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New York Mills School District: 3 Seats Open

Rachel Grieger: Candidate, Incumbent

 

I am Dr. Rachel Grieger. I practice dentistry in New York Mills. My practice has been in New York Mills for 31 years.

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

Part of me believes there should be term limits in any elected position, and another part understands the need for experience.

We have had a major change in board composition in Mills. We have new members working hard to be the best members they can be, but, remembering back to my early days on the board, it was very nice to hear the experiences and past practices the more seasoned board members had. I also feel I have much to offer.

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I bring many years of board work, along with all the hours of continuing education learning I have attended. Being a member of the Lakes Country Service Cooperative has given me the opportunity to learn even more. I have a lifelong love of learning and it has been interesting to see all the changes in education over the years. We have to embrace change and not forget the past.

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

There are so many challenges in education. We have to implement the World's Best Force into our curriculum. We always have issues with the age of our facilities. We need to keep up maintenance. I am a firm believer in quality staff development to keep our educators cutting edge. I understand we need to keep up with technology, it is a tool. Our staff needs to be able to teach our students how to use it effectively. We cannot waste our students' time. The board has to be able to provide the resources so the students will excel.

New York Mills Public School is a wonderful asset in our community. We have a school to be proud of and I see a bright future ahead for it. A quality school board can be part of its continued success.

Jill Carlson: Candidate, Incumbent

 

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

Four years ago I chose to become involved in the New York Mills School Board to support our district and promote a quality public education for my children and the community. In four years, I gained knowledge and experience about educational standards, school finance and district goal setting.

I have had an unexpected education in roof repairs, school bus routes, football lighting systems, and the list continues. All pieces of the education system are important to review and monitor as part of the school board role. I recognize an enthusiastic administration and staff are key in promoting lifelong learners.

The knowledge and experience I have gained over the last four years are an investment for the district. I plan to continue supporting and promoting the mission of our district to provide all students, pre-K through 12th grade, the opportunity to "achieve their personal best, become responsible and productive citizens, and embrace lifelong learning in a safe and positive environment."

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I am a graduate of Concordia College and have my master's degree in nursing administration from the University of Mary.

I work for Perham Health as the Family Center Director. Part of my responsibilities are to promote working with patients and families to provide an ideal care experience. This same concept works in education as we make connections with students and their families to support their education needs.

The last 1 1/2 years I have been board chair. This has given me an opportunity to work with administration and board members on maintaining an effective board. Recently we worked on projects to develop district goals and evaluate the superintendent.

My husband and I have four children, two that have graduated from New York Mills School. I am determined to support our leadership and staff in providing the skills and tools needed to allow every student to excel.

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

District finances are always a subject of conversation. There are so many needs. How to best use limited funds in innovative ways remains a big issue. Our building structure has several additions; some of the older areas are in need of repair.

How can our district provide support to our staff in promoting the 21st century learning of our students? An opportunity that our district offers is a community that cares about the needs of all the students, working hard to meet their individual needs and developing productive citizens.

Adam Tervola-Hultberg: Candidate

 

Adam Tervola-Hultberg has been a music educator for over 14 years, serving school communities in Detroit Lakes, Perham, St. Cloud, and currently as an elementary music specialist in Pillager, Minn. Some of his related professional affiliations include the Minnesota Band Director's Association and Minnesota Music Educators Association. Tervola-Hultberg currently serves Pillager Public Schools as vice-president and elementary faculty representative for the local teacher's union.

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

As a taxpayer and resident of Newton Township and the New York Mills area, I feel it is my duty to be well-informed about what is going on with the local school district. School board members are charged with the task of listening to the community, representing their views, and making important policy decisions that impact the present and the future.

I believe that it would be beneficial for a practicing teacher to be on the school board. Sometimes, it is difficult to know the realities of education personnel and students unless you have walked that path yourself.

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I bring a broad range of educational experiences to the table.

I have a deep understanding of the inner workings of how schools operate. Unless one has spent time in a school as an adult staff member, it is difficult to have empathy for the challenging and rewarding work of an educator.

I am a past president of the Minnesota Band Directors Association, an organization serving approximately 400 school band directors in Minnesota.  It was during this time that I was able to polish and fine-tune my ability to facilitate discussions, communicate with volunteers, and create a vision for the future. 

Those three aspects, I believe, are the heart and life-blood of an elected community official.

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

A) The most important issue relating to the New York Mills Public Schools is open enrollment and district growth. For the past several years and for the near future, Minnesota school districts are required to pay another school district (neighboring or not) for that students educational services. In order to attract as many students to our school as possible, we need to offer more for the same price. This can be done through emphasis on strengthening and expanding ECFE services and making certain that we have the smallest elementary class sizes within a 30-mile radius of New York Mills. 

