Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glendive Unified School Board Candidates (slideshow)

Meet the Candidates

Glendive Unified School Board Candidates

Jeane Seifert

My name is Jeanne Seifert.  My husband Keith and I have lived in Glendive for 35 years and all 3 of our children - Kristen, Bradley and Bethany are graduates of Dawson County High School.  I am a Registered Nurse and currently not employed.  Previously I worked for Dawson County Health Department for 33 years retiring in December 2013 as Department Director.

Why are you running for the Glendive School Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

Dedication, enthusiasm and leadership skills along with a good foundational knowledge of school law, finance and policy.  I believe that schools are an important part of the foundation of our community and that we as citizens have a responsibility to do what we can to make our community stronger.  If elected this will be my 4th term on the Glendive School Board.  In the previous 3 terms I have learned a tremendous amount about school law, school finance and how to be an effective board member.  I believe I have demonstrated an ability to work in partnership with other Board members, administrators and staff and in leadership as a committee chair.  The development of our Strategic Plan has brought a focus to our Board and Administrative team.  It is an exciting time for Glendive Schools and I would like to continue to work toward making the Glendive Schools even better.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Glendive’s schools and what do you think should be done to face it?

Balancing the needs of the District related to the funding that is available while offering a quality education to our students. We are feeling the impact of an increase in student population related to growth in our community, we have an aging infrastructure and increasing employer expenses related to wages and benefits.  In the past several months we have taken steps to address the facilities concerns by completing a Facilities Assessment which will lead to a Facilities Master Plan that will lay out a plan for addressing our aging infrastructure.  

Staffing is difficult as we have some of the lowest wages in the state but one of the highest costs of living.  We are working to address salary and benefits for all employees and are striving to put together a package that is fair to current employees and attractive to new employees but reasonable given the budget limitations.

Name any other challenges you believe Glendive Public Schools are facing and how you think the school board should address those issues.

Community engagement and communication – great things are happening in the Glendive schools and opportunities for the community to engage exist.  Enhancing our communication with the community is a key to addressing this void. Quality Education – Glendive Schools are committed to excellence in education.  A Curriculum Director, who will be tasked with assuring that our curriculum K-12 is meeting the needs of our students and that we are implementing best practices in education, is being recruited.  Our goal is that professional development will be aligned with curriculum to enhance student instruction. Staff housing - We are recruiting for staff at all levels and have had qualified applicants who are not able to relocate to Glendive because of the cost of housing.  All avenues and funding sources are being explored with a public/private partnership that could allow for reduced rents for these essential employees being a potential solution. Funding – legislative action needed.

 

Mandy Hoffman

My name is Mandy Hoffman.  I work as a radiological technologist for Glendive Medical Center, and my husband, Justin, and I own Mon-Dak Construction Supply.  We have two children, Nathan, who is 10 years old, and Bradie, who is 7.

Why are you running for the Glendive School Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I have represented Deer Creek District on the High School board for the past term.  I grew up in this area, and plan on being in Glendive for the rest of my life.  This town and the people in it are important to me.  I come from a ranching background, and know the importance of hard work and management of limited funds.  I hope to do my part to help Glendive through this time of change, and overcome the growing pains we face as a community.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Glendive’s schools and what do you think should be done to face it?

There are many challenges ahead for Glendive’s schools.  Increased enrollments in the elementary district have caused an imbalance between high school and elementary budgets.  Overcrowding and aging schools are plaguing Glendive, but without the benefit of substantial oil revenues that surrounding districts have available.  I am excited to see the results from our facilities assessment.  This will give us great insight to be able to prioritize issues within our buildings.

Name any other challenges you believe Glendive Public Schools are facing and how you think the school board should address those issues.

I hope to see the relationship between the school board and staff repaired.  I would like to see us find ways to let the staff know how much they are appreciated.  Glendive Schools has many exciting improvements coming in the next year, and I am proud to get to be a part of that.

Note: Hoffman was the only candidate to file in the Deer Creek High School District. She will retain her seat on the GUSB barring election of a write-in candidate.

 

Steve Zorn

Note: The Ranger-Review did not receive a response before deadline from GUSB candidate Steve Zorn.

 

 

 

Richey School Board Candidates

 

Marlin Johnston

I have been raised and continue to live on the farm that my Father and Grandfather put together. My wife (Aurilla) and I raise cattle as a commercial venture and also raise peas, corn, peas/barley mix for forage, spring wheat, winter wheat, durum, and throw in the rotation cover crops. Our employment is full time year round on this life adventure. We have four children (all girls) with one left in HS.

Why are you running for the Richey School Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I was elected to the School Board in May of 2002 and have been active on the School Board since that time. I have been on numerous committees that were vital to the daily operation of the school. The need to continue to have experienced members to represent the public and their best interests is vital. Proper interviews with experienced people on that committee ensure that our staff is very qualified for the positions that they applied for. Experience in every field of operation in the school helps to maintain a smooth running system. Experience knowing not only about the operations, budgets, how to keep good employees happy, to know about the physical end of the school, keeps projects up to date and the school running smoothly.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Richey’s schools and what do you think should be done to face it?

