—by Todd Thorson
The Roland-Story school board election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10. Polls will be open from 12 noon to 8 p.m. District voters in Story City and Roland may vote at the Bertha Bartlett Public Library, 503 Broad Street, in Story City.
Two uncontested positions are available on the Roland-Story School Board, and only two candidates are running. Boyd Brodie, current board member, is seeking re-election, while newcomer Michaela Carlson will be running for the other open position. Steve Peterson, a board member since 2009, has decided not to seek re-election.
Background: Senior Clinical Research Associate for Quintiles, Inc. (Clinical Research Organization) and resident of Story City. PTO volunteer, Parent Advisory Committee member, volunteer at Bethany Manor, member and volunteer at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church
Family: Husband - Shane; Children - Makenna, 7, Brinley, 5, and Hadley, 3
Background: Graduated with a B.A. in Ag Business from Iowa State University in 1985. He is currently heading up operations and customer service for Key Cooperative. He also has been a member of the Roland-Story Board of Education for the past seven years. Boyd has also served on numerous industry related boards, committees and task forces. His three children, Kristin, Dan and Emily, have all graduated from Roland-Story and have pursued careers in education. And Boyd believes this district had a huge influence on their desire to make a difference in their communities.
Family: Wife, Ann; Children, Kristin, Dan and Emily
Following are the responses to a questionnaire the Herald recently sent to each candidate:
1. Why did you decide to seek a position or re-election on the school board and what will your personal goals be?
Carlson: I have three young daughters (7 years, 5 years and 3 years) who plan on attending Roland-Story until their graduation. So my personal agenda in running for school board was to find a way to stay involved with my children’s education, growth and development in a method that I can best serve.
Brodie: Serving on the Roland-Story Board of Education the last two terms has provided me with an opportunity to give back to our community in a small, but important way. My family has benefited greatly from being part of this district and being involved in the Roland and Story City communities. This coming year we will face some crucial decisions on the leadership of this district for the future and I wanted to be a part of that.
2. What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the school board toward these groups: students, parents and teachers. How will you balance these roles?
Carlson: It is a school board member’s responsibility to be open minded and be willing to listen to the concerns of all community members and employees of the school district. A school board member needs to be able to make decisions based on what is best for all parties involved and primarily the students. Additionally, a school board member needs to understand the proper protocol and limits to their abilities.
Brodie: The board’s responsibilities are really well communicated in our mission statements for the district. "Building a foundation of lifetime learning for our students, families and communities." For students, we have an obligation to provide a safe, conducive and engaging learning environment so that they can develop a passion for learning. We have an obligation to involve our parents in the development of their children to be successful, contributing members to whatever community they area part of after they leave our system. We are committed to provide our educators with the tools, resources, professional development to work together in providing that conducive and engaging environment I referred to previously. I really don’t view it as needing to be balanced as much as it requires commitment from all stakeholders in the process.
3. Recognizing that limited resources require the school board to prioritize the many needs of a school system how would you as a school board member go about doing so?
Carlson: I believe to be a good school board member you need to be able to put personal biases aside and always be able to look for the betterment of the entire school. All decisions require being open minded, being able to listen to the concerns of those involved, working closely with the superintendent and doing your research to make the most educated decision possible.
Brodie: Today’s budgeting system for education leaves very little room or control for the local districts to manage. We have been fiscally conservative during more than a decade of flat and slightly declining enrollment. Our administrative team has done a wonderful job of balancing our budget through that period and putting our district in a great position looking forward. We are in a great position to continue to provide the facilities and technical resources necessary to meet the district’s needs.
4. What is the best thing about the Roland-Story district? And which areas need improving?
Carlson: 3.5 years ago my husband and I were researching the area schools to determine what district we wanted to live in and raise our children in. The reason we chose Roland-Story was because of the warm and inviting community, the quaint and self-serving town, and the focus of the school to not only develop intelligent and talented individuals, but to also create students with good character and strong morals. So the strongest advantage to Roland-Story is its focus on creating well-rounded and giving students!
I believe that the area that could most be improved are various updates to our buildings and facilities. Overall, our buildings are in good condition. However, I feel that there are projects that could be completed pro-actively before they become a problem. The football field and press box were a wonderful addition completed this summer and really looks great as you drive into town. But I feel like there are more projects that could be completed to further improve the wonderful buildings that we do have and better prepare for the future of the Roland-Story Community School District.
Brodie: I have always pointed to the extremely high level of participation in extra-curricular activities by our student body as a whole as one of our greatest attributes. The fact that our students can and do find multiple areas to utilize their developing skills and abilities through athletics, the arts and numerous service and professional organizations demonstrates a healthy educational system. The 1:1 technology program and the dynamic learning environment was a necessity in moving our system into a 21st century model. We need to improve the development and coordination of our educational teams. Right now that means being creative in finding ways to provide our educators the time necessary to coordinate their efforts more effectively.
5. Define "student success" and what determines whether a student will be successful in the Roland-Story school environment and also following graduation?
Carlson: Student success, by my definition, is a student who can leave high school with the means necessary to support themselves, give back to their community, have global awareness and live a life of fulfillment and happiness.
Brodie: I would point back to question number two, and that is, whatever our students decide to pursue for a career or how they continue their professional education. We want them to take the initiative in continuously improving themselves and the communities in which they live, and to excel daily on both a personal and professional level.