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Five running for Lanesboro School Board
By Melissa Vander Plas
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:43 AM
Five Lanesboro-area residents are running for three seats on the school board. From left are Sara Decker Baskett, David Lawstuen, Sarah Pieper, Terri Scott and Christine Troendle.
Candidates for election answered three questions sent to them by the Republican-Leader. Their answers are printed after the number corresponding with the following questions.
1. What has motivated you to file for this office? If you are an incumbent, please note how many years you have served and why you wish to continue.
2. Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.
3. Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the school board and how would you proceed?
Five local residents are seeking three school board seats on the Lanesboro School Board. The ballot will include the names of incumbents Sara Decker Baskett and Dave Lawstuen as well as Sarah Pieper, Terri Scott and Christine Troendle.
The candidates were mailed a questionnaire including three questions, printed above. Their profiles and views are printed below.
Sara Decker Baskett
Sarah Decker married Brian Baskett since filing for election in August. Therefore, her name on the ballot will appear as Sara Decker even though she now goes by Sara Baskett. She is the program and marketing director with the Lanesboro Arts Center. She has three children, Gabe, Magnolia and Esme as well as stepchildren Olivia and Donovan.
1. I am running for school board because I believe I can continue to be an asset to the Lanesboro School District. I have served on the board for four years and during that time I have worked with fellow school board members and the administration to build upon successful policies for educating our students and on new initiatives to improve our school. I am working with others on our path of continuous improvement at Lanesboro: we can and should work towards excellence - and not be satisfied with "OK" - in all areas of our school to best serve our students and our community. I have three kids in Lanesboro schools, in fourth, eighth and 11th grades. Since moving here 11 years ago, my family has also benefited from Lanesboro Childcare Center, pre-school and ECFE. I have a B.A. from Northwestern University.
2. I have high expectations. For myself, my co-workers, my kids and family, my community and my school. I want to see people and organizations reach their full potential. My ability to motivate others and cooperate with others towards goals for excellence makes me a valuable member of the school board. I am also a big proponent of creatively utilizing our human resources and building upon these strengths.
3. Upcoming issues that I feel need to be addressed are in keeping with my belief in the importance of having high expectations and setting goals for excellence. Top priorities: 1. Curriculum: support teachers in continuing education, and on the ongoing improvement and development of curriculum to best challenge and prepare students, teaching them to learn and think, and readying them for lifelong contributions to society. Staying on the forefront on the use of technology in the classroom will also benefit the students, as we learned at this month's board meeting (Oct. 16) during Mr. Cullen's demonstration of new technology use in his geometry class. 2. Nutrition and health education: Continue to support staff on progress made toward new USDA guidelines and set goals for healthier meals with more fresh fruits and vegetables, on-site preparation and less processed foods, providing optimum nutritional benefit - and therefore best brain power - for students.
David Lawstuen is the owner and operator of a family farm southeast of Lanesboro as well as the chair of Iowa's Dairy Center in Calmar and the Dairy Science Faculty at Northeast Iowa Community College. He and his wife, Deb, have two children, Kirstin (a senior) and Kyle (a sophomore).
1. I have served on the school board for six years. I believe it is important for students and the community for Lanesboro to remain an Independent School District. The benefit of having pre-school through 12th grade in the same building with small class sizes is evident from our open enrollment numbers. The board should invest to maintain a school in Lanesboro. Additionally, I believe it is important to have academic rigor, particularly in math and science. Furthermore it is important that the high standards established in the senior composition class for college credit be expanded to other disciplines.
2. The one characteristic would probably be a diverse background. I'm a graduate of Lanesboro High School and the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in genetics and a minor in statistics. I worked in industry for 10 years and currently I'm a business owner of the family farm and at Northeast Iowa Community College I'm both an educator and administrator.
3. Lanesboro is financially sound with a solid reserve. The top priority should be to elevate the quality of education in the core disciplines as well as vocational agriculture and industrial arts. I would like to have smart board technology implemented into the classrooms that remain without it and then integrate it with the students' netbooks for lecture and homework. Additionally, sequentially over the next couple of years, expand the distribution of netbooks to the lower grades. These netbooks, as well as courses for college credit, ACT preparation classes, pre-school transportation, FFA judging contests, school plays, musicals and sports should continue to be provided without fees to our students.
