During the 2019-20 school year, JoDee Altmann opted to get more involved as a parent with students in the Redwood Area School District. So, she joined the site council.

For Altmann, who has four children in the local school district, getting involved as a member of the site council was one way she could offer input. The site council was a good start for Altmann, but it was not the end.

According to Altmann, she was approached by an individual who told her that there was a vacancy on the school board, and they asked her if she would ever be interested in serving in that leadership role.

So, Altmann applied for the open seat, and she was then elected by the current board members in June.

After a 30-day period for public input regarding the election, Altmann will officially take her seat as a member of the Redwood Area Board of Education during the regular meeting held later this month. 

In what other leadership roles has Altmann served?

According to Altmann, “people who know or are familiar with our family are aware that our family is very involved in 4-H. As far as leadership experience, I have been involved with being the leader of our individual 4-H club, I am partnered and act as superintendent of the 4-H rabbit barn during the county fair, I have gotten more involved in 4-H at the county level and act as an adult leader for the county ambassadors, which is a group of 4-H members in grades seven through 12 from across the county.”

Altmann is also a member of the Redwood County 4-H Federation advisory board and she and husband, Mike, sit on the Redwood County 4-H livestock committee.

“In my professional nursing career I have been active in ‘shared governance’ at my past and current employment,” added Altmann. “This is a leadership committee within the facility and department specific that takes problems identified by peers, researches them, validates the issue, searches for solutions, discusses and implements problem-solving ideas and then re-evaluates.”

Altmann acts in the leadership role, as unit supervisor, within the ED and ICU departments in addition to providing direct patient care.

For Altmann, at this time the biggest issue is getting the children back to school and involved in their favorite activities safely.

“We need to be positive yet rational that the ‘normal’ we had back in January may not exist for a long time, if ever again, and finding a ‘new normal’ is going to take time and patience,” she added.

After having the opportunity to observe one school board meeting and reviewing the notes from past board meetings, Altmann admitted she really had no idea what was involved in being a school board member.

“That being said I love a challenge, I love change and I love to learn,” added Altmann.

Altmann has a senior, a junior, an eighth grader and a sixth grader in the local school district.

In talking with former RASD superintendent Rick Ellingworth and observing the meeting in June, Altmann now believes that the role of school board member “involves reviewing information provided to the board by those individuals involved on a vast variety of committees and groups, be it financial, academic, or recreational. It involves making decisions based on that information that will be in the best interest of the students, teachers, parents and school district as a whole. Knowing that the decision may not be the favored decision and that separating emotion from business is a hard thing to do.”

Altmann added the response that she has received from other board members and school leadership after she was elected to serve has been positive.