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Meet The School Board Candidates

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011

Tuesday will be School Board Elecion Day across Iowa. All four school districts in Palo Alto County will feature contested elections for their respective Boards of Education.

With nine candidates vying for the three positions on the Emmetsburg Community School Board, The Democrat offered all nine candidates a series of questions.

RICK BRENNAN – I was born and raised in Emmetsburg. My parents are Bob & Mary Brennan and I am a 1986 graduate of Emmetsburg High School and a 1990 Buena Vista University graduate. My wife Diane and I have four children: Patrick 15, Wesley 14, Evan 11 and Anna 9. I work for the Iowa Trust & Savings Bank and I serve on several community organizations in the area. I feel I am a good candidate for the Emmetsburg School Board because I am interested in advancing the educational opportunities our children have now, and in the future. I also want to help the Emmetsburg Community School District grow and help our children gain the educational experience they need to succeed for the rest of their lives.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – The Emmetsburg Community School Board faces many challenges. Most rural schools are facing similar issues such as declining enrollment & making sure facilities meet the needs of the students and community. Today’s teachers and administration face issues that did not exist when I was a student at EHS and I believe a school board member must partner with administration, teachers, coaches and other staff to provide a positive learning environment.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? – If I were to be elected to the Emmetsburg Community School Board of Directors my goal is very simple. I want to work with administration and staff to understand the needs of our school district and help address these needs. As a school board member I will not micro-manage the daily affairs of the district. I believe a board member needs to ensure that the policies and procedures of the district are being adhered to and work with staff to make improvements as needed. I also want to work with school administration to seek potential partnerships within our area to build relationships to allow the district to offer quality educational opportunities for all of our students.

LAURE EGLAND (Incumbent) – I grew up in Graettinger and have lived in Emmetsburg since 1990. I have my Master of Science in Nursing. I teach in the nursing department at Iowa Lakes Community College. I am married and my husband, son and step-sons all graduated from Emmetsburg High School. Three years ago I came onto the school board without any personal agenda and that continues today. As an educator at the community college level, I feel it is important that students get an educational foundation that will allow them to be successful at the college level and become productive citizens in the working world. I believe this foundation starts at the community school level. I want to ensure that this foundation continues for our students.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – Probably the most important issue facing our school board is zero percent allowable growth, which was approved by the Iowa Senate for this fiscal year and declining enrollment. Our expenses for operating the school will most certainly continue to increase while at the same time our funding from the state will not. Our declining enrollment will also affect our budget and spending ability. As a result of these issues the board members must be fiscally responsible while at the same time providing the means for an excellent education for children.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? – One of my goals as a school board member is to continue to see our students meet proficiency standards in math, reading and science. This goal can be accomplished by continuing to provide a rigorous education system that challenges student to do their best. Along with our teachers, students need the support and encouragement of their parents to meet these proficiency levels. Parent must be involved in their child’s education.

JOHNNY?HURLEY – I am married to Rick Hurley; Mother to Molly Hurley age 23, Kyle Hurley age 19, and Kelsey Hurley age 16. Although we did not live in the Emmetsburg School district until 2 years ago, all 3 of our children attended Emmetsburg Community School District through open enrollment. Open enrollment started when the kids were in kindergarten. Both Molly and Kyle graduated from Emmetsburg High School and Kelsey is presently a junior at EHS.

I am a former teacher and coach of EHS. I currently teach in the Business Department for Iowa Lakes Community College where I serve on the following committees:

Curriculum Committee Chair for 2 years

Academic Review Committee

Standards & Policies Committee

Academic Council Committee

I have a vested interest in Emmetsburg Community School as a community member and a parent. My experience as a teacher and knowledge in the educational field provide me with skills necessary to be a qualified candidate for the school board.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – Two of the hardest issues that school board members face today are budget cuts and declining enrollment, which often mean larger class sizes and layoffs.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? – Provide Opportunities for Every Student – Students need an education that can provide them with the tools to become productive and self-sufficient citizens.

Retain and Recruit Outstanding Educators – We need to be competitive with other districts to recruit and maintain our best educators and provide them with the tools they need.

Smart Use of Tax Dollars – Focus on planning for budget cuts rather than reacting to budget cuts. Tax Dollars need to be used wisely, efficiently, and productively.

Collaboration – Parents, teachers, students and the community as a whole, must be part of the school board’s decision making process.

