As an English teacher, I am always asking students to "fill in the blank" on tests. Now I am asking the voters to consider TWO write-in candidates for the school board. You are probably aware that there are three openings for board members in the upcoming election, yet only two candidates filed to fill those seats. Gwen Howard and Kristen Beck filed. What should voters do about that other blank? That was the question we teachers were asking. As a member of Education Minnesota - Kingsland, and on behalf of all voters - I asked the two write-in candidates to answer a few questions. Their responses are shared here. Please read through them and choose one name to "fill in the blank!" Use ASHER or McCASLIN. Thank you!

The five questions asked were

1. Who are you?

2. Why did you choose to be a write-in candidate?

3. What do you hope to accomplish as a school board member?

4. Education matters because _________ (a fill in the blank question)

5. Within our school district, what is one area where you see room for improvement?

Here are the candidates' responses:

TROY ASHER

1. Who are you?

My name is Troy Asher, and I am 41 years old. I was born in Rochester, and grew up in Chatfield. I moved to Wykoff in the summer of 1995, and have lived there ever since. I have been employed by Tuohy Furniture Corp. in Chatfield for the past 17 years as well. I started there in the sales and customer service department, and switched over to the production side of the business in 2000. I have been a CNC programmer/operator for the past 9 years. One of the benefits of working for Tuohy is that they have allowed me to do some installations around the country in places like Chicago and New York City.

2. Why did you choose to be a write in candidate?

I have a couple of reasons for wanting to be on the School Board, the first being I have a 6-year old-son, Cameron, who is a first grader at Kingsland. The second reason is that it was brought to my attention that there are no candidates from Wykoff. I believe that there should be at least one voice from Wykoff.

3. What do you hope to accomplish as a school board member?

Not knowing a great deal about what a member can do, I just hope to be someone who is helpful and a productive member who will do the best he can for the students and the community.

4. Education matters because without one in the world today, it is nearly impossible to lead a fruitful and productive life. More and more jobs that don't require an education are going to places where labor is cheap, and unfortunately that is not here. This makes a good education even more important for our children to compete in the future.

5. Within our school district, what is one area where you see room for improvement?

Once again, not knowing a great deal about our school board, I would say that in anything, there is room for improvement, and I will do my best to help do that.

SEAN McCASLIN

1. Who are you?

I am Sean McCaslin; I was born and raised in Spring Valley. I attended Kingsland's grades K-12, and went on to Riverland Community College. I have assisted in several activities / programs throughout the years, including assisting with the Memorial Day Chicken Feed and setting up for the annual Ag Days parade for the past 6+ years. As an employee of State Farm Insurance in Spring Valley for over 3 years, I enjoy daily contact with our community.

2. Why did you choose to be a write- in candidate?

Although I follow issues concerning our schools, I did not consider being on the school board until I was approached by a local teacher. After some serious consideration and discussions, I believe I could be a value-add to the Kingsland School Board.

3. What do you hope to accomplish as a school board member?

Although I feel the current School Board members are doing a good job, I think I can offer additional insight to ensure the decisions made by our School Board are done with the best interest of the students. I will bring to this position honesty and candor, and a willingness to work as a team.

4. Education matters because the young people in Kingsland are our future, and the school is a vital part of our community. The choices we make today regarding the quality of that education will certainly affect our community in a positive manner. I'd like to help ensure those decisions continue to foster leaders for tomorrow.

5. Within our school district, what is one area where you see room for improvement?

I am not sure what needs to be improved, as I stated, I feel the School Board is doing a good job. I am anxious to learn and gain insight and improve any area that needs it.