ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - There are a total of six candidates running for three open seats on the St. Cloud Area Public School Board. Here's what the candidates have to say about the future of district 742.

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  • Mike Bueckers – Self-Employed Business Owner

Mike Bueckers - Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
Mike Bueckers - Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
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Bueckers grew up in St. Cloud, graduating from Apollo High School. After graduation, he spent 14 years in China before moving back to St. Cloud with his family. Bueckers was moved to run for school board after the state released District 742’s test scores, showing a need for improvement across the district.

We need to bring everything back to the basics. And when I say back to the basics, I'm talking about the real reason why kids are in school, they're there to learn to read, write, do math, learn science, arts, Industrial Tech, you know, the skills that are going to get them to where they want to be, or need to be in society. I don't want kids to get through graduation and look back and go, Well, I don't have any of these skills.

 

  • Theresa Carlstedt – Special Needs Advocate

Theresa Carlstedt. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
Theresa Carlstedt. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
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Carlstedt’s experience in the district was as the caregiver of her special needs sister, who graduated from District 742, and working with other special needs children. She and her husband live in St. Cloud. Carlstedt says the special education teachers working with her sister were wonderful, but she has some concerns with the larger school district and found those concerns are shared by other parents.

I'm an advocate for the parents. I'm an advocate for the students. I'm an advocate for the teachers. I wanted to get on the school board to make the schools the safest place possible to give everybody equal (and) fair opportunity for an education. I want to make schools the safest place out there.

 

  • Zachary Dorholt - Psychotherapist

Zachary Dorholdt. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
Zachary Dorholdt. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
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Dorholdt moved to St. Cloud to go to SCSU, and never left. After working in the telecom industry for a few years after college, he went back to school to be a psychotherapist. His three kids are at Madison Elementary. Rounding out his first term on the school board, he feels his experience as a mental health professional is an asset on the board.

I've been on the board for years, I served in the legislature for a couple - I was Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee there. And I think just the fact that I'm a licensed mental health professional, and in times like these, I am in the thick of it, whether it's working (with) my clients and patients or addressing other things, I’m making sure that 742 stays on top of those needs.

 

  • Nicole Rierson
Nichole Rierson. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
Nichole Rierson. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON
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Rierson has been a resident of St. Cloud for 24 years, and a teacher in the district for 20, ending her career as an assessment specialist. The mother of four and grandmother of a newborn, her main concern is district policies are not being implemented at the individual school level. Her experience writing Individual Education Plans for students has made her focus on setting goals that are measurable and attainable. She also wants to make the board a welcoming place for all to feel safe voicing their opinions.

I have a unique perspective into the day to day workings of the school and what actual policy and procedure means in the classroom and in the school. We have great ideas - everybody is always bringing beautiful ideas on how things can be improved. However, we're often not giving our teachers and staff the resources and the time to actually implement them.

 

 

  • Natalie Ringsmuth – Executive Director, Unite Cloud

Natalie Ringsmuth. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON.
Natalie Ringsmuth. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON.
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Ringsmuth is the mother of three teenagers in North Middle School and Apollo High School. An incumbent, she’s very proud of the “Senior to Sophomore” classes, which allow high school seniors to take freshman-level college classes. Looking forward, Ringsmuth says the four-year graduation rate must be improved, and teachers must have the ability to adjust their classrooms to help teach problem areas more effectively.

I love St. Cloud. I love our schools, I believe in our teachers, and I believe in all of our students. I believe our students deserve a new day, every day. When they come in the day after they may have had an incident with another student or a teacher, faculty and staff are able to say - you're welcome here and we believe in you.

 

 

  • Heather Weems – Director, National Collegiate Hockey Conference

Heather Weems. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON.
Heather Weems. Photo by Jeff McMahon, WJON.
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Heather is the mother of four boys, three of which are still in the district. The daughter of a high school teacher, Heather says innovation in the classroom can be mixed with the traditions of the past. A supporter of athletics, she feels extra-curricular activities are an important part of the health of any school district.

I bring to the table what I would call a thoughtful voice that centers around student learning, the decisions that we make, the way that we engage and make use of the expertise of our administrators and teachers. They are trained professionals. I think I come with an open mind, I think I come with commitment to serving all of our students, and I think I come with commitment to this community, and ensuring that we are positioning ourselves not just for today, but for our future.

 

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