In 2017, residents in the Spring Lake Park School District will elect four board members to serve four-year terms. The candidates are:
About: Steve Aalund is running for School Board for the Spring Lake Park District. He has worked at a Blaine manufacturing company for over 33 years. His work brought him to Scotland and Mexico, where he was responsible for starting up international plants. He is married with 2 elementary aged children. He and his family moved to Spring Lake Park when his oldest was starting Kindergarten. They chose the Spring Lake Park district due to the unique learning opportunities. His kids have flourished with the excellent education they have received. His wife has been teaching for 22 years and his kids are active in a variety of sports. If he’s not coaching his son’s baseball or football teams, he’s cheering on his daughter’s softball team. He leaves the hockey coaching up to those who can skate, but is always willing to take on the role as manager. He has enjoyed getting to know the people in the community and is looking forward to being an active member of the Spring Lake Park School Board.
Important Issues: Important issues for Steve are to continue the great work that the current school board has been doing. He likes open communication and appreciates the hard work that teachers do on a daily basis to make sure the lines of communication with parents are open. With all of the technology available, he would like to streamline the modes of communication to make it less overwhelming. He will support the teachers and work to make sure they continue to have what they need to ensure the success of each student, while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. He likes the personalized learning that the students receive and will team with leadership on ways to close the achievement gap in his work on the Spring Lake Park School Board.
Goals if Elected: Goals include streamlining communication, closing the achievement gap, and continuing to look for ways to support our teachers and students. It is important that each student is challenged academically, no matter their skills and abilities, so they can realize their highest potential. As a school board member of the Spring Lake Park District, Steve would work tirelessly on behalf of the district and represent all constituents. He is proud to be a Panther and would be proud to have your support in November.
Endorsements: None listed.
About: Kelly is seeking re-election to the Spring Lake Park School District School Board where she has been serving in this capacity for the students and taxpayers for 25 years. Kelly is a Spring Lake Park resident and has lived in the district community for 37 years. She and her husband Brad have four grown children and two grandchildren. Kelly is passionate about public education and will continue to support the best educational experience for all the students in District 16. Throughout her tenure she has served as Board liaison to each of the district’s schools and served on a variety of school-community committees, councils, and task forces. As an active and dedicated board member, Kelly has been invited numerous times to speak at the annual High School Leadership camp where she uses her past experiences to motive the students and promotes unity among them. Kelly was selected to serve as an Ambassador to Education by the Minnesota School Boards Association. As part of these duties, she has spoken to community groups on the topic of public education, standardized testing, and ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation. Kelly holds a Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs and Services from St Cloud State University.
Important Issues: The important issues facing District 16 are: Student growth, quality education, maintaining lower taxes and inclusion of all students and families. Our student population has increased greatly. Our buildings must accommodate all students and provide for the best possible educational experiences. We must educate all students and ensure our students make adequate progress. We must measure the success of each student and tailor our way of teaching to meet each student’s needs. We must prepare our students for the future. I believe we must remain as the ‘district of choice’ for our families. I will continue to spend the tax dollars wisely to benefit our students and look for ways to decrease the school district portion of the property tax bill for our residents when possible. I will continue to ensure our students and their families feel welcomed and their individual needs are met.
Goals if Elected: My goals are to keep our students needs first; keep class sizes manageable; and ensure equal learning opportunities for all students while continuing to be fiscally responsible. Our schools must be accountable; using fair and equitable measurements. We must strive to teach our students, not only how to do a task, but how to learn and problem solve. Basic education must be taught and students need to continue to make adequate progress toward their own, individualized goals. We must continue to build partnerships between home and school using a variety of communication types to address the individual needs of our families. I will stress the importance of flexible learning opportunities for our students. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t work. We must continue to prepare our students for the future. I will continue to look for ways to reduce our residents school tax responsibility while ensuring our tax dollars are spend wisely.
Endorsements: None listed.
About: Marilynn Forsberg is running for the Spring Lake Park School Board . Marilynn is one of the longest serving school board members in Minnesota. Marilynn currently serves on the SLP School Board, Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School Board (Vice chair), the Minnesota School Boards Association Delegate Assembly, Region 11 (7 county metro) Help Me Grow Interagency Early Intervention Committee, Homeowner’s Association President, her church’s Child Care & School Board of Directors, Ministry Team and volunteers for Family Table and Meals on Wheels.
Marilynn held the offices of chairperson, vice-chairperson, treasurer, clerk, parliamentarian and director on the SLP Board. She served on the Minnesota School Boards Association Board of Directors, Panther Foundation Board of Directors, Association of Metropolitan School Districts Board of Directors Chair and Executive Committee, Equity Alliance MN Vice Chair, and presented at the Minnesota School Boards Association Leadership Conference.
