Voters in Bloomington will elect four candidates to the Bloomington School Board. Ten candidates are seeking election. The candidates are incumbent Beth Beebe, incumbent Tom Bennett, Matthew Dymoke, Kat Eggers, Marquisha Fulford, Dani Indovino Cawley, Natalie Marose, Patricia Riley, Jeff Salovich and incumbent Dawn Steigauf.

Boardmembers serve four-year terms and are elected at large. The board chairperson receives $700 per month. Board members receive $600 per month.

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe

Address: 4410 College Heights Circle

Age: 61

Family: Husband, John (31 years); two grown sons, Sam and Ted

Education: B.A. in social work, B.A. in education; One-year certificate in international studies

Occupation: School board member

Years lived in city: 21

Community involvement: Volunteer in Bloomington schools; Volunteer with children at Bethany Church; Volunteer with Good in the ’Hood

Contact information: beebeforschoolboard.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I’m running to continue to serve our community with the expertise I have gained and the training I’ve taken that equips me to be on the cutting edge of educational trends and issues.

My top priority is to find new ways to address the achievement gap, such as teaching study skills, implementing concepts from the “Responsive Classroom” that have been successful and more learning supports across grades.

Family engagement is also a key priority. Families need to be valued and encouraged in the incredible role they play for their student’s success. Research shows some may need help to understand their role, especially if they are from another country or culture. Orientation videos in various languages could be developed to help give parents tools for success.

Another priority is to get more high school students interested in the trades through courses in the Bloomington Career and College Academy. Multiple exposures to these options are needed earlier in high school so students can plan their classes.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

The district’s greatest operating expense is salaries. Teachers and staff need to be paid competitive wages. However, federal and state funding is based on student enrollment. With our declining enrollment, there is less funding coming into our schools. Cuts may need to occur to keep finances in order. Larger class sizes is one remedy, but not a good one for our elementary students.

Another challenge, federal and state funding for special education does not cover all expenses. Therefore, the district has to make up the difference out of the general fund. I will continue to advocate for the federal funds to pay what they are supposed to and the state to make up the difference. Without this change, Bloomington School District, along with other Minnesota districts, will continually be challenged.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

The pandemic created unprecedented circumstances. Many decisions were made by the Minnesota Department of Health or Gov. Tim Walz. Bloomington teachers asking for accommodations, or not returning, impacted the fall start of 2020 from being in person. There were limited options, but the board did the best they could.

Bloomington Online School became a new stable option for families. Summer school helped some students with learning loss.

I advocated for mental health supports that were made available for struggling students. With safety as our highest goal, I’m pleased we got students back in person sooner than other metro districts.

Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

Address: 9633 Upton Road

Age: 47

Family: Wife Danielle, mother Frankye and 2 BPS middle school-aged children

Education: Ed.S., educational leadership with director of special education license, Minnesota State University, Mankato; M.A., special education and B.S., special education/elementary education, University of New Mexico

Occupation: Substitute teacher and home health care PCA

Years lived in city: 17

Community involvement: BPS volunteer, Bloomington Girls Hockey board member, League of Women Voters member

Contact information: tomfortheboard.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I’m passionate about public education and feel Bloomington needs strong leaders who are willing to stand up and defend our greatest public institution and make the tough decisions that benefit our students, families, staff and community.

I’ve been in public education my entire life, from K-12 to community college to public universities to the school board. I’ve only taught in public schools, and I choose to send my kids to public school because I think it’s the great equalizer of our society where every child, regardless of their means, ability or any other defining characteristic, has a right to a quality free public education.

If reelected, my top priorities will be to welcome back our students and staff to five-days-a-week of in-person learning. We know that in-person learning is what’s best for most of our learners, but we must do it in a way that prioritizes the safety of our community.

I will continue to work to increase the district’s engagement with students, families, employees and stakeholders, so that we can hear from the people of our community and ensure that everyone has a voice. I will continue to welcome a more inclusive, diverse and equitable district that celebrates each student for who they are and where they’re at, and I will continue to fight for our most vulnerable students.

