Editor’s note: Ahead of the November 2 election, the Times-Republican sent out questionnaires to all of the declared candidates in the city council, mayoral and school board races. We will print responses from one candidate per day in the city council and school board races this week in alphabetical order.
In the school board race, Karina Hernandez is the lone incumbent seeking re-election, and Bonnie Lowry is seeking to serve the remaining two years of her term after being appointed to fill a vacancy. Melissa Nine is also running to fill the two-year term against Lowry, and Hernandez, Rebecca Kouang, Leah Stanley and Zachary Wahl are competing for a total of three seats.
Profession: Financial Advisor — Edward Jones Investments
Education: Briar Cliff University (Sioux City), Double Major in Business Administration and Human Resources, Minor in Marketing, Pilot’s License
Family: Wife — Lindsey Wahl — Graduated from Briar Cliff University with Social Work Degree. Four kids — Kailer (8), Elliana (7), Madalynn (5), Evelyn (2), two dogs — Bailey and Benji.
Experience: My expertise is finances, and I have leadership experience. I volunteer as a coach with MFL Football, Youth Softball, YMCA youth activities, Oktemberfest and Plan / Organize a Hat & Mitten drive for youth in the community.
1. What do you feel are the top two most important issues the Marshalltown Community School District will be facing during your term as a school board member? How do you plan to address those issues? By changing the way we work, teach, and learn, we need to enhance the technology in the classroom to reflect the current climate. If students are not at school, they should have access to remote learning. We live in a changing world where remote learning is necessary to provide real-life experience for secondary education or the workforce. We need to fund technology so that our children will not be left behind.
Communication & engagement are areas important to my wife and me. As parents, we want to make sure communication and engagement are priorities. Effective communication is critical for the success of the Marshalltown School District. Unfortunately, the engagement with parents in the school district is low. As a school district, we need to find a way to get families more involved.
2. What can the MCSD board do to help with the high number of students open enrolling into other area schools? This issue comes down to marketing. As a school district, we need to do a better job at marketing “what makes Marshalltown School District the best in this area.” New parents and new residents need to be presented with all the opportunities our school district provides and the pride we have within Marshalltown.
As a school district, we have already started differentiating ourselves from other schools by providing Marshalltown Virtual Academy, which offers a flexible school schedule and personalized learning. We are one of a few schools in Iowa accredited with this virtual academy.
3. Student safety and parental trust was put into question with allegations of sexual misconduct against MCSD staff members. Some training has been provided and some new policy introduced since the incidents. In your view, is that enough? What further steps should be taken to address these issues? Families should expect that their children will be in a protected environment that is safe from sexual misconduct. It’s tragic when educators betray the trust of students and their families.
It is very critical that we have resources in place to review these policies. In addition, we live in a changing world with a more online presence.
Along with establishing a child protection team of educators, board members, coaches, and administrators, ongoing training and continuously reviewing policies with educators and students is essential.
4. Has MCSD been effective in COVID-19 mitigation? What’s gone well and what still needs to change? The school board recently decided to enforce face masks on PK — 6 students and staff. This decision could change again at a higher court level decision. The school board at the last meeting recommended reviewing this policy when vaccines become available to children; at that point, I believe it should be a parental choice.
5. Why do you think voters should support your candidacy for school board? My family is proud to attend Marshalltown School District–a place for our children to get a great education and be challenged to be better role models in society. We have 4 children, 3 that attend Hoglan Elementary and 1 still at home. As a business and property owner in the community, I am committed to the Marshalltown School District. I will serve the Marshalltown School District with my financial background, skills, and leadership. My passion is my family. I want to provide my family and community a place where the Marshalltown School District can thrive and be a valuable asset to recruit new families and businesses to Marshalltown.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox