and to ensure that our decisions are based on reality – what is, rather than the fiction that we may wish to live in – what isn’t.
I’ve had some time to look things over, and to formulate my thoughts on the election and its results. So, here they are.
First, I am actually excited to see that from last year’s election, we almost DOUBLED the number of participating voters, from 22.2% of all eligible voters, to 38.6% of all eligible voters. This is good news for our democracy. It shows that on the local level we’re getting much more interested in the process, and want to have our voices heard. This is a great thing!
I’d like to start by looking back at last election cycle to see my personal results, and then compare those to this cycle.
Here were my 2022 Spring results:
I did half as well for the Village Trustee position as I did for the school board, which makes sense, because really the school board is where my heart is, as I really want the best for our kids more than anything else. I also had some VERY strong competition for the Village Board, as pretty much everyone else on the ballot were well known names already in the local community, and I had just gotten started. I talked with my wife about the school board results, and while my percentage was extremely low, she told me that I should be proud of myself for accidentally running against the school board president who’d been on the board for over 15 years. I’ll have to take her at her word for that, as she has experience with this kind of thing, having grown up in another small rural Wisconsin community.
Now, looking at this year’s results…
In the School Board Primary, I did almost exactly as well as I did last year’s general election. So I have to assume it was largely the same people voting for me. The fact that it’s a primary however, and many people ignore primaries and just vote at the “regular” elections makes me feel a bit better about my results. Even though I was the lowest vote-getter and got knocked off the ballot, getting as many votes in the primary as I got in the general election last year I think I should consider some form of win. The total number of votes cast during the primary was 1,257. The total number of votes cast for the School Board during this year’s general election was 2,454, with only 14 of those being write-ins. Making the assumptions that if my name was still on the ballot, and that I would have received the same percentage of the vote… if we just increased the total number of votes cast from the primary to match the general election and increased my votes proportionately, then I would have theoretically received 253 votes, putting me at third place. Now, of course, that’s a WHOLE LOT of postulating, and most likely wouldn’t match up with reality. But it’s a slightly comforting thought to blunt the loss.
I did SUBSTANTIALLY better in the Trustee race than I did this time last year. In fact, almost three times better. So that shows some good progress. This could be partly attributed to the fact that my votes weren’t “split”, as I’m sure last year that at least a good chunk of people believed that I should only have one position or the other, but not both. This year, with me being knocked off the ballot for school board, I most likely consolidated all of the votes I would have gotten. I’m slightly miffed that with the efforts that I put in that I barely got more votes than two people who didn’t do any advertising that I had seen, and didn’t do any canvassing that I’m aware of. Que sera, sera.
This year, I started my canvassing at the opposite side of the Village from where I started last year and worked my way backwards. Between the last two years, I’ve physically canvassed roughly 75% of the Village of Fall Creek proper. Being a family man with a full time job, my time is fairly limited in that way, and physically walking from house to house to talk to people is EXTREMELY time consuming. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to even TOUCH the more “remote” areas outside of the main village that are still within the bounds of the school board’s jurisdiction, such as the Towns of Seymour and Lincoln. I hope to get to them next year.
I have determined that, with the progress that I have made, that there is a good portion of my fellow residents that hear my message and agree with it. I believe that I’m starting to build what they call a “constituency”, and I thank them all for their support. It’s been a long, hard road, and will continue to be one.
I don’t get anything for “free”, because I’m not what they call a “native son”. The “Bennett” name is not a name that’s been in the Fall Creek area for generations. I don’t get free automatic votes from people that knew me their entire lives, because nobody in Fall Creek has known me that long. I have no family, and very few friends here. I’m not a very social person, and I know that I can be very off-putting and rub people the wrong way. I’m working on that, the best that I can. I’ve had to work for every single vote that I’ve gotten so far, and I appreciate each and every person that has blessed me with their trust and faith. Thank you.
I have decided to continue my efforts. However, next year I will most likely focus on one board or the other, rather than splitting my attentions between both. Which one I choose will depend on a couple of factors, including who else may be running next year for the open positions.
