The Lakeville Area School District will have a special election Tuesday, Nov. 2, to fill a School Board vacancy created after Zach Duckworth was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2020.
The candidates for the open seat are Carly Anderson, Cinta Schmitz and Edward Reuben Spinner.
Diane Wolden, whose name will appear on the ballot, told the newspaper last week that she is dropping out of the race in order to focus on campaigning for a seat in 2022.
District 194 is also posing a ballot question to voters to ask for authorization to increase School Board membership from six to seven.
Following are the responses from candidate Carly Anderson.
Family: Husband, Dustin, and children Sydney (sixth grade at Century Middle School), Boden (kindergarten at Eastview), and Drake (2 years old)
Occupation: Board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and director of neuropsychology training, Minneapolis VA Healthcare System; adjunct faculty, University of St. Thomas
Education: Ph.D., clinical psychology, Washington State University; Master’s, psychology/behavioral neuroscience, University at Buffalo; Bachelor’s, psychology, University of Minnesota
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: member, ISD 194 District Committee: Multi-district Collaborative Council; treasurer and board member, American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology Foundation; board member, American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology; training director, Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN); member, Committee On Diversity and Inclusion (APPCN); volunteer coach, Lakeville Youth Soccer; volunteer, Feed My Starving Children
1) Why are you running for School Board? What strengths would you bring to the School Board?
I am running to promote a learning environment where each student knows they belong and is equipped to thrive in a global workforce. I have partnered with ISD 194 through conversations with educators and leadership and serving on the Multi-District Collaborative Council. I am a clinical neuropsychologist and director of neuropsychology training at the Minneapolis VA, bringing a strong background in mental health and leadership. I serve on multiple national boards and understand effective board function. I tackle critical issues through reviewing reputable sources and conversations with stakeholders. I am collaborative and a strong supporter of the public education system.
2) What are the major issues facing the district? How should the district address them?
2020 census data aligns with district data, indicating rapid growth and a shift toward a more diverse population. This growth dictates the need to adapt and meet the needs of a continually evolving learning community. The passing of the 2021 referendum will help to address class sizes, and we must continue to strategically support our growth over time.
Public schools have also become a political battleground. Hot button issues that pervade our media are a distraction to the typical functioning of our School Board, leading to division that is negatively impacting our staff and students. We need to refocus our collective vision to be both short-term and long-term, educate our community regarding best practices, and work to unite over shared goals. If elected, I’ll use my skills in active listening and collaborative leadership to move us toward a more unified community that promotes the success of our public schools.
3) What program or curriculum changes would you support? Why? If you are satisfied with the district’s program and curriculum offerings, explain what programs or curriculum components you feel are the most important to be supported or expanded and why?
I am proud of the world-class education provided by ISD 194 and thrilled that my children are beneficiaries of this school system. I support recent efforts by our district leadership to promote equity in education across curriculum, including hiring consultants in social-emotional learning and diversity training/education. This is critical to preparing 21st century learners for an increasingly diverse global workforce, teaching them to value all perspectives and the importance of an inclusive and collaborative environment. I would help the district expand mental health resources available to students and staff, especially as we continue to navigate the effects of a pandemic.
4) In the past year, District 194 has received much public comment that has been polarized on several issues? How would you address the polarization in the community to move the district forward?
For over a year, I have attended School Board meetings and witnessed the concerns and perspectives expressed by district families. Close collaboration between the district and families is the key to moving forward as a learning community around shared goals. I have connected with many stakeholders across the district and our community and will continue to do so with passion and resolve. We are all united in the desire to further the best interests of our children. When we keep this our shared focus, we can navigate challenges together through listening, learning, and respectful dialogue with an eye on solutions.
5) Assess the school district’s efforts to address student achievement after instances of distance learning and other disruptions since March 2020? What should be the district’s priorities to boost student achievement?
The pandemic and associated learning-model changes have impacted each student and family differently. I believe the district response should continue to be tailored to each individual student situation, dedicating resources depending on a student’s unique needs. Additional time and resources may be necessary to determine whether a student has fallen behind or is in need of additional support. This approach could be both qualitative and quantitative in nature, incorporating assessment results as well as teacher and parent input. The supports put in place during COVID should continue, including 1:1 devices for all students, in-home internet support, and increased social and emotional support to foster learning. And, since we cannot control future outbreaks, the district should continue their work to ensure proper preparedness for switching learning models quickly. Students and families should not have to choose between following public health recommendations and receiving a high-quality education.