Voters in Woodbine will select two school board candidates Tuesday from a field of four vying for a chance to represent them on the Woodbine Community School District Board of Directors.
The Twiner-Herald asked each of the candidates to respond to a questionnaire. Their answers were published in the Thursday edition of the newspaper.
The Daily Nonpareil edited their responses into this article to provide a short introduction to each candidate.
Voting will be at the Sacred Hearth Parish Center from noon to 8 p.m. Incumbents Michael Jensen and Darin Smith aren’t seeking re-election. Instead, Mark Erickson, Douglas McElwain, Martin Murdock and Amber D. Nelson are running for the seats.
A full-time farmer, Erickson wants to address the uncertainties facing Woodbine and curb the desire of some in the community to attend school elsewhere.
“I believe the biggest concern our district is facing is folks wanting their children in other districts,” he said. “I want to have folks envious of our great programs.”
Erickson said he wants to serve on the school board because of the importance of his children’s education.
“As a parent to students in the district, I believe their achievements will be how I will measure my own success,” he said. “I’d like to be on the Board of Education in order to share the vision and goals of the district and give voice to concerns that impact us all.”
Growing up next to the Woodbine Community School, McElwain wants to serve as a role model for students.
“While growing up in Woodbine, I had to deal with severe hearing loss,” he said. “I was kept in the classroom with my fellow students who had normal hearing. I managed to persevere and graduated with my class. It is important to give these students some hope while they are preparing for the future after graduation.”
Among his goals, he listed representing the interest of school employees and expanding vocational education. The biggest challenge, he said, is maintaining the district’s financial health — which faces declining state support for school districts.
“I think expanded vocational education training opportunities would be a good avenue to pursue,” he said. “Technology and business is always expanding, and students need training and education so that they can take advantage of what’s new.”
An owner of four area auto parts stores, Murdock is interested in bringing more organization to the district.
“The strength of our school has always been in the people,” he said. “While I feel the teachers we have are some of the best around, I feel we could be more proactive earlier in the (hiring) process to ensure we are getting the best teachers available.”
Murdock said wants to see state funding maintained, as well as see how Woodbine can maximize available funding opportunities. He said students need more opportunities to prepare them for life, suggesting that the district look at offering classes in welding, auto repair and personal finance.
“My desire to serve on the Woodbine Board of Education stems from a desire to give back to the community,” he said. “I have a lot to give to the board to make sure that we are doing what is best for the students and teachers, while also making sure we are good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”
A former school board member, Nelson wants to see Woodbine do what it can to keep students enrolled in the district and not leaving for other schools.
“I believe that Woodbine’s biggest strength is that we have a strong sense of self-worth as a school district,” she said. “I would love for my kids to graduate from WCS and for our school to retain its autonomy.”
Nelson said the city and the school district need to have a strong working relationship. She said the school needs clear policies to help improve accountability.
“I have always had the desire to serve,” she said. “I believe that is when I am happiest and operating at my best — when I am helping others.”