10/30/2012 3:25:00 PM Hayfield School Board
file to fill four open seats
By Tara Lindquist
Hayfield School Board has four seats that are up for re-election this year, the two incumbents Craig Pesch and Kathy Hegna Zelinske have filed to run again. Four others have also filed to run, Lisa Bungum, Kelly Caspers, Doug Waldner and Christopher Ebling. Kelly Caspers could not be reached by press time.
Current school board member, Craig Pesch is running for his second term on the board.
"I decided to run four years ago to get involved with the district and to try to make it a better school district," Pesch explained.
If re-elected Pesch said his main goals are to keep to the district financially stable and up to date on technology. "Keeping up with the computers and the use of the Smart boards in classrooms is important," he said. "It helps keep the kids moving in the right direction, I would also like to explore the iPad program that other schools are doing."
Pesch grew up in Hayfield and graduated from Hayfield High School. His oldest, Carissa, graduated last year and his son Carter is a junior. "I want to see the district succeed in all areas," he continued. "Academics, sports, and from a financial standpoint. It's a good district and I want to keep it that way."
The biggest challenge Pesch foresees in the next four years is trying to keep the school financially sound while dealing with a declining enrollment problem. "The enrollment numbers is a big issue we are losing money when we lose students I want to help find a way to keep students in the district."
Kathy Hegna Zelinske
Kathy is running for her fourth term on the school board. "I'm running for another term based on my experience as a board member and my love for this district and the Hayfield area," she explained.
Kathy and her husband Heath have lived in the area for twenty years and have four children and three grandchildren. The three oldest children, Kara, JayDe and Keefe all still live in the Hayfield area. Their youngest son, Jacoby is 16 and a junior at Hayfield High School. "All of our kids have continued to have an active role in our school district even now that they are adults," she said. "They see the importance of all of us investing our time in the district as well as the community."
Through the four terms she has served on the board, Kathy admits they have been through a lot. Getting out of Statutory Operating Deficit and pulling out and ahead of that ahead of schedule. "I have witnessed firsthand how hard it is to make cuts to balance the budget, I believed that it takes time and experience to learn your role as a school board member."
Going forward Kathy feels it is important to focus on the advancement in technology at the schools. "Our children will have a different way of life than we do," she said. "They will see and experience things that we never thought possibility and it is our responsibility to give them the tools to be ready for this." She is focusing on getting iPads in the school for each of the kids. She knows it is a huge financial undertaking for the district but feels the benefits for the staff and the students far outweigh the costs. "Every financial decision must be weighed heavily and talked through thoroughly as a team."
Throughout the past 12 years on the school board, Kathy has seen many school board members come and go. "The students come first in every decision that we make we have to ask each other before the decision is made, if it's really good for the kids," she said. "I have had the great honor with working with a fantastic school administration and staff and the community needs to know how very fortunate we are to have these people in their roles."
Kathy said she feels blessed to have been a part of that group for many years and hopes to have another four years.
Ebling grew up in Hayfield and graduated in 2004, he moved to Rochester for a few years and started a family. "I moved back to Hayfield to have my kids in the Hayfield school district," he explained.
Christopher and his wife Crystal have four children, Thea, 8, Miya, 4, Damarcus, 3, and Hayden, 1. He has worked at the Mayo Clinic for the past nine years in the IT department. "While my wife and I lived in Rochester we always talked about wanting to move to a smaller school district to raise our kids," he explained. "Hayfield was a perfect fit for us as I grew up here and I enjoyed what the school district had to offer." He pointed out the district has a great group of teachers, small family-like community, and his kids would enjoy many of the same teachers he had growing up. "When I made the decision to run for school board the number one thing on mind was being able to give back to the school district which I was a product of."
If elected to the board, he hopes to be a pathway for parents to voice their opinions and ask what changes parents want to see for the district? "As a parent myself, I understand the value of a quality education for our children and I will do everything in my power to influence a setting where our children are able to get the best education and gain the most from the experience."
If given the opportunity to be on the school board, he would like to see small changes made and with time understand the long-term effects on the district. "Being the change for one child and helping that child succeed in their education, and ultimately their life, is a win/win situation," he said. "I strongly believe in the school system and the teachers in it and I want to be a part of that. I am proud to raise my children in a community where I know peoples' names and trust they will get a quality education in our district."
Douglas Waldner PhD
Doug has lived in Hayfield for four years with his wife Melanie and children, Derek, Cassandra, Sophia, Christian and Diezel. He works as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis on infectious diseases.
Waldner is running for school board because he would like to ensure that the needs of the students are at the foremost end of the table. He wants to form relationships and communication channels with teachers and assist them in acquiring all the tools they require to give the students the best education possible.
If elected, he would like to see more money spent on students who are high achievers. "So much money is invested on the "No Child Left Behind" Act that I'd like to work with our district and surrounding districts to come up with ideas to see the students that excel in the classroom be challenged to new heights."
He would also like to increase grant applications that can be applied for at the federal and state levels along with grants given by corporations. "There are several green energy grants that are awarded- assisting in the installation and updates, along with grants that pay out according to the amount of energy being produced by renewable energy projects; like the Renewable Energy Generation Grant."
He would also push for more community involvement in the districts education system. "Parents with children need to have an interest in how the district performs. In addition, those adults that don't have children need to begin or continue their involvement with the district," he explained. He would also like to see better communication throughout the district.
He would also like to increase community interaction through public forums which provide the community with knowledge of what the school district is planning and or intends on pursuing with the ability to hear from the community within a formal setting. "I would also like to create a marketing plan that focuses on retention of students in the district and drawing students to the district," he said. "We need to develop ways to communicate the positive features of Hayfield."
Waldner feels that the district needs to continue to develop and focus more on the educational performance of students, which includes high expectations for all students; as well as provide more flexibility for the school board and educators in how instruction is provided. "I know that I am a candidate that can assist in making the correct changes," he said. "I look forward to your vote."
Lisa Bungum has been involved with the school district for many years. She has four children, Evan, Johanna, Brooke and Erik but it was her growing concern over the school's state test scores, and communication, that made her decide to run for school board.
"I'm passionate about making sure our kids in the community can have the best opportunity at an education as possible," she explained. "We need to strive to be the best district around, and always try to be better at what we do for the kids."
If elected, she would like to empower parents, teachers, students and administration to work together. "I think administration makes decisions with out parental and student input," she explained. "I think everyone needs to work together to make sure that everyone has a full understanding of the changes that are taking place." The new grading system is one issue she pointed out is not necessarily a bad change just one that was put into place without everyone fully understand how it would work. "As a board member I would look at the broad picture and the impact on the people involved before voting yes or no."
Lisa also thinks it's important for the board members to support teachers and students to work together to make the best decisions possible. "When it comes to educating kids there are four huge influences, the teachers, the parents, the student and the administration," she said. "For kids to be successful they all have to work together to ensure that it happens."