Mounds View School Board candidates say schools are over-capacity

ELECTION 2017


Six candidates are in the ring seeking a spot on the Mounds View School Board. Voters can pick three.

Of those vying for seats, only one is an incumbent hoping to retain her seat. Marre Jo Sager is joined by newcomers Shauna Bock, Jennifer Daniels, Diane Glasheen, Sheila Lee and Brendan O’Meara. 

Unlike Sager, current members Greg Madsen and Jon Tynjala, whose terms expire at the end of the year, are not seeking re-election. 

The candidates were asked via email why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to the office, what they believe to be the top challenges the district faces, and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected.

Lee, of Roseville, did not respond to the questionnaire. 

Election Day is Nov. 7.

 


Bock, 38, lives in Mounds View with her husband Nate and works as an assistant principal in the St. Paul Public School district. 

She’s earned a post-master’s degree in special education and school administration from Hamline University and has 14 years of experience working in public education. 

Bock said she is “very involved with the Mounds View community,” and has an “understanding of educational systems,” as well as “extensive equity training.”

“I am running for school board because I want to work with like-minded people to do what is best for the students in our school district,” she said. “I believe my education and professional experience would be a great addition to the already-strong school board.”

Bock named “overcrowding issues” as the district’s biggest challenge in upcoming years. 

“We need to be able to add more instructional spaces to our schools in order to best serve or students,” she said. 

Asked what project she would prioritize if elected to the school board, she said, “The Mounds View School Board works as a team with one voice and I will work together with the board to prioritize projects. I am not seeking this position with any agenda of my own.”

 


Daniels, 38, lives in New Brighton with her husband Donald and their children. She’s a stay-at-home mom and studied psychology and criminal justice at St. Cloud State University. 

She said she has the “ability to listen to and collaborate with others,” and has experience working and volunteering in the district. 

She said she understands how parents want their children to succeed, and that she has “new ideas and perspectives” to bring to the board.

“I would love to be an integral part of the education system and make positive changes that impact, not only the students, but the community,” Daniels said. 

Naming projected increased enrollment as the district’s top challenge, Daniels spoke in favor of the proposed bond referendum that voters will see on their ballots. 

“I strongly believe that expected enrollment growth will be a challenge if the bond referendum does not pass.”  

If elected, Daniels said she would prioritize taking a detailed look at the district’s transportation costs to “find more cost effective ways to transport our students to school.”  “Many families in our district exceed income qualifications and still cannot afford to spend money on busing,” she said.

 


Glasheen, 47, lives in New Brighton with her husband Tim and their daughter. She works as a senior field marketing manager at Workday and has a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Minnesota State University-Mankato. 

Asked what qualifies her for the position, she said she’s a Bel Air Elementary PTA member, and has served as PTA co-president; she volunteers in the community; and has a “good business sense as it relates to maintaining budgets, problem solving and creative thinking.”

“I care deeply about our students, schools and community and will continue to advocate on their behalf,” Glasheen said. “I am dedicated to making a positive impact as I truly believe in our district’s Equity Promise in preparing all students for postsecondary success regardless of race, class or disability.”

The top challenges in the district — and also what she would focus on if elected — include space issues, student safety and security, and “protecting the excellence of our schools.”

In favor of the proposed bond referendum, Glasheen said, “The challenges that I listed above will be addressed as part of this bond referendum and will benefit all students and our community.”

 


O’Meara, 39, lives in Arden Hills and is the vice president of business banking at Citizens Independent Bank. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the Carlson School of Management. 

O’Meara is currently in his third year of a part-time law program at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He is also the son of Lillie Suburban Newspapers staffer Pamela O’Meara. 

O’Meara said he’s a lifelong resident of the district — he graduated from Mounds View High School in 1997 — and is now the parent of young students in the district. 

“I have a strong interest in the long-term future of the district,” he said, noting he has more than a decade of experience in accounting and finance, and that he is “a lifelong learner who places the highest level of importance on quality education.”

He said the schools in the district are over capacity, and with the TCAAP development in Arden Hills, more growth is expected. 

“My priority will be to continue the excellent quality of high-level governance that is the legacy of the existing school board.” he said. “We need to be thoughtful, equitable, and deliberate with our decisions.”

 


Sager, a Mounds View graduate, lives in New Brighton with her husband Frank, and has served on the school board for six terms.

Sager is an administrative officer at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Minnesota Water Science Center and has three bachelor’s degrees in communications, theater, and humanities. She also has an MBA certificate in government administration. She studied at the College of St. Benedict and the University of St. Thomas. 

She said her experience in school board governance, policy-setting, special education issues and government finance has prepared her for another term. 

“It is important, now more than ever, to have school board members with experience to make the complex decisions that are ahead,” Sager said. “My ‘hands on’ commitment to community, my focus on always bringing a new perspective with my real-world work experience, makes me a top candidate.”

She said one of the top challenges she believes the district faces is continuing its “innovative programs.” 

“Quality programs, class size and financial stability all compete for resources,” she said. “It will be one of my priorities to continue to find ways to maximize state funding, to utilize collaborations and partnerships, when they make sense.”

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815



 

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