All schools have many challenges to deal with every day, month, year. The buildings that are used to teach our students seem to be a load that is a heavy one to bear. The structures do have some years on them and need attention. Some of this is out of our budgetary means. We have to be inventive to accomplish monumental tasks. To keep our school up and running, first we have to have a safe and sound set of buildings. Discovering new ways to fund these is one thing that needs to be done.

Name any other challenges you believe Richey Public Schools are facing and how you think the school board should address those issues.

Acquiring and maintaining excellent faculty for our students is always on the fore front. Richey is a small community and sometimes it is a tough thing to do to acclimate to this type of lifestyle for some people. It takes a special person to fit in and enjoy the environment around them. 

We have and will continue to encourage these type of teachers to stay in our community. We have safety issues all across America and here in Richey, we have addressed those issues with diligence. School lunches are vital to our student’s education and we need to keep them going in the right direction. There are many more challenges to mention that all need to be addressed now and in the future.

 

 

Jana Olson

I am the office manager at CHS Inc. Farmers Elevator of Richey.  I am married to Harley Olson.  We have three children, Laken, 20, Ryder, 17, and Haley, 13.

Why are you running for the Richey School Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I have been on the Richey school board for the last 4 years. In the last 4 years I have gained new knowledge on how a board is run.  I don’t have any hidden agendas for being on the board, other than to fill a position that helps supply an excellent education to our children and try to make the best decisions for our community and tax payers.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Richey’s schools and what do you think should be done to face it?

I believe just keeping up with increasing budget while keeping the tax increases to a minimum for our taxpayers. Richey Schools strives to supply an outstanding education to our children and maintain a great working environment for teachers and staff.       

Name any other challenges you believe Richey Public Schools are facing and how you think the school board should address those issues. 

We are updating and maintaining our facilities. We are trying to prioritize our improvements.

 

 

Dawson Community College Board Candidates

Bruce Bainbridge

Bruce Bainbridge, M.B.A., Ph.D. retired Agricultural Economist, College Educator, International Consultant. I currently raise cattle and speed horses with my wife, Kristin Aus, on her family ranch and work part time at Runnings. I retired from DCC after a serious riding injury, suffering a fractured pelvis, spine and severely damaged shoulder. Five years of rehab work and I am walking without a cane. I chose to work at Runnings as it enables me to maintain his therapeutic walking while helping people in the community. Two grown daughters and two wonderful grandchildren live in Colorado. Katie has an M.S. in Education and works as a college recruiter. Sherry is certified teacher of teachers of the blind, and teaches Visually Impaired children, including  my grandson Kai, who was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. Sherry started her career teaching kindergarten in Spanish, and then completed her TVI certification at the University of Northern Colorado.

Why are you running for the DCC Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I served on the DCC faculty, taught Statistics, Ag classes, and the successful Farm Ranch Business Management and Agricultural and Financial Management Programs that were started by my wife, Kristin.  I also managed the $1.16 million Clean Energy WIRED grant for DCC. As a consultant I specialize in working with businesses that are in serious financial difficulties.   Clients businesses recover only after identification of problems and implementation of realistic solutions.  I offer this same ability to DCC which continues to struggle with low enrollment and severely limited financial resources.  In short, I know how to evaluate difficult situations and implement positive successful solutions.

What do you think are the two biggest challenges facing DCC and how do you think the board should address them?

The problems that I note are low enrollment and limited funding. DCC needs to maintain successful programs, improve those with low enrollment and implement new programs that will benefit students and regional employers. Programs require industry and academic support to succeed and students interested in the benefits of a career in that program. Increased enrollment will address the funding issues, as will a thorough review of expenditures. Industry support of vocational programs is a priority, as DCC can make a mark in preparing students for the regional workforce. During the past 20 years I have watched DCC and Dickinson State go from having similar enrollment to DSU boasting an enrollment much higher than DCC. The DCC Board of Trustees set the policies and agenda that have allowed this to develop. I intend to change this serious issue that reflects poorly on the DCC community. The Buck stops with the Board. 

What do you believe DCC’s role should be both within the community and the state?

DCC is an educational institution. Its role is to educate, through formal classroom programs, vocational programs and workshops available to all interested members of our community. The first role is to educate high school graduates, preparing them to advance to other institutions, or to successfully integrate into the workplace.  Such an institution should offer remedial courses as needed, and then prepare students with academic and vocational curricula that creates a foundation for success.  Learning takes place in the classroom and beyond.  The college has a social contract to further the education of traditional students and the community at large, offering classes and workshops that meet both the traditional educational expectations and the changing needs of a dynamic society.

 

 

Mike Wilondek

My name is Mike Wilondek and I’ve been employed by Hub International Insurance in Glendive for the last 28 years. I’ve been happily married to my fabulous wife, Carole for over 30 years and together we have raised 3 wonderful kids here in Glendive. Our 3 children, Eric, age 40, Cindy, age 37 and Megan, age 33, are happily married and thriving in their careers. They have given us 4 grandsons for which we are eternally grateful.

