To the Editor-
With the election a week away, I wanted to provide some background information for the voters.
I am passionate about learning and teaching. There is nothing more important to a community than education and life-long learning. My work in a variety of formal and informal educational environments, as well as in business, gives me a deep understanding of educational and business systems. Working daily with Portage County school districts and businesses gives me a unique perspective which will strengthen the school board.
I am community-minded with experience in program development, board development, leadership development, volunteer recruitment, supervision, training, strategic planning, budgeting, event planning, fundraising, and marketing. My specialties include analyzing professional development needs; developing, marketing, delivering and evaluating professional development interventions; program management; facilitation; and educational technology.
I am a seasoned coordinator, educator and presenter able to work with, supervise and motivate individuals from a wide range of socio-economic, educational and age groups. I am experienced working with primary, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, community organizations, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and government agencies.
I have a Master of Science in Education in Adult Education/Human Resource Development from James Madison University. My work experience as Director of Workforce Development, adjunct faculty and professional development specialist will be an asset to the board.
- Director of Workforce Development for PCBCF
- Oversee Partners In Education and Leadership Portage County
- Adjunct Faculty for UWSP, UWMC and NCTC
- Teach in School of Business & Economics (Negotiation, Leadership, Human Resource Management, Supervision, and special topics)
- Professional Development Specialist, JMU
- Oversaw professional development of AP Faculty, Classified Staff and Wage Employees (in areas of administrative skills, communication, customer service, diversity, facilitation, instructional design, leadership, organizational development, supervision/management, team building and work/life wellness)
- Professional Development Consultant
- SDI, MBTI, KGI Certified
- Licensed facilitator for: CoreStrengths, Have a Nice Conflict, Becoming a Leader We Need with Strategic Intelligence, and FranklinCovey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Leading at the Speed of Trust, 5 Choices, and Project Management)
I realize there may be some concern regarding the fact that I work for the Portage County Business Council Foundation. However, my current position is a benefit to being on the school board as I work with local school districts and businesses on a daily basis. Overseeing the Leadership Portage County and Partners In Education programs has provided me with unique perspectives and networks within our community.
Another concern may be my lack of attendance at the candidate forums and school board meetings. Unfortunately I have been unable to attend the candidate forums and school board meetings due to teaching commitments on Monday and Wednesday evenings this spring.
I would like to thank the League of Women Voters for providing the candidate forum questions to me so I could respond to them after the forum.
- Why do you want to be on the school board?
- After watching multiple school board meetings, I have asked myself the same question. There comes to a point where you have to make a decision, either walk away and hope things fix themselves or take an active role in trying to make a positive difference. My hope is to help facilitate positive change.
- What do you look for in qualities for a new superintendent?
- Stevens Point Area Public Schools need a superintendent that is passionate about education, cares about students, can connect with the community, and oversees the daily management of the district. The superintendent needs to be able to communicate with staff, teachers, and parents.
- The Consolidated Task Force report has been completed. What do you feel are the best proposals?
- At this time, I do not feel I can adequately identify the best proposals. I still need to do some research and meet with stakeholders before I can determine that.
- How would you propose handling the budget crisis due to the state budget for our school?
- The state budget is a big concern for many organizations in the district. As with any crisis, you need to look at your current state and then see what can be reduced or eliminated. That being said, most educational institutions run on lean budgets. The greatest challenge would be to try to maintain a balanced budget without negative impacts on students. At this point I cannot give specific recommendations on how to handle the budget crisis without a detailed analysis of the current budget; understanding operational policies, procedures and limitations; and knowing how current activities and staff are funded. A general recommendation I would make to get an idea of the impact on various areas of the district would be to have staff create reduced budgets (2%, 5%, 10%) to see what the impact would be before making budget cut decisions.
- It has been said “schools are the heart of the community” How do you believe this?
- Schools provide a place where the entire community comes together to learn, grow and develop support networks. Schools are not only a place for learning academics, they are a place where we learn about community, diversity and making a difference. I believe education and life-long learning are crucial to the success of individuals and communities. As individuals learn and apply that knowledge, we become a stronger community.
The school district faces many challenges including the state budget, contract negotiations, hiring a new superintendent, moving forward on the Consolidated Task Force recommendations, and addressing the transportation issues among others. One thing that concerns me is the potential lack of a superintendent after Dr. Weninger leaves. School boards are meant to provide strategic vision and guide districts toward that vision, not oversee the daily operations of the district. Hiring an interim superintendent should be a high priority for the board.
It is up to the public to decide which candidates they feel can best represent their interests while meeting the needs of district students and staff. I encourage the public to positively support the candidates of their choice.
The Stevens Point Area Public Schools and the community need board members that:
- are informed, responsible, and objective.
- are passionate about education and the community.
- lead by example through their actions, words and behaviors.
- are not afraid to ask hard questions.
- are not afraid of productive conflict.
If elected I will:
- listen to all sides before making decisions.
- make the best decisions for students and the community based on all the information available.
Thank you for your support on April 7th.
Judy Rannow, Stevens Point
School Board Candidate