Redwood Area Board of Education candidates: Matthew Tiffany
Why are you running for school board?
I feel that education is extremely important for our students and as a life-long resident of Redwood Falls I had the chance to receive an excellent education through Redwood Area Schools. I feel a desire to give back to the school district by providing leadership, guidance and vision to help ensure that our current students receive the highest level of education possible, as I feel I did.
From your perspective, what is the role of a school board member?
In my perspective the role of a school board member is to work together with our school staff, other board members and our community to create and implement a plan to address the educational needs of our students. I feel that a school board member needs to provide thoughtful leadership and guidance for our school administration on the direction we feel is best for our students.
How would you as a school board member balance fiscal responsibility and ensuring students receive the services they need?
This is a challenge every business owner, family, church and school face. I would strive to be as efficient as possible with the money that is available to us through state funding, local levies and donations. Prioritizing our needs vs. wants, closely monitoring where our dollars are being spent and understanding the needs of our students are ways that I would help manage our budget.
What do you think is the Redwood Area School District's greatest asset? How would you as a school board member best utilize that asset?
This school district has many great aspects which I think all complement and rely on each other to thrive. They are: our staff, facilities and community. If I had to pick one for our greatest asset I would choose the people that are involved in our district. You can have good facilities, but if you don’t have the right people inside them to guide, nurture and challenge our students you are not providing the best learning environment. I feel our teachers, administration and support staff are second to none and genuinely strive to make a positive difference in our students lives. Another group of people that are extremely important to our district’s success are our community members. Time and time again it is evident that this community supports its schools through passing referendums, volunteering and stepping up when needed. This is a HUGE asset to the school district and often goes unnoticed. The people of our community – our parents, business owners and residents – have made a commitment to education through support for our schools in many ways in the past and will continue to do so I feel. As towns get smaller in rural Minnesota and schools struggle, I feel we stand out as the shining beacon of how a rural town can provide the best educational experience for our students through the constant support from our community.
How would you work to collaborate with other units of government at the local, state and federal level?
As I mentioned above, the school district can’t do this all alone and it relies on help from our community, state and country. I’m excited and proud of the collaboration we have with the city regarding the use of the Community Center, the involvement of the local police and fire departments and other agreements. I feel that working together and exploring all options available for our district through these sources is a great way to provide resources to help our students.
Do you think the school district's current strategic plan is taking the district in the right direction?
The current strategic plan was recently updated and I feel it’s a good plan to provide the education our students need today. As I worked with many others to create that plan, we looked at the career needs for our community, the staffing we had/needed and the overall educational experience we wanted our students to get. The foundation of the plan is to provide a school setting that supports and challenges our students so they can learn and achieve their goals beyond school.
Other than the above topics, what do you think is the school district’s most important issue that needs to be addressed. How would you work to resolve it?
As I listed above, one of our great assets is facilities. It’s also a need for improvement as well, especially regarding our Elementary School. Reede Gray Elementary has been an excellent facility for many years but it is certainly aged and does not fit the needs of our current students and staff. With the current High/Middle School building set to be paid off soon, it is time to move forward with a plan to address the issue with our Elementary facilities. With the appropriate facilities, our staff can best provide the curriculum today to help our students grow into tomorrow’s leaders.
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
I was born and raised in Redwood Falls and currently farm with my father and grandfather. I also run a custom farming business planting, harvesting and conditioning seed. I’m married to my wife Kimary, a nurse at Redwood-Carris Health Hospital, and we have two girls that attend Reede Gray Elementary. I’m active in my church in town, have coached wrestling for Redwood Valley for 17 seasons and substitute teach at our school in the winter. I enjoy volunteering and have served as the president of our FFA Alumni Chapter for many years, was active as a member of our United Way board and currently serve on the SMSU Ag Advisory Committee. I feel a strong desire to help give back to the community I’ve lived in my whole life and I feel this would be a great way to do so.