I will also continue to work to build consensus between board members to find common solutions to some of our biggest problems.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

The sad reality is that our public schools are woefully underfunded. The increases we receive from the state do not even cover inflation.

Required special education and other federal title programs are not fully funded by the federal government, causing more budgetary shortfalls. We need board members who will advocate to shrink these funding gaps and can work with legislators to fix these problems. We also need to prioritize our values and make sure we budget for what we value most, like attracting and retaining quality teachers and staff and funding innovative programs to help our struggling learners.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

Yes, I support the tough decisions we made over the past 18 months. There is no playbook for how to operate a school district during the deadliest pandemic in a century. Every decision we made was to ensure the safety of our students and staff and was in consultation with Bloomington Public Health, MDH and MDE.

Matthew Dymoke

Matthew Dymoke

Matthew Dymoke

Address: 8538 13th Ave. S.

Age: 29

Family: Single

Education: Bachelor of arts in social studies education from Concordia College in Moorhead; Masters of science in leadership and nonprofit management from Northeastern University in Boston

Occupation: Manager of donor outreach at Lutheran World Relief

Years lived in city: 29

Community involvement: Coach of the Kennedy Show Choir program; Member at Christ the King Lutheran Church; Active volunteer at local nonprofits

Contact information: mattforbloomington.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

As a candidate, I’m ready to get to work making this community the best it can be. I want every student, no matter their cultural background or socioeconomic status, to feel that school is a place that celebrates them and pushes them to grow.

Our students need to have access to the opportunities this district provides, whether that be involvement in extracurricular activities, access to mental health resources, academic support or fulfilling the basic needs of food and shelter. I want our staff to feel supported – because if we don’t support our staff, then our staff cannot support our students.

To accomplish these goals, we must put aside our differences and work together, bringing all the stakeholders to the table and having real conversations about the next 10-20 years. Creating a new strategic plan that focuses on how we can grow as a district, close our gaps in learning and build a cohesive community will be an integral part in accomplishing our goals. Together, we can do this work and I believe I have what it takes to be an active, engaged and community centered board member.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

We need to work with state leaders to get the most funding possible. As we develop a new strategic plan, we should look at what makes the most sense for our district to be focusing on, and how we can allocate resources to help bolster those initiatives. These conversations can’t be done in silos – we need to incorporate feedback from our families, teachers, staff and district leaders. It’s going to be tough, but we need to realign our priorities and see how we can fund those priorities.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

These last 18 months have been tough, but I believe our district has done its best to keep our students safe while minimizing the loss of learning.

Our top priority needs to be keeping our students in school, because we know that’s the best way for most of our students to learn. We need to follow the science and the guidance from our health officials to keep our kids safe – that means masking, testing, encouraging vaccinations and having a plan for our students when they can’t be in the classroom, along with providing resources for our staff to help alleviate the ever-growing workload. With this approach, we can make gains and close the learning gaps we’ve experienced during COVID-19.

Kat Eggers

Kat Eggers

Kat Eggers

Address: 5105 W. 106th St.

Age: 58

Family: Husband, Mark Eggers and son, Hunter

Education: Bachelor of science in computer science

Occupation: IT Specialist at 3M

Years lived in city: 23

Community involvement: None listed

Contact information: k3gg3rs@gmail.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I’ve been a member of the community, wife of a teacher and mother of a student for over 23 years. In that time I have learned a lot about how the district is run from all sides, and have decided that as my husband retires after this year, this is the best way to ensure we have a voice in how the district, that has given so much to us, is run.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

My main focus will be around responsible spending: Budget decisions should be centered around how they will provide the best education for our students. This includes ensuring the teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff are given competitive contracts that will allow us to attract and retain the best in the area.

Technology purchases should have the input of those who will use them, should be supported by the vendor, and scalable. Allowing for upgrades and enhancements that keep them current and usable for many years.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

While this year has been conducted in a safe and responsible manner, the initial return in March could have been better managed to reduce confusion and to provide a safer environment.