Sarah Pieper and her husband, Jon, are owners of Old Village Hall Restaurant and Pub in Lanesboro. They have three children, Claire in seventh grade, Sophie in fifth grade and Tate in third grade.
1. I have lived in Lanesboro for almost 19 years and have three children attending the Lanesboro School. They are what motivated me to run for the Lanesboro School Board. I believe our school has many great attributes to offer our students, but as a parent and community member, I want to contribute in keeping our standards high and our school the best it can be, fiscally and academically. I have seen the school from the inside as the past director of the Lanesboro Child Care Center and have watched my children and others seamlessly move from the daycare to ECFE and preschool, to the elementary school and high school. I feel the school provides a full-service care for families in Lanesboro and the surrounding communities.
2. I believe I would bring my organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks to the school board position. My experience running my own business and running the daycare has given me the skills to set goals, assess priorities and follow things through to completion. My husband, Jon, and I relocated to Lanesboro in 1994 because we thought this community was a great place to start a business that attracted a diverse group of people who, like us, have an independent spirit. It allowed us to grow a business using our hard work, creativity and drive to succeed. I feel our school district also reflects that spirit; we succeed because we work together. I would like to work with the school and other board members to continue evaluating and improving what our school has to offer its students and community.
3. There isn't one specific issue that I am hoping to address or change by becoming a member of the school board. My motivation is to stay on top of any issues and to deal with any and all matters in a thorough, fair and timely manner. I want to help the board look ahead and identify what the long-term issues are that we need to focus on now. As schools continue to face budget cutbacks, we need to find the best ways to spend our money on curriculum standards, technology, fine arts, extra-curricular activities and keeping our physical site well maintained. Finally, I believe open communication between students, staff and administration is so important to assure that all issues are addressed and resolved in a proactive and positive manner.
Terri Scott is a kindergarten and first grade autism teacher in the Rochester Public Schools . She is married to Kevin Scott and they have three children, Erin Cady and her husband, Justin; Halle, a freshman and Collin, an eighth grader.
1. My oldest daughter graduated from Lanesboro in 2006 and my other two children currently attend Lanesboro High School. I believe in Lanesboro Public Schools. I have no agenda with my candidacy other than to work for the best interest of the school district and make well-informed decisions based on facts. I want the best for not only my children's future, but for all students and am looking forward to the opportunity to be a positive representative of the school district.
2. Experience - I am a parent, educator and community member. As a parent, I have a vested interest in the decisions that are made about my children's education. As an educator with over 20 years of experience, I can and will bring the prospective of the faculty that I represent. I believe that view is vital as those are the people providing the high standard of education to our students. As a community member, I have an interest in the school district's ability to provide successful and challenging programs that prepare our children for their future while maintaining a fiscally sound budget.
3. I believe it is important for Lanesboro to maintain a K-12 Independent School District. As a school district and community, we need to work together to research, create and sustain unique and creative programs for all children at all levels of learning in order for the Lanesboro School District to attract growth in open enrollment as well as keeping our current student population.
Christine Troendle is a self-employed dairy farmer. She and her husband, Pat, have three children, Travis in 10th grade, Jared in eighth grade and Devin in fourth grade.
1. We all have a responsibility toward the children of our community. We each have a part in creating the environment in which they grow to adults. I have many varied experiences developing and leading programs for youth. School board involvement is another manner in which to contribute.
2. Attention to detail is what comes to mind first. Given a situation, I explore possible outcomes, attempting to prepare for each reasonable result. Any project comes at me in a series of questions as to how the details will blend and be implemented.
3. The issues a school board addresses are many and varied. I have no issue of concern that merits special mention. My initial intent would be to learn more exactly the role of a school board member and to understand the factors that contribute to decisions. Things often look different when you can see them from a different perspective.
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