Hometown: Stratford, WI/Seattle, WA
Lived in the district since: 2010
Family: Husband (Josh), Two sons: Colton (13) and Marshall (8)
Occupation: Marketing and business development for restoration and sustainable development practices at an environmental engineering company based in Seattle (telecommute from my home)
Employer/job title: Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc./marketing manager
Political experience: SASD board of education since May 2018
Other notable affiliations: endorsed by Stoughton Education Association; Stoughton Area Democrats and Progressives; Wisconsin Progress and South Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Why are you running again?
I hope to continue to collaborate with the current SASD board of education to move forward several initiatives. My focus areas are increasing enrollment, improving our district image, prioritizing student mental health, innovation and creativity, and ensuring all students have the tools they need to meet and exceed state standards.
What are the Stoughton school board’s most pressing challenges/opportunities in the next five years?
State funding reductions since 2012 have been and will likely continue to be a major challenge. When you add enrollment decline and teacher shortages – it will become increasingly difficult to attract more families while meeting the diverse social/emotional needs of students faced with increased poverty, trauma and mental health challenges.
How should the board respond to the budget deficit the district faces in the very near future?
We are fortunate that our community has supported our district financially through donations and levies in the past and we have had great success in obtaining grants – we need to continue to evaluate new and existing funding opportunities and continue to collaborate with district administration to maximize our resources.
How can cooperation with the city help the school board, particularly in terms of bringing younger families into the district?
Enrollment decline is a serious issue for our district AND our local economy. We need to talk to our young families about what they like about Stoughton and what they think would bring additional families to the district. This information is critical to guiding district/city actions, improvements and priorities.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of as a school board member?
In my 10 months of service we have developed a plan for obtaining input from the community about bringing more young families to Stoughton, improved school safety, increased school mental health support, and maintained positive board/staff collaboration which will allow us to address future challenges as a cohesive team.