Teachers were not given enough time to get vaccinated. Most had not yet gotten their first vaccine. Moving the return date back by two weeks, (after spring break,) would have given them enough time to get at least one shot before entering into the classroom.

Teachers in the high schools had less than a week to transition from remote teaching, to hybrid, to teaching in class with students calling in. This could have been better implemented had they been given that extra time.

Marquisha Fulford

Marquisha Fulford

Marquisha Fulford

Address: 1008 Devonshire Curve

Age: 47

Family: Husband, 3 children

Education: Medical administrative associates degree

Occupation: Certified professional life coach

Years lived in city: 4

Community involvement: Bloomington Police Department, The Shift

Contact information: quisha4equality.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I am seeking election to the school board because I believe in the value of our children. I believe that education is our children’s foundation and our hope for the future. Our district is growing with a wide variety of diversity of students, parents, teachers and staff administrators. It is imperative that our children have the academic skill set, leadership capabilities and compassionate spirit to lead into our future.

My top priorities for the district are to be the voice that represents and supports ideas, build a strong foundation and strive for academic excellence and so much more. The best way to address situations is to be in communication with those involved, attend meetings and come to an agreement upon a common goal that works for all parties.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

I understand that there are financial challenges that the board may be faced with. As a board member I will educate myself on what goals are required with the finances. I would work diligently with being innovative to create a budget that would work towards the end result for the board.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

We have all been faced with many challenges throughout this unfortunate pandemic. As a parent I am fully aware of what challenges school districts have faced with educating students under these circumstances. I believe we all want to get back to some kind of normality with our lives.

I am on the fence when it comes to the pandemic restrictions for the district. I believe it is important for our children to have a social life, as well as attend school. I believe it’s important because we all have different learning styles, and our educators are great teachers and support our children when it comes to those styles. Being in the medical field for over 25 years, I understand the importance of needing oxygen in our body to fight of common colds and viruses. Some challenges you have to face head on and operate with wisdom to survive.

Dani Indovino Cawley

Dani Indovino Cawley

Dani Indovino Cawley

Address: 1569 E. 88 St.

Age: 37

Family: Husband, Donavon Indovino, children Mabel (2), Anthony (1)

Education: Attended Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, graduated Oberlin College

Occupation: Project manager, Best Buy

Years lived in city: 4

Community involvement: Chair, Best Buy Families Interest Group; Advocate/former community chair, disAbilities Employee Resource Group; Co-founder, Speak Up Book Club (nonprofit that sells a diverse book subscription service with curriculum for parents and donates diverse books to children in the community)

Contact information: votedani.org

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

My children are just beginning their journey in Bloomington Public Schools, and already the teachers, counselors and other parents here have made me feel so heard and cared for. I’m running for school board because I want to make sure every parent who feels alone and overwhelmed with their child’s education and development has the same experience, and every child in Bloomington feels the love and encouragement of their community.

Quality early childhood education is my top priority. Research shows that it decreases generational poverty, increases graduation rates and uplifts communities. We must use innovation and creativity to ensure underserved communities are equitably represented in our early childhood programs and to remove barriers that may prevent that.

My second priority is access to mental health services for students to help them achieve academically and give them access to experiences that build connections to caring adults in their community. It’s imperative to increase access in our schools through headcount when possible or partnering with county and community programs.

And my third priority is creating a welcoming environment for all students and families that supports who they are and promotes confidence in themselves and their abilities. We achieve this through passing policies that protect their rights and empowering teachers and staff to enforce those policies.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

I think the key to saving our taxpayers money and increasing the ability of our teachers and staff to deliver a top-notch education for all students is full funding from the state and federal government. I would join and be a strong voice for full funding on the Minnesota School Board Association Delegate Assembly and the district’s legislative committee.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

I appreciate the district is following the scientific evidence as well as conducting and considering research around the impact to students’ academic, social and emotional development. While I feel the district struggled communicating in 2020, their communication has really excelled in 2021.

Natalie Marose

Natalie Marose

Natalie Marose

Address: 9301 11th Ave. S.