Marilynn was recognized by the Minnesota School Boards Association as Minnesota School Board Member of the Year, an Arlene Bush Board Member of Distinction, and received the Service Award, President’s Award and Director’s Award. She was Westmar University’s Outstanding Community Volunteer, was Tower Days Grand Marshall and was Employee of the Month at Allina (Abbott Northwestern) Laboratories.
Important Issues: Fortunately, the Spring Lake Park School District is in a very good position. Our current funding has given us the opportunity to decrease class sizes as our enrollment increases. We have many opportunities for students both academically and athletically. We are concentrating on Personalized Learning to enhance the engagement and learning of all students. As a result of our resident’s support of the April 2016 referendum we are able to update all district facilities. New science spaces have been added at the high school and our new PreK-4 school (not named as of 9/20/17) is under construction and will begin serving students Fall 2018. Unfortunately, public education has been under attack at many levels, including federal, and consequently our strong public schools receive less positive recognition and support for their work with an increasingly diverse student population.
Goals if Elected: When I am re-elected I will continue to support Personalized Learning as well as other innovative and creative ways of educating students and support and value all staff as they implement new opportunities for our students.. I will continue to value the input from students and families regarding further opportunities and improvements. One of the immediate challenges is establishing new attendance boundaries and transitioning elementary schools from PreK-Grade 3 schools to PreK-Grade 4 schools and the subsequent impact on Westwood Intermediate School. I will continue to stay informed though the Minnesota School Boards Association and other resources. I will contact Legislators and members of Congress on behalf of education and testify at the Legislature again if given the opportunity. I will continue to be cheerleader for the district and the conscience of the administration. Marilynn believes CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT TODAY!
Family — Sons Michael, Scott, Brian and Dan – all SLP graduates
Grandchildren Olivia, Lauren, Ben and Sawyer– one SLP grad, one SLP student
About: Michael Kreun is running for Spring Lake Park School Board because he believes in strong, locally controlled public education and wants the schools to provide a world-class education. Michael has lived in the Spring Lake Park district for over 8 years. Michael is married to his wife Laura, and they have three children; Anders (2nd grade at Woodcrest Elementary), Josie (1st grade at Woodcrest Elementary), and Andrea (Spring Lake Park Preschool). Michael is active in Spring Lake Park youth sports, having coached hockey, baseball, football, and soccer. Michael is also active at Eaglebrook Church in Blaine, volunteering in Eaglebrook’s “Elevate” kids’ services. Michael serves on the Coon Creek Watershed Board of Managers, where his responsibilities include setting a tax levy and overseeing a professional staff and a $5.94 million budget. Michael is a real estate lawyer in a downtown Minneapolis law firm, is immediate past-chair of the Hennepin County Bar Association real property section, and is a volunteer lawyer for the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota. Michael is a proud supporter of Spring Lake Park schools and is excited for the opportunity to serve on the Spring Lake Park School Board.
Academic Excellence. I will advocate that Spring Lake Park schools have the highest academic standards, small class sizes, and provide ample opportunities for extra-curricular activities. These initiatives are crucial in developing educated and well-rounded students prepared for the rigors demanded of them upon graduation.
Supporting Teachers. I will advocate for teachers to have the tools and flexibility they need to maximize student potential. Recruiting and retaining quality teachers is critical for high academic achivevement.
Transparency and Accountability. I will advocate for meaningful parental input before all important decisions, and for the Board to be accountable to the voters by providing meaningful notice and taking a public vote.
Fiscal Responsibility. I will advocate to keep our district in a financial position to deliver academic excellence by finding efficiencies and scrutinizing expenditures that do not advance the district’s educational mission.
Goals if Elected: I want every student, parent, and resident within our district to be connected to Spring Lake Park schools and to have a sense of pride and ownership in our schools. Cultivating this environment is best achieved by a bottom-up approach where parents and residents genuinely believe that the district is welcoming of their input and includes them in a meaningful way prior to making important decisions. I want parents to believe they have a voice in the education of their children and that the district is responsive to the community where they live. While Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores are not the only indicator of a quality education, I want to see our district’s scores stabilize and improve in the coming years. All policy decisions by the district must be made with the sole focus of providing the education, tools, and opportunities that prepare all our students for real world success.
Endorsements: School Board is a non-partisan position. I have not sought, nor received, any public endorsements.
About: Daphne Ponds is running for election to the Spring Lake Park School Board. Daphne has lived in the Spring Lake Park School District for over four years with her husband, Brian. They have one daughter, Willa, a future student of Spring Lake Park schools.
Daphne received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana College and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas – Austin. Daphne went on to complete her law degree from Hamline University School of Law. She is a Registered Nurse and licensed attorney. Daphne worked as a trauma nurse for 10 years with subsequent employment in patient safety and health professional licensing. For the past five years, she has worked as a staff member at the Minnesota Board of Nursing.