I will no longer be attending the board meetings that the majority of my fellow citizens have decided that they don’t want me at. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted. Which means that I won’t be able to record those meetings and publish them. I IMPLORE both boards to do this voluntarily themselves, and show the community that they believe in full transparency, and that they aren’t afraid to let the public know how they behave and interact with each other. Meeting agendas and minutes only give the public so much information, and in my opinion, it’s not nearly enough. Non-verbal and verbal interactions between board members reveal a whole lot more about a person’s character than the way that they vote, often times.
I’m going to be reducing my Facebook footprint substantially. It’s been pointed out to me that it’s caused more detriments than benefits to my campaigns. People can misinterpret and take things the wrong way or only read/hear part of the message and ignore the rest. I’ve also been told that that constant presence there has become irritating to some, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s an irritant. We need to be able to talk about important issues without getting personal, and apparently that’s much harder to do on Facebook. So I will be mostly restricting my own thoughts to this site from here on out. That way people can come here if they want to know and hear them, rather than have them “forced” on them. I also do much better face-to-face than I do in text format, frankly, as it gives me the chance to see people’s reactions, and respond to them in kind, explaining myself further or in a different way as needed to make sure the message gets across correctly and isn’t misunderstood.
I’ve pointed out to most people reading this the faults and the problems that I’ve seen. And I think a lot of people are starting to open their eyes to those issues. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. Now, I think it’s time to start working on creating solutions to those problems.
I will also be slowing down a bit, spending some more time with my family, less time walking around, more time thinking about what I think this community needs, and formulating potential plans for improvement. To start focusing on solutions, rather than just problems.
I would like to thank again those that voted for me. Your voices have been heard. It’s not a roar, rather a low rumble, but I suspect that it will be a constant one that will grow in time.
Finally, I would once again like to congratulate all of the sitting board members that maintained their position in this election, as well as congratulate Amy Kurtz for her big win on the School Board. I hope that she will make some positive changes to the status quo.
Below are my answers to the Tri-County Area Times Questionnaire which they sent to all Board Trustee candidates that they could get a hold of.
1). Why do wish to serve or continue to serve the Village of Fall Creek as an elected official?
I was raised a Navy brat, knowing no real “home” for my entire childhood, which I’d always longed for. This happily changed when I moved here and settled down in this fantastic community. The Village of Fall Creek is a great place to have a family and raise children. Having my wonderful wife and two children of my own, I’d like to be able to represent myself and other “middle aged” parents on the board. I would like to see the village continue to prosper, renew, and to continue to be a place where my children would want to settle and raise their own families in the future.
2). What is your opinion on the relationship between the Village of Fall Creek and the Town of Lincoln and Eau Claire County and it’s importance for the future growth of the village?
I think that it’s important that the village continue to work together with the Town of Lincoln on local issues that affect both municipalities, and yet still maintain their separate spirits. The Town of Lincoln serves a community of individuals that live further apart from each other, while the Village of Fall Creek serves those that live generally in closer proximity. As such, they each have different wants and needs, and I think it’s important for us to recognize that, and for both groups to work together to achieve common goals, while not stepping on each other’s toes. Meanwhile, Eau Claire County continues to provide extended support for both municipalities, and it’s important for that dialogue to continue, for us to express to the county our needs, as well as representing ourselves sufficiently at that level of government. We must work together and try to tamp down on any divisive rhetoric. We’re all in this together, we should support and help each other. It’s the Midwest way.
3). Is there a project or program or initiative you would like to see the village take on or accomplish during your term in office that would help improve the quality of life in the village and what would it be?
Well at the forefront always, we should be mindful of “rural decay”, which is a very real issue facing villages such as ours. I don’t like seeing buildings that appear abandoned right in the heart of the village, and I think we can work together to resolve that. But that’s a long-term goal. In the short term, if I can just accomplish the task of opening government to fuller transparency and engaging the electorate in a more consistent and regular way, then I would consider my tenure to be one well spent. This would involve recording and publicizing all public meetings on the Village website (as I’ve been attempting to do as a private citizen), as well as providing all public documentation to the community online for free, without requiring an open records request. I’d like to make it policy that our local government pushes to give the community all the information they need to make informed decisions BEFORE the issues affecting them have been voted on, so that they have a chance to let their voices be heard.