Age: 56

Family: Husband, Dan, 32 years; 2 adult children, Kennedy graduates

Education: Bachelor of science and master of arts in Education

Occupation: Educator (teacher, administrator, family child care provider)

Years lived in city: 32

Community involvement: American Red Cross instructor; National Night Out host; Save Valley View Park

Contact information: maroseforschoolboard.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I am running for school board because as an educator I cannot sit idly by knowing some of what our children are being taught. My top priorities for Bloomington are 1) academic excellence, 2) being a strong voice for parents and 3) getting politics out of our schools.

I will give parents a stronger voice. Their opposition to things like gender inclusive restrooms and locker rooms, (opening intimate girl’s spaces to biological boys for example,) creating gender confusion by excluding parents from the conversation, (such as pronoun usage and inappropriate curriculum content,) and division by race, (identifying children as oppressed or oppressor and having different expectations based on race,) need to be heard and put focus back on academics, not political activism and division.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

Improving the district’s financial outlook begins by identifying wants and needs. The foundation of prioritizing is to educate children. With a clear focus on education, we need to consider what is necessary to provide the best education. Sometimes that is meeting the needs of teachers and support staff. Sometimes that is building maintenance and repair or security. Sometimes that is identifying areas of weakness and the long-term cost and impact.

There are some state mandated financial requirements that the board must meet. On occasion the board has adopted resolutions and made financial decisions based on politics rather than students. That is where spending needs to stop.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

The district had to make very difficult first-time decisions amidst fear in our community due to the pandemic. The school board, superintendent, administration, faculty, staff and parents all made decisions in good faith based on the best data available at the time. Now, 20 months into it we have had a chance to see what is happening in Bloomington Public Schools as well as child cares and non-public schools across the country. Different areas and programs have responded differently. The data based on those choices needs to be considered in addition to medical recommendations, mandated requirements, and parent input – all with the understanding that we want the absolute best for all students.

Patricia Riley

Patricia Riley

Patricia Riley

Address: 10241 Chicago Circle

Age: Not given

Family: Husband, James, and two sons, Michael and Malik

Education: Jones Commercial Business School, Illinois; Normandale Community College, business administration; McConnell Business School, business administration; A.W. Wilson Christian Institute, 2008-10

Occupation: Corporate recruiter

Years lived in city: 24

Community involvement: None listed

Contact information: riley.pat@comcast.net

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I’m running for school board because I’ve lived in the city of Bloomington for 24 years. My husband and I have raised our family here in Bloomington.

I’m invested in our community and schools through parent volunteering, working with community leaders and advocating for students. I believe in equity in education, ensuring all students have what they need to feel safe and secure and most of all successful.

My vision for Bloomington Public Schools is to be the first choice for our families; because they know the quality of education their students will receive is provided to all students. Regardless of their economic or social background, learning challenges, physical abilities or disabilities, circumstances should not matter.

I believe our school board should mirror the diversity of our schools and communities. The school board should recognize the changes in our schools. I want to be the voice of change in our community and schools.

Real change starts with us, our Bloomington School Board, when it’s time to make significant decisions. I’m not asking for a sit at the table, I believe I’m needed at the table.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

When allocating funds for our students and families, we need to look at the bigger picture. Look at the most important issues facing our district. Working with our community to ensure our school have all the resources they need. Invest in valuable teachers.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

Acknowledge and address overcrowding, make funding schools a priority, provide support for teachers. Make sure we have programs in place for students with special needs and address mental health issues. My vision for Bloomington Public Schools is to have strong and committed teachers. A deeper understanding of how the system has continued to show the same results year after year with little progress. Help high schools provides career-based pathways to college through post-secondary education.

Jeff Salovich

Jeff Salovich

Jeff Salovich 

Address: 11174 Sumter Circle

Age: 51

Family: Wife, Amanda; children, Hannah, Timothy, Kenan and Micah

Education: Dunwoody Institute in HVAC Service, A.A.S.; Pipefitters Local 539 5-year apprenticeship

Occupation: Pipefitter foreman at Minneapolis City Hall

Years lived in city: 7

Community involvement: Wednesday night kids leader at Hillside Church; Co-leader for middle school Sunday school; Various activities with kids related to school

Contact information: jeffreysalovich.com

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I believe education is falling victim to activism. We need to educate our kids in subjects that help them mature and to think critically and for themselves so when they are adults, they can help make change that makes sense, and not based on emotion.