Daphne serves as Planning and Charter Commissioner for the City of Blaine. She is a member of the Spring Lake Park Lions, Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine, and the League of Women Voters. Over the years, Daphne has volunteered in the community tutoring elementary students and adult learners and serves as the Night to Unite block leader for her neighborhood. Learn more at DaphneforSchoolBoard.com.
Important Issues: Academic achievement for every student is a top priority. In conjunction with teachers and parents, the School Board and administration should continually review and revise district policies to ensure student learning is evaluated not only by test scores, but by assessing the student as a whole. Teachers must be provided the resources necessary to properly evaluate educational needs and be afforded flexibility and creativity in the classroom to personalize learning for each student. The district should promote and provide programs and services that positively impact the overall health and well-being of students, including increased physical activity, playtime, and mental health and counseling services. It is important that the district successfully completes construction of the new elementary school in Blaine, as well as renovation projects at existing facilities to address district growth and to create customized learning spaces for students of all ages.
Goals If Elected: I believe a well-educated child is a benefit to us all. I will work to enact policies that create innovative and personalized learning programs to support the academic success of every child. I want to make sure that our district not only uses evidence-based standards to measure student achievement, but helps each child reach his or her own personal aspirations for learning as well. As the district student population continues to grow necessitating expansion of facilities and services, I will work to keep the school portion of property taxes low for district residents while supporting policies to retain and recruit exceptional teachers, provide up-to-date facilities and technologies, and create safe and healthy schools for our community. I will foster a spirit of respect and collaboration among my fellow Board members and work towards the greater good for our students and families.
Endorsements: None listed.
About: A resident of Blaine, John Stroebel has been a member of the District 16 school board for the past twelve years. He has held several positions while on the board including treasurer and vice chair. For the past five years he has been the board chairperson. Prior to beginning his school board service, John was a member of the Facilities Utilization Task Force, volunteered on the efforts to pass the resulting bond referendum, and was a member of the Strategic Framework Advisory Committee. John has four children, all of whom attended schools within the district over the past seventeen years. Two of his children are still attending, with the youngest a member of the class of 2022. John and his wife, Sue, continue to be involved in a number of school, church, and community activities. John has an electrical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota and has devoted thirty years to the design and development of implantable medical devices.
Important Issues: Preparing students to be successful in the modern workforce is the primary purpose of public education. To that end, the most important issues we face are clearly laid out in the District 16 vision statement. Personalization of learning and inspiring learners to develop the life skills and academic knowledge to achieve college readiness is the focus of that vision. The role of the board is to work with district administration to ensure that initiatives and actions are being undertaken in support of the successful realization of this vision. I will continue to engage in development, review, and refinement of the District Operation Plan in order to ensure a successful outcome.
Goals if Elected: I desire that all students have the learning and life skills needed to achieve success in whatever endeavor they chose after graduation. I strongly feel that District 16 is on the right track and has the momentum to continue to increase academic proficiency and instill the career and life skills needed for each student to succeed. Therefore, I will continue to support the direction of the current board and work to craft and support actions that will carry that direction into the future.
Endorsements: None listed.
About: Amy Wheaton and her husband, Alex have lived in Blaine since 2004. They have two sons in the Spring Lake Park district – Zachary is a freshman at Spring Lake Park High School and Jace is a 6th grader at Westwood Middle School. Her sons entered the district in 2008 and she has been involved with the district since that time.
Her initial introduction into the district started with the ECFE Advisory Council. She served on the committee for a year and as Secretary for the following two years.
As her sons moved on to elementary school, she volunteered in a number of different roles – reading to classes, field trip chaperone, event volunteer and PTO member. She co-chaired Northpoint’s Reading Night and Fall Fundraiser for several years.
During this time, she was also asked to be a part of various district committees:
• Community Advisory Council
• Communications Committee
• Legislative Action Committee, Co-Chair and Chairperson
• Kid’s First, Co-Chair and Chairperson
• Special Ed. Advisory Council
• Facilities Planning Team
• Facilities Design Team
Amy works in the commercial real estate industry and serves as Director of Administration and Marketing for Transwestern in Minneapolis.
Important Issues: Fiscal responsibility – the district needs to continue to adhere to its high standard of providing exceptional learning opportunities while being fiscally responsible – all the while matching educators with progressive learning styles and student achievement standards. Underfunding – underfunding has been and will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future. Communication issues – while applications like Schoology can be successful, they need to be utilized consistently to build parent involvement. Parent engagement – explore opportunities to reach a greater spectrum of parents so that every parent who wants to be involved has the opportunity to do so.
Goals if Elected: If elected, I will work with the administration and staff to ensure the district adheres to their statement of, “raising our highest levels of learning while narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring equitable learning for all.” The landscape of learning gets more broad every year and we need to stand prepared to evolve with change to ensure our learners are getting the very best education.
Endorsements: None listed.