Incumbent Kristin Beck and Gwen Howard have filed to be on the Kingsland School Board, which has three open seats, for the Nov. 6 election. Troy Asher and Sean McCaslin are proposed write-in candidates for the board, and they did not respond to our questionnaire.

Both Beck and Howard responded and their responses are listed below. The responses are listed in alphabetical order according to the last names of the candidates.

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.

Beck: I have decided to file for a second term on the Kingsland School Board as it is a very exciting time to be a part of Kingsland. With some of our new initiatives such as all day, every day kindergarten, Project Lead the Way and College in the Schools, as well as the implementation of Ipads and Netbooks, it is a very exciting time for the students, parents, staff and communities of Kingsland.

With that being said, I would like to thank the taxpayers of our school district for supporting the education of our students two years ago with the passing of our operating levy. Without your support, our school would not be where it is today and our new initiatives would not be possible.

Howard: Promoting public education, especially at Kingsland, and communication to the people of the school district who support the education of their youth is essential for a school district to remain strong.

After being approached by area residents to consider running, my decision to run for the Kingsland School Board was based on my concerns of issues communicated to me not only from individuals within our district, but from outside our school district. Being a former graduate, teacher, parent of former children of this district, and grandmother and aunt to other children served here, I want Kingsland to be pursued by others for their education instead of one being avoided.

With Project Lead the Way and College in the Schools being successful, I want to ensure that each student within the Kingsland school system receives their fair shot at education or training that will enable them to compete in the workforce after graduation; not all students continue to a post-secondary school and it is my concern that there be focus for the needs of those students.

Name one characteristic you have that has enabled you or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.

Beck: I believe the fact that I have two children in our school helps me to be a valuable member of the school board. I believe when you have children actively enrolled in the school, it gives you an entirely different perspective on the issues and challenges our schools are facing.

Howard: The one characteristic that I feel will enable me to be a valuable member of this board is my perseverance. Perseverance not only in being steadfast in beliefs, but continued persistence to seek out the truth along with correct information, active listening, communication, and concerns of others to make a well-educated decision on issues placed before me. The skills of active listening and communication are a vital component of perseverance and I feel those skills will enable me to interact with others. I have been able in the past to withstand discouragement and difficulty from others to acquire my own life's goals and feel this characteristic will allow me to best serve the members of both Wykoff and Spring Valley.

I continue to stay current on educational issues both on the state and federal level relating to public education, which is a vital component in the ability to persevere. There are many changes unfolding in public education and without perseverance, communication, collaboration, and cooperation the most important reason why we continue to have schools within our communities could suffer greatly as well as the educational needs of our children.

Top priority: If elected, what is your top priority for 2013 and the next four years?

Beck: My top priority for my second term on the school board is the education of our children and helping to ensure they get the education they need to have a successful future.

Howard: My top priority is based on the three "C's":

Communication is the basis by which people feel informed and this is one of the goals that I feel is needed between the Kingsland School Board and the communities that comprise this school district. Seeking out concerns from all key members is important and keeping them informed at their level of medium is important; not everyone in either community is connected to the Internet or cable television.

Cooperatively building trust in decision making among all the key members of the school district; administration, parents, school board members, taxpayers, students, and teachers to make Kingsland an educationally superior school that attracts children from other districts where the education is for all. Kingsland has a lot to offer for educating our youth in today's technological society in keeping pace with the world's future workforce needs.

Collaboration in working with all the members of the school district; administration, parents, school board members, taxpayers, students, and teachers to resolve the issues that currently stand before us: our communities' children open enrolling to other districts, student/teacher ratio, education for all, training, staff resources, accountability on all levels, and quality use of our facilities.

Biographical information: Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

Beck: I have lived in Spring Valley my entire life and graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1991. My husband, Kevin, and I have two children, Jordan who is in seventh grade and Shelby who is in third grade. My biggest qualification for the school board is that I have already served for four years. There have been challenges during those four years, but it has also been a very rewarding experience.

Howard: Having been born and raised in Spring Valley, I am a Spring Valley High School graduate and have two daughters who graduated from Kingsland. My Bachelor of Science degree was received from Winona State and Master's degree in special education from the University of Northern Colorado, Greely. I am a lifelong resident of this community with the exception of the six years living in the state of Virginia.

In Virginia, I was appointed to the Parent/Teacher Education Committee, was a substitute teacher, and was a licensed-based home daycare until moving back to Minnesota. I was a paraprofessional at Kingsland for one and a half years and a special education teacher for 15 years until accepting employment with Hiawatha Valley Education District as a blind/visually impaired consultant. While employed with Kingsland, I served on administrative selected Leadership Committee, provided leadership on various appointed special education groups, and was a ninth grade and junior high volleyball coach. I held the treasurer and membership liaison position and was president of the Kingsland Education Association for two years each. I was also a member of the Spring Valley City Council and was a member of the PRAXIS, teacher licensure test, revision committee for ETS, Princeton, N. J.