My top priorities are getting trades back into the schools at a more intense level. To put education first as a tool to direct all kids to their strengths.

I would like to use Bloomington Civic Plaza as a meeting place for trades involvement for kids and their parents to see these industries. I would like to see a startup PSEO program for kids wanting to join a trade or military after high school.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

Charles Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” said it best. “Cash on the barrel.”

We need to put money into every kid’s education and stop spending on fluff. We need to maybe hold back on certain things for a time to get refocused on where our money is going. We need to stop spending on the fast food and plan for the good of all the children in the district.

In plain words, we need to stop spending on worthless things for the benefit of each child our schools have come through.

I also would need to see exactly what the present board now sees. Not everything is as clear as we think it is. Let us also not be scared to talk in real terms instead of the same old talk we’ve had for 30 years in the public schools.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

The distance learning took a year or more away from all the kids. More so for the more disadvantaged kids we have in the schools.

It seemed to me that mixed messages were given so many times through the year by experts. Many school districts across the country stayed open without huge problems as predicted. Yes, kids did get sick and survived. Teachers became sick and survived. We cannot eliminate a virus.

I’m OK with masks. I don’t like them. My kids hate it. Mixed reactions everywhere on their usefulness. The mind is easily swayed by repeat messages. But thrown into confusion by mixed messages. It has however managed to pit people against each other, even old friends.

But distance learning cannot and should not happen again. Otherwise, people need to give up their comforts and home school.

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf

Address: 10119 Pleasant Ave. S.

Age: 62

Family: Husband John, 3 children

Education: Bachelor of science in child development/child, parent and community services, Iowa State University; General mediations skills training, Mediation Center for Dispute Resolution; Partners in Policymaking, Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

Occupation: Home health care

Years lived in city: 38

Community involvement: Former chair of Minnesota Autism Spectrum Disorders Task Force; Co-host of neighborhood National Night Out event; Former Bloomington Human Rights Commission member

Contact information: bit.ly/steigaufforschoolboard

1. Why are you seeking election to the Bloomington School Board? What are your top priorities for the district, and how would you address them?

I am seeking reelection because I believe every child deserves a quality education and I have proven leadership experience. I know how to work collaboratively towards a common goal. I want to continue putting my experience and passion to work for the children of my community.

My priorities for the district are for all students to feel welcome, safe and respected, and that students and staff have the supports they need to ensure every student has an opportunity for a quality education.

The board’s role is to establish policies that set the expectations for students and staff and to approve the superintendent’s goals and the district budget. The superintendent, cabinet and principals manage the day-to-day operations. Teachers and staff provide many of the supports to our students. Some examples of supports are intervention services, gifted and talented programs, special education services, nutrition support, mental health services and help connecting families to needed resources.

2. Financing the district’s operations is an annual challenge for the board. What will you do as a board member to improve the district’s financial outlook?

We need to continue to have high quality innovative programs to meet the needs of our students and attract and retain students.

As a board member I will continue to make fiscally responsible decisions while working towards minimizing the impact on the classroom when making cuts.

I support the district’s efforts to secure grants for additional funding. I will advocate at the state and federal level for adequate stable funding. Currently in Minnesota the inflationary gap in school funding is over 8%. In addition, our district’s cross subsidy for special education and English learners is over $14 million. When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act passed over 40 years ago, the federal government was to provide 40% of the cost. They have yet to reach even 20%. I will advocate that any additional mandates are fully funded.

3. The district has faced many challenges in educating students under pandemic restrictions. Are you satisfied with the decisions the district has made as a result?

The decisions made by the district were based on the guidelines from the CDC and both state and local public health officials. In addition, we had to take into account our ability to staff each model. The board and administration worked together to make the best decisions with the information we had at the time. I fully support the decision to develop our New Code Academy for families who want to continue with online school.

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