1. Why did you decide to apply for the open position on the Bismarck School Board?
I've always had an interest in public service, and the school board feels like an opportunity where my perspectives and ideas might be a good fit. Now that I have children, who are just beginning their BPS careers, I think it's even more important to be engaged in the decisions that guide our school district.
2. What separates you from the other candidates?
Our family made our home here in Bismarck three years ago after moving from the Kansas City area. One of the biggest factors that influenced our decision to move here was the quality of life — most specifically, the excellent school district for our children. From my experience of being a transplant to Bismarck, I have a fresh perspective that might benefit the board. Furthermore, in my professional life, I have significant experience in facilities and spatial planning for higher education institutions. With the current issues facing our district's growth, I am very much in-tune with the multiple variables that need to be considered as we try to balance available resources with the needs of our students.
3. If selected, what would your priorities be for the district over the next 10 months?
My priorities would be twofold: the first would be to carefully work through the tough issues currently at hand — most specifically, trying to listen and keeping an open mind to all stakeholder concerns that might influence broader decisions. The second priority would be to take a more active approach in engaging the larger Bismarck community in the decisions that affect the district. Regardless of whether or not a resident has a student in BPS, our schools have a direct impact on the strength and success of our city, and we benefit when we're all engaged in the discussion.
4. Do you plan to run for a term after this 10-month period?
I would certainly consider it, and I think I would enjoy an extended term on the school board. However, I like to take one day at a time, and would carefully consider the decision closer to election time.
5. What are the main issues facing the school district right now?
I think the primary issue that's on everyone's mind is the question of, 'How do we balance the needs of our students with the continued increases in enrollment?' I don't know that there's one easy answer to solve this question, and I think it's clear that it's both an issue we've grappled with for some time, and one that will continue to be a concern.
6. What is one thing the Bismarck School Board does well? What is one thing you think it could improve?
First and foremost, the Bismarck School Board does an excellent job in carefully evaluating all options/solutions that might be available for any given challenge. From what I've experienced, they work very hard to weigh all the options that might be on the table in order to provide the best leadership for the district. In regards to improvement, I think both the school board and BPS could more effectively communicate with the business community, as well as with the other jurisdictional entities throughout Bismarck.