School board: Tera Lee
Why are you most qualified person for this position?
I have been in a leadership role for the past 12 years and know how to communicate with others respectfully and honestly. I am in the classroom on a weekly basis, so I see for myself what goes on in the schools. I have worked with children and teens, writing and implementing programs under very tight budgets, first for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Deptartment and then for Inner City Christian Ministries. I worked with local schools, raised funds, taught classes and formed outreach teams. I have also worked at North
Central University in the advancement office with the college administrators, where I helped with a capital campaign for a building project. The recent class size issue shows my leadership, organization and my conviction to research the issue from all sides. In addition, it shows my belief that every voice is important and should be listened to, even if it differs from mine.
If you could address just one issue, what would it be and how would you address it?
We need to keep more money in the classroom. The budget is going to get tighter over the next few years in light of less state funding, so we have an opportunity to re-prioritize how we spend our money, keeping it as close to the students as possible. We can re-assess what is important to us here in District 192, and build from that. We need to look at the positions that are outside of the classroom and see what we can consolidate and move back in. We need to make sure that all of our decisions are child-centered and will affect them in the most positive ways possible.
What criteria would you use to determine whether the district is succeeding?
Student achievement, teacher feedback and community feedback all play a role. Student progress, such as that we can measure with the NWEA is a great test of success, and the ACT at the upper levels, as this is the test older students are motivated to do well on. High school graduation rate and college readiness are important measures. If the students, teachers and parents are happy, then we have a well-rounded, successful district.
As the district attempts to balance quality education and low taxes, what are your priorities?
High quality teachers in the classroom. We need to trim the positions that do not impact the daily lives of students before we trim the ones that do.
We also need to be transparent with our decisions and our budget process. I state on my website that the budget process should be "open, transparent, and parent and taxpayer driven."
What does the district do well? Where can it improve?
We are doing well in our reading progress and in implementing new curriculum. In addition, we have excellent teachers who care about the students. We need to improve communication and trust, and some of our scores at the secondary level, along with science scores at the elementary level. I also think there is room for improvement in how we spend our money.