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Voter Guide: Wrenshall school board

 

October 2, 2020

Karola Dalen

Karola Dalen

Background

My husband, Rick, and I have two children at Wrenshall School and have lived in Wrenshall for 14 years. Our family owns and operates Northern Harvest Farm. In addition, I work for Carlton County. My professional career has been primarily in the public sector working in environmental protection and conservation.

What made you decide to run for school board this year?

I was asked by someone whom I trust and respect. After careful consideration due to the responsibility, I decided to run.

How would you like to see consolidation and/or collaboration between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts play out over the next few years?

The community survey conducted in February of this year clearly revealed the high likelihood of Wrenshall and Carlton residents approving a facilities referendum associated with consolidation. The dollar amounts for a referendum were based on debt equalization aid being available to districts who would like to consolidate. Unfortunately, the request to use this aid is stalled in the legislature. Ideally, the legislation will pass and allow the aid to be available to the Wrenshall and Carlton districts and they can come to an agreement to make a formal decision to consolidate. Once a commitment is made, the school boards will have to work together to make it successful. There needs to be an agreed-upon vision of an improved institution of education for students.

As a school board member, I would uphold the preferences of the Wrenshall district from past consolidation work. This includes utilizing a two-site option, where based on past consultant reports, it would be most cost-effective to locate the high school in Wrenshall and the elementary school in Carlton. I believe a successful consolidation of the Wrenshall and Carlton school districts is possible if communication is consistent and a shared vision remains clear.

If consolidation doesn't work out, what would be your preferred plan for your school district's future path?

If consolidation of the districts were not possible, I would expect the Wrenshall school district to continue to be as innovative as it has in the past to keep this small community school operating. Student enrollment numbers are stable and from my personal experience my children's elementary education and school experience has been wonderful.

Elaborate on something you think the school board has handled well over the past two years.

I have attended several board meetings and community meetings hosted by the Wrenshall school board and have always been impressed with their level of professionalism and respect for fellow board members, the Carlton school board and visitors. I am also impressed with the district's ability to retain teachers. This leads me to believe the school board is appropriately supportive of the school's staff.

Why should people vote for you?

I believe my experience as a student parent, small business owner, and public employee will allow me to be a good member of the Wrenshall school board. I greatly value and support public education because it is in the best interest of our community.

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Misty Bergman

Background

I have had children in school since 2000, which has included St. Cloud, Marshall, Milroy, St. Louis County and Wrenshall school districts. I have participated in some way at all schools. I served a five-year term as School Board Secretary for District #635 and eight years as PTO secretary.

What made you decide to run for school board this year?

Education is a very important part of a child's growth and prosperity. As a parent, I feel it is important to be supportive.

How would you like to see consolidation and/or collaboration between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts play out over the next few years?

Having been a part of consolidated schools before, there are many things to look forward to. Schools are the glue that holds a community together and it's important that they run effectively and as efficiently as possible. Consolidation/collaboration could be very beneficial in both a financial and curricular sense. It would enable the schools to share in classes offered and facilities and staff. It could provide consistency in programs provided and continuity within the different schools regarding policies and rules. Collaboration efforts even now between schools is vital, this would make it easier to communicate and to ensure consistency and continuity across the district. Proposed improvements to the schools would have numerous benefits including efficiency. The financial impact to both could be significant, cost savings alone in transportation from overlapping bus routes could be reduced.

If consolidation doesn't work out, what would be your preferred plan for your school district's future path?

I do feel quite positive that this consolidation will go through, but in a Plan B type scenario (which one should always have), a top priority would be to get the current construction projects finished and the necessary improvements needed for technology completed. Then we do what is best for our small school and community and never give up on the idea entirely but try to find another way to make it feasible for both schools.

Elaborate on something you think the school board has handled well over the past two years.

From what I have seen, the past few months has been incredible. There have been so many challenges that they have had to work through with students and staff having to switch to online learning and the need for more chromebooks and other technology. The construction that was disrupted and other building limitations. Keeping all students and staff safe as they are returning to school and coming up with innovative ideas to do just that.

Why should people vote for you?

I come with years of dedication and experience to schools as a board member, parent and school bus driver. I am newer to the community with fresh ideas and different experiences. My life has been dedicated to service, family, faith, community and country. I always give 110 percent. Thank you.

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Nicole Krisak

Background

Hello my name is Nicole Krisak and I am running for school board. I believe strongly in this community and in the education of our students at Wrenshall. Being a Wrenshall graduate myself, it was important for me that my children have the same opportunities and experiences I did.

What made you decide to run for school board this year?

I hope to serve as an advocate for the school and the community and help bridge the gap between them so together we can move forward.

How would you like to see consolidation and/or collaboration between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts play out over the next few years?

I thought back in May that the boards had come to an agreement but apparently that has changed. The consolidation question has gone back even before my time at Wrenshall and we are still not any further along. For myself it is bittersweet: I would miss the atmosphere that surrounds the brown jug games and homecoming, but I also know the positive impact it would have for both communities. To be able to offer more electives and college courses plus we have already seen the positive impact it has made with our cross country and football teams. So we need to as parents, community members, teachers, etc. to.push aside our differences and do what is best for our children.

If consolidation doesn't work out, what would be your preferred plan for your school district's future path?

If we cannot put aside our differences, then I feel the next best option will be to go back and do pairing and sharing of education and sports. I know this has worked in the past for I am an example of that. Still the communities would have to come to an agreement that works for both sides.

Elaborate on something you think the school board has handled well over the past two years.

With the current Covid-19 situation, I feel the school has done a good job in preparing us with either the hybrid or distance learning plans. There have been open lines of communication between staff, students and parents, making it easy for us to all stay informed. Unfortunately we are having to go ahead with all distance learning. I am confident in the staff at Wrenshall that this will also go smoothly,

Why should people vote for you?

I would be an advocate for the community, school, staff and students. A good board member needs to listen and take input from all groups before making any decisions. I am willing to collaborate with others to get the job done. Plus I've been a Wren my whole life.

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Alice Klopfer

Background

I'm Alice Kloepfer. I live in Wrenshall with my husband, Cliff. I am a Wrenshall alumna, and have three sons that graduated from Wrenshall. Together we have 14 grandchildren. I worked for Wrenshall School as a custodian for seven years, and currently work for Carlton County as a custodian.

What made you decide to run for school board this year?

I decided to run for school board, because I am invested in this community. I have grandchildren that go to Wrenshall and Carlton.

How would you like to see consolidation and/or collaboration between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts play out over the next few years?

I'm hoping for consolidation between Wrenshall and Carlton schools. I know that communication is the key to success. We need to continue to have feedback from both school districts, and be able to hear both communities' concerns. If consolidation does happen, think of all the opportunities that will open up for all the students, such as more languages to choose from, enhanced trade school training, and better student-to-teacher ratio.

If consolidation doesn't work out, what would be your preferred plan for your school district's future path?

Misty Bergman

Having grandchildren in each school system, I understand the challenges that the districts are facing. If there is no consolidation, I would hope they would continue to collaborate in sports. What awesome football and cross county teams they had in 2019. Cross country for this year had a great turnout.

Elaborate on something you think the school board has handled well over the past two years.

I think the school board is handling this school year well, considering all of the circumstances being faced: new construction with delays, state guidelines for Covid-19, and making the decision to move to a hybrid model early. There is no right answer in this climate as we all are in unprecedented times together.

Why should people vote for you?

I would appreciate your support as I continue to remain invested in our community and school districts.

 
 

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