Four candidates are running in the District 197 (West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan) School Board Election this year. There are three open spots on the board.
Patch asked the candidates about their experience, connection to the district and about the issues that they would focus on. Here is the response from Stephanie Levine.
What leadership experience do you have?
I am a leader in the schools, district and wider community. With 13 years of PTA board service, I have served in many roles including treasurer. I became involved at the district level 3 years ago when I took on a key leadership role in the successful campaign to pass our district levy. Since then, I have served on a number of district wide committees including the SRAC (Strategic Redesign Advisory Committee), the Facilities Utilization Committee, the Parent Ambassador Network and the Facilities Task Force. In the wider community, I sit on a number of nonprofit boards including the board of directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. I am currently the chair of the Mendota Heights Parks and Recreation Commission.
What other relevant experience do you have?
My professional training as an actuary, complemented by the wide range of my volunteer experience, make me well qualified for a position on the school board. As an actuary, I understand data, statistics and fact-based decision making. I also understand budgets and finances. My volunteer experience in the schools has given me knowledge and appreciation of each of our schools as well as the district as a whole. My service on nonprofit boards has given me an understanding of governance, policy, evaluation and consensus building. As a parent of a 2013 graduate, I have insight into the ways we can best prepare our students so they are successful through and beyond high school.
What is your occupation?
I am an actuary.
Where did you go to school?
I received a BS (Bachelor of Science) from the University of WI – Madison in Mathematics and a MS (Master’s Degree) from the University of Minnesota in Mathematics
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
I have a husband, Jimmy, and we have 3 children. Our daughters are in 9th and 11th grade at Henry Sibley High School and our son graduated Henry Sibley in June and is now a college freshman. Our children also attended Mendota Elementary and Friendly Hills Middle School.
What is your connection to District 197?
I am passionate about public education and care deeply about having great schools in our community. I have lived in this district with my family since 1991 and am truly inspired by our supportive community, engaged families, bright students and some of the most amazing teachers I have ever met!
What issues are you most focused on?
I am most focused on increasing student achievement. In all aspects of education we need to serve the varied needs of our learners. We must leverage technology, invest in best practices, build relationships in the wider community and personalize learning in order to bring out the best in all of our students and to close the achievement gap.
Why should voters choose you?
I will bring an important perspective, skill set and voice to the school board. In an ever changing world, we will be successful only if we change and adapt to varying conditions. With a 2013 graduate and two more children graduating in the next 4 years, I will bring real-time understanding as to how we can best prepare our students so that they are able to pursue their dreams after graduation. In addition, I bring the perspective of a parent who has been involved in the district from early learning (ECFE) through high school. I will bring a wide variety of skills to the board gained through my work in both the private and nonprofit sectors. I will represent the residents of our district and the best interests of our students. I feel that my experience, commitment and passion for our schools makes me a strong candidate for the school board. I would be proud to earn your vote on November 5! Feel free to learn more by visiting my web site www.stephanielevine4schoolboard.net.