Four candidates are competing for three openings on the Independent School District 623 Board of Education. We asked the candidates about themselves and what they see as the greatest challenge facing Roseville Area Schools.
Todd Anderson is a 15-year resident of Roseville. He has served as president of the Parent Teacher Association at Brimhall Elementary School and as a member of the school district advisory committee and is currently vice chair of the Roseville Area Schools Foundation. He also is a member of the Roseville Ethics Commission.
“This school district has aging facilities that have served us well but clearly need a face lift and/or renovation,” says Anderson. “We also have buildings that are packed tightly and lacking space. If elected, one of my priorities will be to work closely with fellow board members and school district staff to come up with a physical infrastructure plan to address the needs of our school district facilities.”
Erin Azer is seeking re-election to the school board, which she currently chairs. She is a gubernatorial appointee to the State Board of Teaching and a member of the Falcon Heights Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. She also served as a Roseville Parks commissioner from 2010 to 2014. Azur teaches eighth-grade language arts at Skyview Middle School.
“It is imperative that we differentiate instruction to the strengths of all students and provide opportunities where those strengths can flourish,” Azer says. “Additionally, the schools need to continue to make strides in recruiting, hiring and retaining teachers of color. Finally we need to offer meaningful staff development, training and support so our teachers and building staff can inspire, challenge, connect and elevate the learning of all students.
“Another challenge in District 623 is our aging facilities. A facility review and plan will be essential in the near future.”
Mike Boguszewski says the Roseville school district has a deserved reputation for quality education and educational options. He was one of a group of parents who helped transfer Harambee Elementary School into the district. He chairs the Roseville Planning Commission and serves on the long-range planning committee of the Minnesota Make-A-Wish Foundation. Boguszewski is a director with the HealthPartners Care System.
“We must work innovatively to close the ‘achievement gap’ in our increasingly diverse communities,” Boguszewski says. “We must deal with facilities that are becoming older, or are at capacity and overcrowded. We must give our teachers the support they need to reach and teach kids as individuals, in a system that emphasizes standardized tests and Common Core approaches. In today’s uncertain funding climate, we must fight to influence legislators when possible, and promote initiatives that use dollars wisely both in the classroom and that foster parent/family engagement.”
Bob Murray served in the U.S. military, then worked in the missionary field before starting a commercial and residential cleaning business that he ran for nearly 20 years. He is an active supporter of the Lao Family of Minnesota and has participated in the Hmong Freedom Celebration and International Sports Festival for many years.
“We need to unlock the doors of success with the key of proficiency in English grammar and composition,” says Murray. “We first teach our children how to speak orally phonetically, not with an iPad. Verbal communication skills are appearing to be a lost art.
“Stop relying on technology as the magical cure for everything. There is nothing wrong with teaching techniques such as phonics or composition skills. The main point is to encourage and to communicate this with parents as partners in the education process along with our excellent teaching staff,” Murray says.