Pequot Lakes School Board Member (Elect 3)

Brandon Andersen

Age: 47.

Employment: President of Lonesome Cottage Furniture Co.

Public office experience: Pequot Lakes School Board member for the past eight years.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? 1. Continue our tradition of academic excellence and activities success. 2. Be fiscally responsible for taxpayer money. 3. Be creative in solving our financial challenges that are surely coming in the next few years. 4. Continue to refine and implement our Strategic Roadmap.

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? Our school board has done an exceptional job of assembling a strong leadership team. We have been effective at helping to set the vision and getting out of the way of our professional educators to let them do their job. We intervene on a limited basis only where minor course corrections are necessary.

As a parent of three children in our school district, I have a unique perspective from my involvement in coaching youth sports, dealing with learning disabilities and other school programs. I have been a strong advocate for making improvements in these areas while on the school board.

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? Finance and business management is my area of expertise. As a former CPA, I have audited schools and municipalities. I was responsible for saving taxpayers more than $1 million in interest by convincing the board not to sell all the construction bonds upfront, like our consultant recommended.

As an owner of a manufacturing business, I believe in applying continuous improvement strategies to every area of an organization. When an area needs to be fixed, we must act quickly because our children's futures are impacted. We have made tremendous strides within the school district over the past five years.

Derrek Johnson

Age: 42.

Employment: Chiropractor at WellnessTeam of Nisswa and WellnessTeam of Crosslake.

Public office experience: Pequot Lakes School Board member for 7 1/2 years.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? If re-elected I hope to continue working toward the goals of ISD 186 by providing an exceptional education in a safe learning environment.

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? I believe our schools are successful because of the quality and talent in our administration and staff. I am excited to support our administration and staff by voting for extra time and funding for their training and education. I believe this continued training will be a key factor in keeping our schools on the leading edge of education.

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? I have owned my own business in the lakes area for 19 years. In that time, I have learned how to be fiscally responsible and run a successful business. I have also learned how to surround myself with great people and lead them toward a common goal.

I am a team player, and I work well with other board members to solve difficult issues and conflicts when they arise.

Dena Moody

Age: 66.

Employment: Retired teacher but continue to substitute in ISD 186.

Public office experience: None.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? If elected, I hope to bring new insights and perspectives to this position. I want to focus on student achievement and implementing policies that will ensure success for all students by collaborating with those who make that possible-the administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and community members.

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? To accomplish this, I'll work diligently to adopt policies and curriculums that keep our district moving forward while not compromising the basic core knowledge and life skills our young people need to be successful individuals and citizens. I believe that the school board should keep the public informed of and involved in the district's progress and challenges; advocate at the local, state, and national levels for public education; adopt fiscally sound district budgets; be accessible to all and visible in the district's schools and communities we serve. I will promote equity for all and accountability by all in our schools.

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? I have a continuing and vested interest in public education. During my 46-year long career in education, I have been a classroom teacher and coach, a parent educator for the Pequot Lakes ECFE, and a day-to-day and long-term substitute teacher for the past 15 years in Pequot Lakes schools. I was also a Guardian ad Litem for seven years. My son and three stepsons are Pequot Lakes graduates. My experiences as an educator, GAL and parent have given me valuable insights into what works and what doesn't in our schools. I will advocate for all-big people and small.

Tracy Wallin

Age: 42.

Employment: Graphic designer.

Public office experience: None.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? I want to continue what the board has already done in making our district No. 1. Some key points that are important to me are making sure we are up-to-date with technology available to our staff and students, preparing students for post-graduation opportunities and providing a safe, welcoming atmosphere.

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? I believe the best way to accomplish these goals is by communicating directly with the staff (teachers to administration, janitorial to paraprofessionals) to learn what their needs are and the best way to fulfill them. Quality education is a direct result of quality staff. I'd like to strengthen the relationship between staff and administration. Everyone is there for the same goal - to provide a top-quality education for our students. I also want to grow the district's platform for a safe district with a positive atmosphere. Personally I want to help provide the best possible educational experience for my children.

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? I am a parent of two Pequot Lakes students and have been actively involved in their educational journey. I've been a Cub Scout den leader/council member, PTA board member and volunteer, Junior Achievement volunteer, classroom volunteer, and helped with community education sports programs. I am involved in the community and feel that I am in touch with the district's needs. My bachelor's degree in business along with my professional experience provides me with practical business sense, attention to detail, adhering to deadlines, dependability and a strong work ethic. I believe the way to ensure student success is being involved.

Valerie Wallin

Age: 43.

Employment: Attorney.

Public office experience: Pequot Lakes School Board member for 10 years.

What do you want to accomplish if elected? From my perspective, there are four significant areas to continue working: 1.Educating students to be college and career ready upon graduation. 2. Funding. 3. School Culture/Student Mental Health Issues: Suicide, Bullying. 4. Effective communication with other local and state leaders.

Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? 1. Implement individualized student learning plans. Advanced learning should be responsive to student/parent desires and should include college classes and technical training. 2. Equalize school funding. ISD 186 receives state funding at less than 97 percent of all other schools in the state. Post Secondary Education Option is not fully reimbursed. 3. Support mental health services. Student initiatives to be kind and welcoming should be supported. 4. As a board member, I continue to advocate with local and state leaders for district needs.

What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? My experience, both as a board member and in life, make me highly qualified to serve on the school board. I have six children and am passionate about education. I am an attorney with significant experience and skill in problem-solving. I taught English as a Second Language for the Moscow Department of Education. I taught in an Alternative Learning Program. I have experience with European educational structures. I taught post-secondary English. All of these experiences influence my service. And I listen to our community and seek to have our school district reflect the exceptional community we serve.