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School board names Schraw to vacant seat

Only one of his three daughters is still in school, but Bevan Schraw still wanted to serve on the Duluth school board. Deeply involved in education in the Lincoln Park schools and a board candidate in 1997, Schraw was looking for an opportunity t...

Only one of his three daughters is still in school, but Bevan Schraw still wanted to serve on the Duluth school board. Deeply involved in education in the Lincoln Park schools and a board candidate in 1997, Schraw was looking for an opportunity to serve.

He got it Tuesday night when he was selected to fill the District 4 school board position left vacant when Dorothy Neumann passed away unexpectedly in May. In a 4-2 vote, the board selected Schraw over candidates Nancy Nilsen and Debra Giberson.

Schraw has been a part of the Duluth community since his junior year at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

"That was in 1975," Schraw said.

He received a bachelor of business administration degree from UMD in 1977. Schraw is married and has three daughters. One daughter is grown, one recently graduated from Denfeld High School and one will be a sophomore at Denfeld next year. Schraw's two younger daughters were at the board meeting Tuesday evening to offer him their support.

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Schraw has been active in the Lincoln Park schools and community over the past decade. He has served in various offices on the Lincoln Park PTA. He also served on the school's Site Council, coached an Odyssey of the Mind team, helped develop and obtain a grant for the Lincoln Park After-School Collaborative and served on its advisory board.

Schraw also served on the Boys & Girls Club parent advisory board. Schraw has served on many I.S.D. 709 committees ranging from a screening committee to review applications for superintendent of schools to participating as a member on several long-range/strategic planning committees.

Schraw's community involvement includes serving on the Lincoln Park neighborhood coalition, the Lincoln Park restoration committee and the city of Duluth community development committee.

When Schraw learned of Neumann's passing, he decided to apply. "I knew I had the experience and broad perspective needed to fill the position, and I felt duty bound to offer to fill the vacancy," he said. "I appreciate the board's vote of confidence in me."

Schraw said the most pressing issue facing the Duluth School Board is the consolidation of schools. In a statement given to the board, Schraw said, "Those decisions must be arrived at as a result of thoughtful and logical deliberations, based on solid data and trend projections. The impact on educational quality, the conditions of buildings and the community reaction to any decision must be carefully considered. The Duluth School Board must take the lead in creating the best solutions by determining possible workable scenarios, analyzing the pros and cons of all scenarios and courageously voting for the best scenario. I believe the public, in approving the excess levy referendum last year, is giving the Duluth School Board and Duluth Public Schools a five year window to implement the 'right' solution to Duluth's declining enrollment quandary. The need to make that 'right' decision is imminent."

On the Mike Randolph dismissal controversy, Schraw said, "I didn't know Mike Randolph before the issue came into being. I supported Mike. My approach would be to decide such issues on the basis of what is fairest rather than what may be legal."

Thomas Hustad, District 2 representative, said, "Any of the three candidates would have been a good representative for West Duluth. Bevan has been involved with the district for a period of time. We've developed a good working relationship within the board, and Bevan will have a positive impact and be a good team player. I think he will be a good interim candidate to fill out Dorothy's term."

Mike Akervik, at large board member, said, "It looks like we will be able to work with him and help get him up to speed as quickly as possible, if he feels he needs our help. It will be nice to have a full seven member board."

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"What I believe Bevan will bring to the table is his passion for providing the best possible education for all Duluth children," said at-large board member Mary Cameron. " I don't believe he is coming to us with hidden agendas. He had been following decisions the board has made and knows where we are currently. He is eager to market our educational programs as well as other features that I.S.D. has that other schools do not to help recapture students who have left the district as well as those who are home schooled. I believe Bevan to be open-minded, that he will listen to others' concerns without passing judgments and that he will ask questions if he doesn't understand."

Schraw has been interested in education since his years in college. He became even more interested and involved in the schools and the district when his daughters started school. Schraw ran for the District 4 seat against Neumann in 1997. He will serve out the remaining 18 months of Neumann's term.

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