Nine candidates on Wayzata Schools ballot

Voters in the Wayzata School District will have a gaggle of candidates to choose from when they hit the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Nine candidates came forward during the two-week filing period, which wrapped up Aug. 13.

The candidates that filed for office are Andrea Cuene, Derek Diesen, Dan Haugen, Sarah Johansen, David Lloyd, Chris McCullough, Phil Napier, Bill Pritchard and Ted Victor.

Not among those who filed for office were incumbents Susan Droegemueller, Susan Gaither and John Moroz, whose current terms all expire at the end of the year.

With no incumbents seeking re-election, 3 of the 7 board seats will be held by first-time members when the board reconvenes in January.

The Sun Sailor attempted to contact each of the nine candidates seeking comment as to why they are running for office. Andrea Cuene could not be contacted before this edition of the Sun Sailor went to print.

More in-depth election coverage will be included in the Sun Sailor’s Voter’s Guide prior to Election Day.

Derek Diesen
I believe that all children deserve an excellent education. We have the tools, technology, funding and incredibly engaged teachers. What I would like to do is make it easy for them to teach in a positive, rewarding environment that drives growth and success.

With three children in the Wayzata school district I have had the privilege to witness the inter workings of early literacy instruction, special education, Vision 21 and advanced placement classes.

I have also had the opportunity to serve in a number of roles through my children’s activities including coaching baseball, managing several Destination Imagination teams, volunteering at Sunset Hill as a hallway reader, etc. My passion is education.
I have a child with a learning disability, and a child in advanced placement classes. After years of study I consider myself a literacy advocate. I believe that my personal situation gives me a depth of understanding and a unique perspective that could benefit the school board.

Dan Haugen
I have chosen to register as a candidate because I believe my background prepares me to contribute to the ongoing development of an already excellent school district.

In my professional life I have directed health care-social service and higher education organizations for nearly 25 years. Together with these leadership roles I have taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses for nearly 30 years. I have also published children’s literature.

In my personal life, I have served and continue to serve on numerous nonprofit and community boards and councils, I have coached youth sports in Plymouth and Wayzata for approximately 20 years and I have volunteered in numerous other community organizations.

My wife and I have already guided two adult children through the Wayzata school system and our third child is currently enrolled in Wayzata High School.

As 26-year residents of Plymouth, each of our children has benefited greatly from Wayzata Schools. I believe I can contribute Wayzata Public Schools in a variety of ways. As the district continues to grow in size and diversity I would like to help in identifying ways we can build upon our effectiveness in serving each and every student and their families.

I would also like to help in the ongoing development of student support services — for example, the expansion of school counseling and other services that support students’ educational experiences. I would also like to help in evaluating school start-time options that best facilitate students’ success in school.
I have taken the time to speak with several current School Board Members and our Superintendent and believe I will effectively complement them and the important work they are doing.

Sarah Johansen
The next four years promise to be both exciting and challenging for Wayzata.

As a parent of three small children, a resident of the growing northern part of Plymouth and an active volunteer in the district for the past 5 years, I can bring a different and essential perspective to the School Board.

I am balanced, pragmatic and enthusiastic in my work and I am committed to serving our students, our teachers and staff, and our taxpayers.

I know I can help. I would consider it a privilege to be a part of this new growth in size and scope as the Wayzata school district continues to be a model of excellence.

David Lloyd
Our district faces challenges to manage smart growth and inconsistent state decision making while providing a sustainable future and dynamic education to our terrific students. I represent an opportunity to more fully engage our community beyond direct stakeholders and encourage sustainable allocation of District resources.

Education from pre-K to grade 12 and your commitment to your family are the backbones of our society. Yet, we all have to allocate our resources wisely, strategically and not over rely on debt. I enthusiastically ask for your vote on November 5th.

Chris McCullough
I am running for the Wayzata School Board because my two daughters are at East Middle School and it is very important for me as a parent that the Wayzata schools continue to be excellent not just for my family, but for the whole community.

Over the years, I have served on a number of School District, Birchview, and Wayzata Family Learning Center committees and feel that those experiences, along with my collaborative and fair-minded approach to issues, would help me make a real difference if I am elected.

From my involvement on the Citizens Financial Advisory Council and the Task Force on Facilities, I am familiar with the issues we face as a School District. If elected, I would approach those issues as I always have – by listening, understanding the different perspectives, analyzing the options, collaborating and offering guidance or making a decision.

If I am elected, I look forward to the opportunity to draw upon my unique experiences and skills to help the School Board continue the Wayzata School District’s tradition of excellence.

Phil Napier
The easiest way to express my reasons to run for school board is this: as a father of two young children about to start their passage through the Wayzata schools, I aim to keep Wayzata School District among the best in the state, and if possible improve the schools’ performance.

As a means of accomplishing this goal I want to join the Board to make sure it continues to support the students and teachers in their education and ongoing growth process, working hand-in-hand with residents of the district, keeping policies and curricula up to date and budgets appropriate. Simply put, I don’t want there to be any barriers between the children of our district and a “best-of-the-best” quality education.

Bill Pritchard
I have resided in Plymouth and within the Wayzata School District for the past 24 years. My wife Cathy and I have two sons. My eldest son, recently graduated from college and my younger son is in the 5th grade within the District. I have a degree in Planning and Business Administration from Mankato State University.

I work in the Financial Service industry as a investment representative advisor with Prudential Insurance Company of America. Prior to my current career, I was in the homebuilding and development business for over 20 years.

Wayzata Public School is known for its reputation of excellent of education to each and every student and is fortunate of having a sound financial condition. I decided to seek a position on the School Board not to change that, but to maintain and hopefully to improve on what previous Wayzata School Boards’ have achieved.

As I look beyond 2014, how to manage the growth within the District and maintain the quality of education will be a challenge. As a stake holder within the District, I hope that my financial background and business experiences will continue that tradition of Wayzata School’s excellent and financial stability.

Ted Victor
My personal history with Wayzata Public Schools spans nearly 50 years.  I have been involved with the District as a student, parent, resident, and volunteer.  My wife, my three daughters and I all attended and graduated from Wayzata Schools.

Our education was exceptional and I am dedicated to ensuring that our District’s goal continues to be long-term excellence in education and preparedness for the 21st century.

I have watched the District expand and develop from three schools to its current size of eleven schools. The strain on the District’s school facilities is increasing due to the new home construction in the northwest quadrant of the district, the legislative approved funding of all day kindergarten starting in 2015 and the expanding student population in our high school.

In addition, we need to consider the potential increase in student population from the large number of childless or retired homeowners that may be selling their properties to new families that want to move into this remarkable school system.

We need to plan and prepare for the pressure this growth may place on our elementary and middle schools without compromising our educational quality and standards.

As a district volunteer, I am currently on the Citizen Financial Advisory Council and the Other Post Employment Benefits Committee. I have served on CFAC more than 20 years beginning when the District was in statutory deficit.  I have also served on the Community Taskforce on Facility Committee. This work has prepared me to become a dedicated school board member and civil servant.

I am committed to helping the District continue its responsible fiscal policies, promoting and supporting the best curriculums and instructional strategies, facing the challenges of continued growth, and maintaining our academic excellence.

Contact Jared Huizenga at jared.huizenga@ecm-inc.com

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