The reason I decided to run for school board is simple… the TEACHERS!! Our teachers have been asked to go above and beyond in the onset of COVID and in the aftermath of COVID the high expectations haven’t gone away- in fact higher expectations have been placed on our teachers. Teachers who feel supported, heard, and their educational needs are being met create positive learning environments for their students.
What areas for improvement do you see in any areas under the board’s purview?
There is a significant need to address the educational gaps in our current curriculum, assessments, and how students are overall evaluated.
Presumably if someone is on a board, or wants to be on one, it’s because they want to make a positive impact on the community. What’s the biggest positive impact that you would like to see?
I would like to see our space needs met and be able to give ourselves room to grow. Currently classrooms are either nearing capacity or are over capacity. I believe the Fall Creek School Board and Fall Creek Village Board need to work together to plan for the future of the community.
What plans do you have to affect change, and why are these changes needed?
I plan to observe all classrooms in the Fall Creek School District and have open, honest communication with all teachers and support staff. I want to see the great things that are being done and get a greater insight on each classrooms needs. I can’t make affective change unless I truly know and understand the barriers teachers and support staff are facing.
To run for this position, you must believe that a change needs to be made and are working to replace at least one sitting board member. What makes you a better candidate for the position than the current sitting board members that are running to maintain their seats?
My reason to run for school board has nothing to do with the members up for re-election and everything to do with it being the right time in my personal life to run for school board. In the last year, I have seen how my children have been affected by decisions that have been made and I decided what better time than now. I want to be able to make a positive impact when my children are young and then be able to move on and enjoy my children’s school years.
How many board meetings have you attended in the last year? If none, why not? If you have attended meetings, what questions have you asked and/or what input have you provided to the sitting board?
I have attended one school board meeting in the last year. I attended this meeting to address the board on behalf of the kindergarten parents regarding the kindergarten class room sizes and requesting another kindergarten teacher be added for the school year. I drafted a letter to the board and gathered signatures from other kindergarten families who were in support of adding a kindergarten teacher due to significant safety issues and students’ educational needs not being met.
What have you done as a private citizen thus far to attempt to improve this community?
I have been and will continue to be a positive voice for the children in our community. I will continue to stand up for any injustice for our students, teachers, and community members.
I care about the students of Fall Creek School District and want to make sure we can educate our children but stay in budget.
What areas for improvement do you see in any areas under the board’s purview?
I feel that the board is doing a great job of putting the children’s education as top priority.
Presumably if someone is on a board, or wants to be on one, it’s because they want to make a positive impact on the community. What’s the biggest positive impact that you would like to see?
I would like to see better communication between the Village Board and the School Board. I will only make Fall Creek a better place to reside and to send their children.
What specific positive changes have you individually made so far, and what others do you have planned going forward?
As a board member we don’t do “individual positive changes”. We work together to make sure that the students are getting the best education possible, that the school stays on budget and all of the employees are being paid fairly according to other schools the same size as Fall Creek.
What distinguishes you from other sitting board members? What makes you a different kind of representative to the board that’s not already covered by any sitting board member? What do you offer that other board members do not?
I don’t feel that I stand out any more than any other board member. I have been on the board for 9 years and have enjoyed being part of a board that truly cares about the children and the employees of the district. We all have other jobs and we can utilize our experiences with other occupations to help run the school district proficiently.
What specific questions have you raised that have created more thoughtfulness in board decisions? What were the outcomes of those questions?
Any questions that I have raised that have created more thoughtfulness have been in closed session so they will not published.
Why do you think others have decided to run for your position? What have you done, or do you have planned to address their concerns and reasons for them to be running?
I have not heard from any other candidates as to why they are running for school board so I can’t answer that.