B) Work toward an innovative and cutting edge curriculum and technology services that serve the present and future. If New York Mills School is going to become the strongest school in our region (why wouldnt we want this to happen?), it is going to need to invest money in constantly improving the curriculum and making it as relevant as possible to state standards and, ultimately, to the students natural development. 

Curriculum is not a three-ring binder that sits on a shelf. It should be a living and ever-changing document that outlines and prompts the educational journey of every individual that walks through the doors of New York Mills School. This can be achieved by making sure that the district continues to have a curriculum development committee made up of teachers, administrators and board members.  

If elected, I would also encourage and work toward the development of a curriculum development director.  Our school needs a leader who understands the changing scope of curriculum and can focus on creating a vision of leading faculty toward a new era of delivering instruction.

C). Transparency between school board and community.  I believe that having transparency between the school board and the community needs to be built on trust.  Transparency becomes cloudy if school board members have been in leadership so long that they are no longer creative and effective at what they do. School board members need to be visible and available to school staff.  Often, they are figureheads who sit in a conference room and whose name appears on school board minutes. Wouldnt it be more engaging to the community if school board members walked the halls and visited classrooms more often? Not as a supervisor, but as a community advocate.

Stephanie VonRuden: Candidate

 

I am Stephanie VonRuden, formerly Stephanie Carrlson (daughter of Donald and Sandra Carrlson). I am a 2010 graduate of New York Mills and a 2012 Graduate of Alexandria Technical and Community College. I have my degree in finance and credit management.

I have been working in Mills since graduation, at Farmers and Merchants State Bank. I started as a summer intern and am currently in charge of compliance at the bank. My husband, Anthony, and I were married July of 2013 and our son, Elijah, was born May of 2014.

Since graduation, I have never lost my school spirit. I even convinced my husband to move to Mills so our kids could grow up in the warm and loving community and school district.

 1) Why did you decide to run for office?

I decided to run for the school board so I could do my part to the school that did so much into shaping me into the individual I am today.

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I have a unique perspective to offer to the school board. My dad was a New York Mills graduate, I am a Mills graduate, my little brother currently attends school there, and my son will be starting the ECFE classes there shortly, followed by being a future Eagle. So I guess I would say I have strong roots and a passion for the school.

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

I would love the opportunity to help in the technology movement, helping kids gear up for the real world, But I would also like to do my part to hopefully keep the art of personal communication alive. Technology can be integrated without losing the knack for a hand-written letter or verbal communication.

Lapene Maijala: Candidate

 

I have lived in New York Mills for 27 years. I am a graduate of New York Mills (class of 1991), and I have three children who are enrolled in the New York Mills School District.

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

To participate in the betterment of my children's' education and, in doing so, help serve the community that I call home.

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I have served as a board member in the past and I have also been an employee of the New York Mills School District. I believe that through these experiences, I have a solid understanding of the terminology and processes used in education (at the federal and state level) and, more locally, knowledge of the inner workings of the New York Mills School system.

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

I would state that the top issue and challenge for our district, and this can be stated for public education as a whole, is finances. A school board member's most important task is to represent the public's interest to ensure that their funds are allocated into the best available resources to ensure success for our students. 

Denise Kane: Candidate

 

My name is Denise Kane and I am running for the New York Mills School Board.  

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

I decided to run for New York Mills School Board in order to ensure that our school district continues to provide the proper education and facilities to students in our community.

2) If elected, what unique qualities or experiences would you bring to the table?

I have lived in the school district for 22 years and have seen and experienced workings of the New York Mills school district. My husband, Russ, and I have one daughter that has attended and graduated from New York Mills School, and we have two daughters that are currently attending New York Mills School. All three of our children have participated in several activities.  I have also served as a member of the SARS committee, and Russ and I have volunteered many times with various school activities.  

I am currently the owner of my own business, Guardian Crop Insurance. I feel that having managed and owned my own business for over 20 years, I have the experience it takes when determining how our school district spends taxpayers' money.  

3) What do you feel are the top issues/challenges/opportunities you would face in your position, and what ideas do you have to address them?

I feel the most important issue facing the New York Mills School is maintaining enrollment.  Enrollment is the key to making a school district viable. I feel as long as New York Mills continues to offer courses and activities to benefit their students for their future endeavors, students will continue to value the education they receive here and we will also see enrollment increase.  

Other issues I feel are important to our school district are keeping up with technology, creating and applying a budget that makes the best use of taxpayer dollars, and exploring options of partnering with the New York Mills community for educational opportunities. As an elected member, I would research avenues that would make these issues cost effective to our district and beneficial to the overall education of our students.

I believe the school board should ensure that our school district provides all the necessary tools, educators and opportunities to ensure that every student meets state standards.

As a New York Mills School Board member, I hope to continue the tradition of excellence in education and community that the New York Mills Public School has demonstrated for many years.