SCOTT?KIBBIE – I was born and raised in the Ayrshire/Emmetsburg area. I am a 1987 graduate of Emmetsburg High School and following graduation continued my education at Iowa Lakes Community College. My wife Kim and I have three children, Jake, Dylan and Grant. I am a self-employed farmer and my wife Kim is Emmetsburg’s city clerk. I feel I am a good candidate for the Emmetsburg School Board because I believe it is important to continue improving our children’s educational opportunities so that they may succeed in the future.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – I feel one of the most important issues the Emmetsburg Community School Board of Education faces is the declining enrollment which has a direct impact on the budget. I feel my personal experience as a student when the Ayrshire school district consolidated will help to assist any future relationships with other neighboring school districts. I believe the financial experience I’ve gained through my years as a self-employed farmer will bring a benefit to the board as it works through the district’s budget challenges, both at present and in the future.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? – As a new member of the Emmetsburg School Board I would be dedicated to partnering with the administration and teachers to continue providing an environment where our kids can succeed both academically and in their extracurricular activities to help prepare them for their future, and to assist them in becoming positive citizens and our future’s leaders.

SCOTT?LOWMAN – I was born and a raised in Emmetsburg, and graduated from the Emmetsburg Community High School. After graduating from high school, I attended Iowa Lakes Community College and then Dana College in Blair, Nebraska earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. I work for Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica in Fort Dodge (formerly Fort Dodge Animal Health) as a Senior Specialist in Regulatory Affairs and have been with the company for 14 years. My wife, Sharon, and I moved back to Emmetsburg in 2004 to raise our family which now includes Jackson (8), Mitchell (7), Celia (5) and Adeline (1). We chose to move back to Emmetsburg because of the many positive aspects of this community including the small town values, the pride taken to maintain the infrastructure and appearance and above all else, to have our children attend the Emmetsburg Community School District. I take great initiative to stay informed about our school district and community and have been following the progress and many changes that have taken place within our school district and I believe that my personal and work experiences will help to bring a fresh and positive perspective to the Emmetsburg Community School Board. I look forward to the chance to use my knowledge and understanding when working to combat such issues as declining enrollment, budgetary concerns, teacher retention and other administrative issues that arise. Education is the most important building block for our society and by being on the Emmetsburg Community School Board; I feel that I can make a difference in the youth of Emmetsburg, who will be tomorrow’s leaders.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – Every school district in the state of Iowa has many challenges that they face from day-to-day, year-to-year and many districts are facing many of the same challenges. When analyzing the Emmetsburg Community School District I believe that some of the main challenges and primary concerns that we are facing include declining enrollment, budgetary issues, appropriate classroom facilities and sizing, the different educational opportunities that are available to our students and student safety. These are all topics that cannot be solved overnight, but are areas of concern for many residents of this community. It will take a lot of time and planning from the Emmetsburg Community School Board to work out ways to fix these areas of concern collaboratively with our educators and school administration. We have an administration in place to run this district and make decisions; I feel the board is there as a check and balance and needs to be able to work with the administration to conduct the business of the district without impeding on the administration’s duties.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? – As a member of the Emmetsburg Community School Board of Directors my goals are simple. My first goal would be to have the board work collaboratively for our students using each board member’s strengths to make the best decisions possible for our school district. My next goal would be to ensure we have the best instructional staff that is possible to provide a top notch academic environment as well as provide support for the various extra-curricular activities offered; many of which have been shinning stars for this community to be proud of. My final goal would be to tackle each challenge that our board would face head on and to thoroughly investigate all options in a timely manner so that the best decisions are made for our district. I believe that it is important that our school board work together to keep the community informed and continue the pride that our citizens and students have in our school district. There should be a common goal within the Emmetsburg Community School District to have students leave our school system well prepared to enter post-secondary educational opportunities or careers with the resources needed for success. At the end of the day if we contact any student after graduating from Emmetsburg High School I’d like them to be able to say, “My time and experience in Emmetsburg was the best that it could possibly be and I hope to raise my children there someday too”.

STEVE?PELZER (Incumbent) – My wife, Sandy, and I have lived in Emmetsburg for the past 15 years. We have three children, Ben, age 19, Daniel, age 17 and Anna Kate, age 15. I have a Finance degree from UNI and a Masters in Business Administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State. I work at Iowa Lakes Community College, where I am the Director of Financial Aid. I have served on the Emmetsburg School Board for seven years. During that time, I have learned a great deal about the strengths and challenges that our district faces. I have worked together with staff and community members to bring our new Middle School, Auditorium and other improvements to fruition. This school year, we were able to implement “one-to-one” computer technology (a laptop for every high school student). I think that my experience on the school board, combined with my educational background, makes me an excellent candidate for the school board.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – The most important issue that the school board faces is student achievement. The board needs to continue to support innovative ideas that will lead to higher student achievement. Monetary concerns are also things the board is very aware of. State funding has made a significant impact on our budget and we continue to lobby for increased funding for K-12 education.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? My goal for the school board is to be able to continue to offer an excellent education to the youth of Emmetsburg. It can be realized through sound fiscal management. The board needs to work hard to understand the state funding. The school district needs to continue to attract excellent teachers like the ones we currently have. We also need to work hard to prepare the children for the challenges of the 21st century. The Iowa core curriculum is a step in the right direction. Also the one to one laptop program hopefully will help prepare our students for the future. The school board needs to continue to support the growth and use of technology for our students.

KATHY?ROETHLER – My husband, Bob, and I have lived in Emmetsburg since 1972. Bob was a Guidance Counselor and coach in the Emmetsburg School District from 1972-1980. Our son Robert was a student, kindergarten thru high school, in Emmetsburg, and graduated in 1995. I am qualified to serve on the school board because I am a responsible citizen, I am genuinely concerned for our youth, I have common sense, and I am willing to learn.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – With the economy in a downward spiral, it is important to maintain an excellence in education while continuing to run an efficient school district. Our students must have a positive environment in which to learn and our teachers must have the resources necessary to maintain a high standard of education.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board, what are your goals for the school district and how could they be realized? Even within the confines of our limited budget I want our students to continue to have a superior education, learn to be productive citizens and leave our district with the tools necessary to either continue their education or enter the work force. This can be done by allowing our educators to teach beyond the curriculum, broadening our students horizons by involving them in non-structured activities, helping our students become more marketable in a very competitive world and teaching them the life lessons necessary to reach their goals.

BJ?SCHANY – I was born and raised outside of Emmetsburg and attended Emmetsburg Community Schools. After graduating from Emmetsburg High School, I received my associate’s degree from Iowa Lakes Community College, my bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State and my master’s degree in Agribusiness from Kansas State University. My wife and I have three children who attend Emmetsburg Community Schools. I am an active member of the Emmetsburg Little League board, the Emmetsburg Flag Football Board, and the airport commission and I am employed by POET Biorefining as the commodities manager.

I feel strongly that I am the best-qualified candidate for the school board because I am confident that I can make sound, well-informed decisions that are in the best interests of the students in the Emmetsburg Community School District.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – The most important issues that the school board members face are making fiscally responsible decisions, advocating for the highest quality education possible as well as providing support so that students can become globally competitive.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board of Directors, what are your goals for the school district and how can they be realized? – It is my goal to keep our school district financially sound. With current budget concerns in the state of Iowa, the school board needs to continue to practice fiscal responsibility in the area of budgets and expenditures.

In addition, I would like to consider ways to increase enrollment within our district. To continue to be successful, the district and the board need to consider ways to bring more students to the Emmetsburg district.

LINDA MATHIS TIENTER (Incumbent) – My name is Linda Mathis Tienter and I grew up in Emmetsburg. My father, the late Virgil Mathis, was a biology instructor in the Emmetsburg High School and junior college from 1947-1980 (33 years). I was also a teacher myself for 27 years. I taught in one room rural schools in South Dakota, and also on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Since retiring in 2005, I moved back to Emmetsburg and ran as a candidate for the Emmetsburg School Board in 2007. I was elected and have served a four-year term on the Emmetsburg School Board, as well as the PAK Empowerment Board. I am dedicated to public service that can have a positive influence on young lives, and I focus on making decision in the best interest of all children.

What are the most important issues that the school board members face? – I think the most important issues that the school board members face at this time are budget and finances. In per pupil funding for the 2011-2012 school year, the school district will operate without a raise to offset the school’s actual costs increases. For the 2012-2013 school year, a two percent increase has been proposed under Governor Terry Branstad’s two-year budget plan. However, we could still end up with another school year of zero percent allowable growth, which would mean the school board would have to make some very tough decisions regarding probable spending cuts.

As a member of the Emmetsburg School Board of Directors, what are your goals for the school district and how can they be realized? – My primary goal for the school district is to see that all students receive a quality academic education. My platform is, “Given the proper tools, every child can learn to read well.”

It is the responsibility of the school board to see that a condusive learning environment is provided for all students. This includes determining class size for maximum learning, which is extremely important in the lower grades. If a student doesn’t learn to read well in the primary grades, (1st-3rd) he or she is going to struggle all the way through school. If I am re-elected to serve a second term on the Emmetsburg School Board, my goals are to see: 1) Three sections of third grade due to the large number of students learning to read; 2) Re-establishment of the Reading Recovery Program, which is designed to help struggling readers in 1st Grade. This program was dismantled two years ago during a budget shortfall; 3) Several weeks of all-day summer school to help students struggling in reading and math catch up. The federal benchmark requires that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. This would help our student meet the federal guidelines; 4) Fewer meetings for teachers, so they have more contact time with students.