Voters in the Sibley East School District will pick from six candidates to fill three seats on the Board of Education at the General Election on November 7.
Incumbent candidates are Mark Brandt of rural Gaylord, Tom Webster of Gaylord, and Danny Woehler of rural Arlington. The three other candidates are from Arlington. They are Scott Dose, Brenda Eggert, and Anne (Vener) Karl.
Below are candidates responses to a questionnaire distributed by The Gaylord Hub.
My wife Karen and I have two children. Staci is a junior at The College of St. Catherine and Jacob is a junior at Sibley East. I am a lifelong resident of the old Gaylord School District and the Sibley East School District. I am a farmer and a lead operator at Heartland Corn Products. I am a member of the Gaylord Ambulance Service and serve as the president of the Gaylord Ambulance Relief Association. I am a death investigator for Sibley and McLeod Counties as well.
Why are you running for school board? I have enjoyed working for the Sibley East School District as a school board member for the past 14 years. One thing that helps bind communities together is a well run school with quality staff committed to giving our students the best possible education. I became a school board member during the pairing and sharing agreement between the Arlington-Green Isle and Gaylord School Districts and helped work through the transition into their consolidation to form the Sibley East School District. I have always promoted Sibley East as one community providing the best education we can for our students.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? Sibley East will continue to face more challenges in the future. Both our State and Federal funding is driven by our student enrollment. Our enrollment has stayed fairly stable in the past few years and projections show it should continue. This helps in the operation of our district and has helped us continue our class offerings and low classroom numbers in the elementary without having to cut programs and staff. As for our facilities, we are close to maximum capacity at both campuses. We have parts of the buildings at both campuses that were built in the mid 1930’s and though still structurally sound, will have to be seriously looked at. We also need to plan now and be ready if the urban sprawl comes to our area. This planning needs to be done with help from people throughout our school district. In the meantime we must continue to repair our current facilities as needed.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? I believe I have shown in the past that I have the enthusiasm and time that is needed to be a good school board member. Being a board member requires more than just attending a regular meeting once a month. I am able to visit our school campuses often during the school day to see how things are going and to show support for both the students and the staff. During these visits I bring concerns and ideas that community members have shared with me to the staff and administration. I also attend community functions outside of school where I promote Sibley East and our area of the state. I have been a voting delegate to the Minnesota School Boards Association Legislative Assembly for the past five years where we develop policy for school districts to set a legislative platform for our M.S.B.A. lobbyist to work on during the State legislative sessions. I also spend time talking individually to our state senators and representatives about concerns and issues that relate to our school districts.
I am a 1995 graduate of Sibley East High School and I graduated from Hennepin Technical college in 1996. I am employed at Deltak in Plymouth and have been working for this company for the last 10 years. I live in the City of Arlington with my wife and two children, Autumn – age 9, and Lucas – age 4. My wife Nikki works at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I am a member of the Arlington Baseball team and an avid sportsman.
Why are you running for school board? First, I would like to see the school district maintain and continue its financial stability. I would also like to make sure we keep our current curricular and extra-curricular activities. Finally, I would like to see all three communities involved and represented. If elected, I would be the first graduate of Sibley East to be a member of the school board.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? Growth and stability. I see growth in the school, specifically in enrollment and classes offered, and I see stability in the district’s finances. I would also like to see more computerized based technology classes implemented along with reintroduction of the small engine class.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? I am a life long resident of Arlington and a Sibley East graduate. I have two children, one attending elementary school and one entering so I have an interest in their learning and future at Sibley East. I have an outgoing personality. I am easy to talk to, and will keep an open mind to all ideas and suggestions.
My husband Harvey and I live in Arlington.
Why are you running for school board? I have always had an interest in education and our school system. I have had three children in the district and now have four grandchildren who will be going to school at Sibley East. I feel each community in our district needs a voice and I am concerned about future cuts in programs at our schools.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? I think with the fuel price increases and aid money at a premium it will take some big decisions on what money is spent where over the next few years.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? I am conservative but I don’t feel our children’s educational needs need to be cut. They should come first. For the past three years I have worked on budgets at the Highland Commons and Estates housing project through HUD and feel I can make educated decisions on how we can make it through these difficult financial times.
ANNE (VENER) KARL
I grew up in Arlington and was a graduate of A-GI’s class of 1984. I attended the College of St. Scholastica and received my BA in Health Information Management in 1988. We moved from Richfield, MN two years ago due to concerns with Richfield HS employing a FT cop on campus. I felt a great need to return to my rural roots. My daughter, Erin, will be a sophomore at SE and my son, Vinzenz, will be a 7th grader at SE. I work FT for the St. Paul Heart Clinic as their Coding and Compliance Specialist, where my motto is “Do the right thing!”
Why are you running for school board? Ever since we moved into the school district in mid 2004, I have tried to attend as many school board meetings as my schedule would allow, as I believe in giving of time, talent and treasures to the foundation of our future – the next generation. I worked extensively with the learning levy of 2005 and I want to continue sharing my time and talents to support the SE mission – Sibley East maximizes the use of community resources to prepare today’s students to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? I believe SE’s future is brighter than ever with the change in administration that occurred last year with the addition of Superintendent John Langenbrunner. John has gained the respect of everyone he has had contact with. He is committed to the school even when that means making an unfavorable decision. With every decision, John is prepared and willing to share the thoughts that went into the decision. This open communication with faculty, staff, students and communities will undoubtedly bring our schools through the difficult situations SE is facing with the ever-limiting funding and changing educational environment we are in.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? In my career as a healthcare compliance specialist I am involved in making decisions all day long. I must evaluate the situation and make solid, ethical decisions to ensure we are billing, documenting and being paid fairly for the services we perform. I must be able to communicate effectively in written and spoken formats to a variety of audiences, including patients, physicians, clinical staff, non-clinical staff, insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Most importantly I am not afraid to say “I don’t know but I will find out and get back to you.”
I am a single father of two kids, Dalton, 13, and Whitley, 15. I have lived in Gaylord since 1996 and graduated from Gaylord High School in 1982.
Why are you running for school board? I believe I can provide leadership and make good decisions for the school. The past four years have been a challenge and feel that I have learned a lot.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? I see Sibley East growing and providing a quality education. I believe the district will need to look at building a new school or consider additions to the existing schools.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? I have served on the school board for the past four years. During that time, the school district has passed a referendum and hired a new superintendent. I believe that we have a great school. I have a construction background and like to be involved in my community. I believe I make sound decisions based on the information provided, research, and listening to the public.
I have lived in the Sibley East area all of my life. I work at M.G. Waldbaums in Gaylord. My wife Bertha works at Lakeview Home. My step-daughter, Laura, graduated from Sibley East and I have two daughters, Christy and Anna, who are in grade school.
Why are you running for school board? I care about the youth of this area and want them to get the best education possible with the resources that are available.
What do you see in Sibley East’s future? Growth and the decisions that come with it. Challenges in funding state-mandated programs.
What qualifications do you have that will help you serve on the school board? I have learned a lot serving as a school board member the past four years. I am co-owner of a storage business and have experience making financial decisions.