Why are you running for school board?
I am running for school board because I want to be more involved in my children’s education. I care about the students, schools, and the community and want to be a part of building a stronger one.
From your perspective, what is the role of a school board member?
I believe the role of a school board member is to put the needs of the students first. In order to do that, we need to be responsive to the values, beliefs, and priorities of the students and people in our community who are entrusting the members of the board to make those decisions. I also believe that as a member of the board, it is important to take into consideration the needs and values of our teachers and staff. They are the ones on the front line, working diligently every day. Often times on their time off, not to mention all the out of pocket expenses they incur to give their students the best they can. Their opinion matters and we need to listen to them when they address their concerns. It is not our job to micromanage and let the administration do their job.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Redwood Area School District? How as a school board member could you help to resolve it?
I think the biggest issue currently is our elementary school needs to be replaced. Our kids have outgrown that current Reede Gray School. Class sizes are getting bigger and there just isn’t enough space to accommodate them all anymore. My youngest child attends school there and it is obvious as a parent that something needs to be done, not just for the students, but for the staff as well. I want better for them and I believe we can make that happen by involving the community and by addressing these concerns, we can make that happen.
Do you believe the Redwood Area School District is heading in the right direction? Why or why not?
I think there is so much that our district is doing right. One being the STEM program. But I also feel we can do so much more. Personally, as a parent whose kids attend Redwood Area School District, my biggest issue is with all the testing they are now having to do in order to meet these state standards. I think they are ridiculous and I know many parents and teachers feel the same way. I get they have to do testing every year. We did when I was a kid, but now it seems excessive and it is putting so much pressure on our kids and our teachers. Teachers can’t even really teach anymore. Their curriculum is mostly based on testing and how they are going to get their kids to improve certain grades from the beginning to the end of the year in order to meet those standards, leaving the teacher stressed if it doesn’t happen and the student to feel like they failed. School shouldn't be about that. How do we remedy that? Speaking to our legislators, addressing those concerns, be a voice for our staff and students. It’s a stretch, I know, but they deserve for us to at least try.
Please provide a brief biography of yourself.
I graduated from Springfield High School in 1996. I traveled with Up With People for a year after that, then worked as a nanny for eight years. I then pursued a degree in Nursing, working as a pediatric home care nurse with kids on tracheostomies and ventilators. My husband, Jon Plaetz, who is a contract painter and runs his own business in the community, and I lived in Hutchinson for 10 years before moving back to Redwood Falls. I have two girls, Valerie who is 13 , and Victoria who is five. Both have been in the Redwood School District since Kindergarten. Valerie is currently in 8th grade, Victoria is in Kindergarten. I decided to leave the nursing profession when I saw a need in the community for Daycare and a desire to be home for my girls. I have been working with kids my entire life, so a desire to be on the school board is just an extension of that. I want the best for my kids and the staff and students in our community.