Why are you running for the DCC Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

Dawson Community College is what brought me to Glendive 46 years ago. I was born and raised in Indiana and was privileged to receive a basketball scholarship in 1967. Like many DCC students, I went on to finish a four year degree, but then moved back to work for the college in the community I’d grown to love in the late 70s early 80s. In some respects, you could say that DCC played a huge part in my development as a professional. Having spent the last 28 years in the business of service and sales, I’ve developed a strong relationship with our community and I’m excited about the opportunity to give back to the school marrying my strengths in communications with the dedication I feel for DCC.

What do you think are the two biggest challenges facing DCC and how do you think the board should address them?

With the influx we’ve seen from the recent energy development, DCC is blooming with opportunity. Not only can we work to increase enrollment by capitalizing on that industry through the development of DCC’s course offerings, we can create opportunities for higher education for their families as well as our community members who’ve always been here. Additionally, I’d like to work to build bridges back up between the college and the community that has wholeheartedly supported it. DCC should be a cornerstone of Glendive, but in order to achieve this, it’s important to foster a reciprocal relationship. From the board to the administration and staff to the students, everyone must work together to make that relationship happen.

What do you believe DCC’s role should be both within the community and the state?

DCC’s role in Glendive is two fold. First, DCC is there to provide a quality education to every student who walks through its doors. It worked for me along with many others who used DCC as a foundation to obtain higher education or training for immediate employment. Second, fostering a mutual support between the college and this community is of the utmost importance. Just as Glendive is an extension of the students’ experience, those students are an extension of our community. We need to open up mutual opportunities, which includes a concerted effort on DCC’s part to create a welcoming experience for those who may want to attend night classes, take in a ballgame, theater production or walk in the gymnasium. In turn, Glendive needs to reinforce our continued commitment to support the school that educates our children, supports our economy and attracts new life in to our community.

 

 

Becky Hicks

Becky Hicks, spouse is Jim Hicks. I have two grown children, Teresa Hicks, who lives in Bozeman, and Stacy Hicks, who lives in Loveland, Colo. I am retired but work part time at Enchanted Room and Runnings. I also do substitute teaching.

Why are you running for the DCC Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I have lived in Glendive all my life. I have been involved with DCC as a student, volunteer and a teacher. In my previous job, I worked with a twelve member network across the state in a board-type structure for 18 years. I am familiar with the format. I am also on the City/County Planning board. I want to contribute to my community in any manner I am able.

What do you think are the two biggest challenges facing DCC and how do you think the board should address them?

Recruitment of students and financial stability. The power of scholarships support student numbers and I hope the type of classes offered. Understanding the financial issues would be something I need to learn more. 

What do you believe DCC’s role should be both within the community and the state?

The college should provide relevant and current classes to suit  community member needs. That could be in the form of job skills and personal interests. DCC offers online classes for the convenience of the students that reaches beyond the community boundaries. Community colleges offer core classes at a reasonable fee that should transfer to the four year universities, which benefits Eastern Montana families as well as the state.

 

 

Jamie Rathbun-Iwen

My name is Jamie Rathbun-Iwen, I am the Lean Six Sigma Site Leader at Glendive Medical Center. I have been married to my husband Robert for almost 22 years and we have 3 children; Zebeck 18, Zannelle 16 and Zara 14. I attended and received both an Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science in Small Business Management degree from DCC. I also have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Technology from Montana State University- Northern.

Why are you running for the DCC Board and what qualities do you think you would bring to the Board if elected?

I believe that DCC is a great asset to our community, and I want to be part of making it the best that it can be. As a graduate and former employee of DCC, I know there are opportunities for improvement, but also know that the greatest asset that the college has is its staff and their dedication to the students.

In addition to my educational background, I have experience as both an employee and a member of management. I can see concerns from both sides of an issue and offer creative and efficient solutions. I have experience in negotiations, leadership positions, and as a current board member for Autism HALO.

What do you think are the two biggest challenges facing DCC and how do you think the board should address them?

The biggest challenge that I see for DCC is the recruitment and retention of students. Offering more options that result in career opportunities after an associate program, working with industry in the area to prepare our students for the positions that are available and working with higher education to create seamless transfer options should all be considerations of the board.

Another challenge facing DCC is maintaining a balance between being a competitive employer and maintaining a responsible budget that makes the most of taxpayer, grant and student tuition dollars. I believe there are opportunities to reduce expenses and become more lean, as well as exploring avenues to increase revenue through community and industry partnerships.

 What do you believe DCC’s role should be both within the community and the state?

DCC’s role in our community and state should be to offer a quality education to our students, quality employees to our local businesses and active, engaged citizens for our community.  Creating opportunities for success within our state and communities will ensure that Montana remains competitive in the future.

 

The Glendive Ranger Review

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 61
Glendive, MT 59330
 
Street address: 119 W. Bell St.
Glendive, MT 59330

 
Phone:(406) 377-3303
Fax: (406) 377-5435

 

 

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