2015 Elections - ISD 199

Susan Gliva
Susan Gliva
Rachel Hanson
Rachel Hanson
Bill Klein
Bill Klein
Mathias Schaefer
Mathias Schaefer
Sherry Warrick
Sherry Warrick

Inver Grove Heights School Board election finds two incumbents and three challengers

The Inver Grove Heights School Board will gain some new faces next year with five candidates running for four open seats.

Two incumbents, both of whom were appointed, are hoping to retain their seats on the board. Susan Gliva took the place of Allen Gerber after he resigned from the board in May, and Sherry Warrick filled the board seat left vacant by Bridget Cronin, who resigned in August 2014.

Rounding out the field of candidates on the District 199 election ballot this fall are Rachel Hanson, Bill Klein and Mathias Schaefer.

The terms of incumbents Tom Begich and Mark Westpfahl are expiring, and both men have decided not to run again. 

School board members Paul Mandell, Cindy Nordstrom and Lynette Stensgard will continue in office until 2017, when their current terms end.

The Review asked the five candidates what skills and experience they'd bring to the board; what they think are the top challenges facing the district in the coming years, and what issue or project they would prioritize if elected.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find your polling place head to http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us or call Dakota County Elections and Voting at 651-438-4305.

Susan Gliva

Gliva, 49, of Inver Grove Heights, is a financial controller at Digital DataVoice Corp. in Mendota Heights.

She is married to Keith Gliva and earned a bachelor's degree from Augsburg College where she studied accounting and finance.

Gliva has over 20 years of finance and accounting experience in both large corporations and small businesses, and says that knowledge is helpful on a school board.

"I understand the need to stay on budget and to get the most out of the resources that are available," Gliva said. "I know how to investigate opportunities for saving money."

According to Gliva, the main challenge the district is facing is the achievement gap as it relates to students' race and household income.

"Statistics indicate that in part, the gap can be related to socioeconomic and family conditions," Gliva said. "I'd like to see parents really understand how important their involvement is when it comes to educating their child."

As a current member of the school board, Gliva said after redefining the district's mission and core values, she'd like the opportunity to see the process through and to measure the progress.

Rachel Hanson

Hanson, 27, of Inver Grove Heights, is a program support staff member in the School of Nursing at Metropolitan State University.

She is married to Nathan Hanson and has a bachelor's degree in gender studies from Metropolitan State University.

Hanson served as the northeast regional representative on the governing board of the Minnesota State College Student Association from 2008 to 2009 and then as treasurer from 2009 to 2010. She is currently serving on the board of Minnesota State College Alumni Association.

According to Hanson, one of the top challenges the school district faces is funding from the state and federal levels.

"As funding for primary and secondary schools fall, our ability to provide a world-class education to our students will be challenged," Hanson said. "However, I believe that the current school board has done an exceptional job in serving our students and I look forward to continuing that tradition."

If she is elected, Hanson said she would focus her energy on making students feel safe and secure.

"It is critical that our school district creates a space where all students, regardless of their background, can learn in a safe and supportive environment."

Bill Klein

Klein, 67, of Inver Grove Heights, is a retired teacher and school administrator.

He is married to Rhonda Klein and studied elementary and secondary school administration at the University of St. Thomas.

Klein said he has taught and administrated at all grade levels, and has experience that ranges from in-classroom teaching to serving on half a dozen boards, committees, councils and clubs, in addition to serving 20 years on the Inver Grove Heights City Council.

One challenge Klein foresees for the district is the issue of unforecastable enrollment, year to year, and how it influences the use of the district's budget. He also said technology and busing are issues that need to be addressed.

Klein said that if he is elected, he would work to "maintain a balanced budget and make sure that we cooperate with other educational stake holders in our area... to make sure that the education offered to our students is meeting their needs so that students will be well trained for their future."

Mathias Schaefer

Schaefer, 38, of Inver Grove Heights, is a senior business development analyst at CHS Inc.

He is married to Mary Beth Schaefer and attended Gustavus Adolphus College where he earned a bachelor's degree in organizational management.

"Inver Grove Heights is where I live, work and play," Schaefer said. "My children are in grades five and six and have been going to schools in this district longer that we have been living here, that's how much these schools mean to me and my family."

He has more that 14 years of experience in accounting and business development at CHS Inc. and has spent more than two years as the treasurer of the Salem Hills Elementary PTSA. He was also appointed to the Inver Grove Heights Housing Committee this year.

"With my work and volunteer experience, I feel I can bring both an analytical and common sense approach to the position," Schaefer said.

According to Schaefer, one of the biggest challenges the district is facing is continuing to improve student achievement, which includes bridging gaps between different demographics, he said.

"Making sure that the different voices are heard and acknowledged goes a long way," he said.

Sherry Warrick

Warrick, 51, of Inver Grove Heights, volunteers in the community, has 20 years of teaching experience and has three children.

She is married to Daniel Warrick and holds a master's degree in education from the University of San Antonio in Texas. She also studied education as an undergraduate student at Buena Vista University in Iowa.

"From stretching our limited dollars to addressing the effects of poverty and the achievement gap, I have the knowledge and background to continue to be an effective board member," Warrick said.

"My approach to leadership starts with listening — to parents, students, staff — then assembling those thoughts and ideas into thoughtful strategic action." 

Some of the challenges Warrick sees in the district include the continuation of figuring out where tax dollars go, the achievement gap, and ensuring ongoing construction projects get done well and on budget.

"Topping the list for me is to ensure every citizen of our school district, whether they have students in our schools or not, feel their input is important, invited and valued," she said.

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at twitter.com/JPooleNews.


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