- Age: 52
- Occupation: Quotations coordinator at Graybar Electric
- Family: Wife, Tara; son, Jimmy; daughter, Hope; dogs, Ruby and Baxter
- Occupation: CFO, adjunct college Instructor
- Facebook: Connie Carter for Proctor School Board
- Age: 43
- Occupation: Registered nurse, St Luke’s Surgical and Procedural Care
- Family: 3 children: Tyler, 19, student, Lake Superior College; Tanner, 16, junior, Proctor High School; Emma, 13, eighth grade, Jedlicka Middle School
- Age: 40s
- Occupation: Executive director, Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce
- Family: Married with 2 school-age children
- Facebook: Vote 4 Parmeter — Proctor School Board
- Age: 63
- Occupation: Laundry supervisor, St. Louis County Jail
- Family: Wife of 39 years, Cheryl; 2 Proctor graduates: Nick (Proctor) and Laura (Stillwater, Minnesota)
What do you have to offer voters?
I was born and raised in Proctor and graduated from PHS. I continue to live and raise my family here. I am very loyal and dedicated to where I am from. I have been involved with the Proctor youth for many years as a coach, president and board member for Proctor Hockey. Was instrumental in helping make the St. Luke’s Sports & Event Center a reality. My heart and soul will always be in Proctor.
I have 11 years of school district administrative experience, 12 years of teaching experience and years of community involvement. I am a parent of students who graduated from Proctor High School and a Proctor High School graduate myself. My strengths include a strong financial background including experience in school district finance. I will work collaboratively with stakeholders to find meaningful solutions to address the needs of the district.
As a lifelong Proctor resident, I was first elected to the school board in 2012. Over the last eight years, I have held leadership roles including board chair, vice chair and clerk, and have shared roles on the board in numerous committees and advisory groups. I am motivated by what is best for our students and am able to make difficult decisions. I embrace a willingness to listen and work well as a member of a team.
The most important qualification this year is that I am a parent with two students enrolled in the district (eighth and 10th grades). Everything else is secondary because our children, and their access to quality education and true comprehension is paramount. I’m a business professional with a decade of experience leading nonprofits and working with boards and committees. I have an MBA, strong ties to education, business and Proctor community. Committees: Strategic Planning, Pathways, FBLA.
I can offer voters a listening ear to meet their needs and concerns. I believe the community should feel empowered by the school board. Many people are feeling stressed during this time and I want our community to feel like they have a voice in our school district.
What has the pandemic brought to light in your district?
I think we sometimes maybe took for granted just how important it is for kids to be in school, in the classroom, in front of the teacher. COVID-19 has shown us kids NEED to be IN SCHOOL to get and have the best educational and social experience.
The pandemic has challenged the delivery of education. All levels of the district, from teachers, administration, families, support services, the school board and the community, have been impacted by the changes in the delivery models. The challenges are adapting to the new models whether they be in-person, hybrid or distance learning with limited resources. Our district is challenged with developing effective solutions brought on by the pandemic.
By far, the oversight of the pandemic has been the most challenging work I have done on this board. I believe that all school boards share this same challenge. We are tasked with evaluating information and ultimately approving a learning model that our administrative team recommends. We are fortunate that our district has already implemented a digital learning platform in our secondary school. The challenge has been to provide a rigorous educational experience while in distance and hybrid learning.
COVID-19 has opened our eyes to unforeseen issues with staff and student safety, technology disparities, mental health concerns, food service needs, transportation needs and myriad other issues. It has also reemphasized just how important clear, concise and consistent communication is when the district communicates to parents about a fluid situation. The distance learning challenges have reminded us that kids come first in our school — everything, absolutely everything else, is secondary.
COVID-19 has shone a light on the inequities that exist in internet accessibility between rural and more urban populations. This pandemic is reinforcing the need to be nimbler and more responsive to changing conditions.
What is the biggest issue affecting the district?
The impact that COVID-19 is having on our children’s education. It has presented the biggest challenge for education in decades. School boards have been faced with some of the most agonizing decisions of our lifetimes when it comes to educating our kids. We need to find a way to safely open our schools back up for not only the kids, but our teachers and staff, families and members of the communities we live in.
The delivery of education and supporting students, parents, teachers and staff. One model does not fit all. School districts are deploying resources into new and untested areas. Gathering information from the stakeholders to identify the bottlenecks and then developing meaningful solutions is a challenge for not only our school district, but for all school districts in our country.
Compared to COVID-19, our other challenges seem small. Overall funding has been an issue for many years. Investing in early education is a priority for our district. Looking into the future, we need to invest in classrooms that best serve the needs of our students in a way that keeps them engaged and eager to learn. We need to continue to educate our students while providing an inclusive environment that recognizes the importance of diversity.
Navigating education post-COVID-19. Proctor K-12 was eligible to open in hybrid model this year, but the district changed course a few weeks out, putting 6-12 in distance learning only, which has caused a lot of concerns. The Minnesota Department of Education received $244.8 million to support schools getting children back to school in the fall while prioritizing the safety of students and staff. Every industry, including schools, have proven there are ways to safely reopen.
The biggest issue affecting the Proctor School District is maintaining student achievement during the midst of a global pandemic. Students recently marched in Proctor for more learning options. They care deeply about learning and growing in schools and our school district needs to support that.
What’s your primary goal? If elected, how would you accomplish it?
I don’t have a specific goal (other than getting our schools back open), but I will always work tirelessly to make the Proctor School District and our community be the best in the area. I was first elected to the School Board in 2016 and I hope to continue working to achieve that.
My primary goal is to ensure that all students receive a quality education. I would accomplish this by determining if resources are used effectively specifically reviewing if our teachers and students have the resources they need to deliver and receive a quality education. I believe in the benefits of benchmarking and would inquire where our district fits within available benchmarking data to determine what we are excelling at and to determine if there are gaps.
Running for school board should be approached with having concern for greater good and a willingness to problem solve, with the intent of supporting student achievement. This position demands constant effort and a strong commitment to serving other people. Given our setbacks with the pandemic and different learning models, we will all be challenged to provide a high quality academic environment with a focus on student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
To ensure our students are receiving the best education our district can provide. Currently, that means finding a better solution for our 6th-12th graders who are in full distance learning with 10 hours of virtual instruction, and managing that situation so we can increase instruction and eventually bring all grade levels to a five day, in-person school week. If elected I will advocate for this continually and clearly communicate incremental improvements.
My primary goal is to make the school board more accessible to the needs of students, parents and teachers. If elected, I will always be available for community feedback and requests for support.