I have been married to Scott for 23 years. We met as undergraduates at Marquette University. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI and Scott is originally from Shoreview, MN. Since we married we have moved 7 times and have lived in 5 states. Our family has lived and been active in many school districts including districts in Minnesota, California, Iowa and Wisconsin. I believe the diversity of our experiences brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities Stillwater Schools have and continue to face. Living in Stillwater for a total of 14 years, my own children spent the majority of their education in Stillwater Schools, and almost every year saw changes to their experiences resulting from necessary budget cuts. I feel fortunate that our family could provide what they needed despite those changes; many do not have the choices my family has. Alexander and Allen-Michael are proud Pony Alumni, both attending the University of St. Thomas.
I attended Milwaukee Public Schools in the 1970s and 80s when busing and magnet schools were established to prevent racially isolated schools. It remains one of the most formative and valuable experiences of my life. There were of course the social tensions that come with colliding cultures, but what we gained from the experience of learning alongside those who didn’t share the same culture far outweighed the discomfort that comes from facing difference. I was lucky enough to attend an International Baccalaureate high school allowing me to engage in project based learning. I went on to graduate from Marquette University with a BA in History and Political Science, minoring in Philosophy and a MA in Political Science. I spent a semester as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C. considering policy work as a career.
My time at Marquette had a substantial impact on how I would come to view my work and life, primarily instilling within me a focus on service to others. I have a deep and abiding affinity for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the basis for what we know as a Liberal Arts and interdisciplinary curriculum. I am also committed to the tenets of Catholic Social Thought, particularly the concept of social justice and the Common Good. The “Common Good” is meant to express a basic moral idea: society and groups ought to be organized in ways that enable people to flourish. As I go about my work as a member of the school board, I do not have a sterile, clinical evaluation of the District as a system of finances, numbers and bricks and mortar. Rather, I see it as a living organism that has particular needs of care and nourishment. The root system must be the focus of that care, or the branches, leaves, and fruit will wither from neglecting systemic and foundational health.
While I have a diverse set of experiences in my vocational life, including adjunct faculty, substitute teacher in a K-12 setting, licensed Realtor, and paraprofessional in Colony I at Stonebridge Elementary, the core of my professional experience has been spent in admissions and enrollment marketing in a variety of higher education settings. My years of experience have informed a broad, yet applied understanding of what higher education expects from students as they enter programs from technical/vocational through graduate education. This experience provides the unique perspective of knowing what Stillwater graduates will need to be prepared for their chosen vocational and educational paths.
Having served on the Stillwater Area School Board for the last four years, I have chosen to seek re-election. That service has allowed me to develop an informed perspective of the systemic needs and challenges that face the District. During that time, I have served as Board Treasurer, as well as on the personnel, legislative, and curriculum working groups. I have served on the finance and operations working group for all four years, a continuous presence in reviewing and offering feedback to the Administration on issues related to the budget planning process and facilities decisions. I have been a member of the budget advisory committee, which included community, staff, and administrative membership. Liaison to The Partnership Plan, Association of Metro Area School Districts, Minnesota State High School League, Stonebridge Elementary and the High School are additional assignments I have had during my service. I served as the Board representative on the Long Range Facilities Committee, that led to a plan presented to and approved by the voters to align our grade configuration to the state standards, in order to better serve our High School and Middle-level learners. I am a collaborative, forthcoming member of the Board who is willing to engage in dialogue with a variety of stakeholders with a diverse set of opinions. I have demonstrated that I can make tough decisions that ensure all kids in our District will have access to equitable opportunities, programs, and highly qualified staff.our paragraph here.