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Fowler Public Schools Board Member 4 -Year Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Fowler school board

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  • Renee Hufnagel

  • Lori A. Miller

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    Jason J. Smith

  • Christopher S. Thelen

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for school board? Please mention any experience or background that makes you particularly qualified to serve.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you propose to address them? Which issue is your top priority?

If budget cuts become necessary during your term, what would you be willing to sacrifice?

If necessary to meet budget constraints, would you support closing a school building?

Are you satisfied with the academic achievement in your district? Why or why not?

Are you satisfied with the facilities in your district? Why or why not?

Are you satisfied with the performance of your superintendent? Why or why not?

Are you current in all tax, alimony and child support obligations? If not, please explain.

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Hometown Fowler, MI
Education Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University, majoring in Chemical Engineering.
Family Parents: Ed and Linda Smith Wife: Cari Smith Three sons: Tristan, Quentin and Kaedyn
Professional Experience Employed by the State of Michigan since graduating from MSU in 1999.
Political Experience Numerous volunteer positions, but no real 'Political Experience'.
With three sons now in the Fowler school system, I've decided that I would like to take a more active role in their scholastic upbringing. I want to make sure that they have the best educational opportunities that a healthy, forward-looking school budget will allow. With a wife that has been a teacher for more than 16 years, including time spent on school improvement and bargaining teams, I feel that I have a solid sounding board for ideas, as well as a wealth of knowledge to tap into when I'm looking for different perspectives on issues.
I think the three biggest issues facing our school today are as follows (in order of priority): 1. Unstable school funding - the antiquated funding formula, combined with habitual tweaking by politicians, combines for an unsteady building block for most schools. 2. Confrontational Political Climate - I would like to make sure the school is set up so that the spiteful lawmaking and revenge politics so popular today can have a minimal impact on the school's well-being. 3. Looking to the Future - I would like to get away from the 'It was good enough for me, it's good enough for these kids' mentality. Technology and education have advanced greatly, we should do the same.
In a budget cut situation, I believe everything should be on the table. Not doing so requires you to prioritize twice, once to decide what's untouchable and then again to decide what needs cutting. Taking a look at everything at once simplifies the process and lets everyone know that they're on an even playing field. Only when everything is open for change can you get a real feel for what people think is important.
In such a small school district, this question isn't really applicable. With only one Elementary School, one Middle School, and one High School the options for closing a building are rather limited.
The academic achievements of our school district are phenomenal. For me, this item would be a matter of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Year after year our schools have produced impressive test scores, along with notable post-graduation results. Whether it's college, trade school, the military, or an immediate career...our school is well represented in every category.
We have very good facilities, but again, I don't want to settle for the status quo. I want to make sure the kids have great opportunities and are well prepared for whatever they want to do after High School. I feel like with sensible planning and careful consideration, opportunities brought about by expanded facilities are definitely a possibility. I don't like to think that a small enrollment should equal limited opportunities. If I feel like it would benefit the school, I would look positively towards it.
I think our Superintendent has done a great job. He, as well as the current school board, have succeeded in taking the school through one of it's most challenging times in history. And throughout they've managed to maintain the high expectations of the community, both in academics and extracurricular activities. Recent history within our school's administration has shown what can be done when everyone works together, even if they're approaching from different directions.
Yes, I am current in all tax obligations. Fortunately I do not have any alimony or child support obligations. Hopefully this undertaking will not change that...
Home address Fowler, MI
Hometown Fowler
Education Bachelor's Degree- Commercial Recreation and Business Administration Secondary Science Teacher Certificate Masters Degree in Education Curriculum and Assessment
Family Wife- Becky Children- Jackson, Sophia, Ruby, and Owen
Professional Experience High School Educator, Youth Service Worker (Juvenile Rehabilitation Center), Activities Director- Retirement Community
I feel this is an engaging way to get involved in the community and hopefully I can help in keeping Fowler Public School's a great place for children to learn and grow. I feel my experience as an educator can be a positive for the board as I can provide an educator's perspective as well as one from a community member in decisions.
In my perspective Fowler Public Schools as well as schools from across the state are fighting the same battles. The three biggest areas I feel are; increases in class sizes, lack of funding, and changes in laws, standards, and expectations put forth by governing bodies. These are difficult issues to remedy because you can only control what you can control. In order to tackle these issues, I would have to be better versed in what has been done in regards to these issues in the past. Of these, my top priority would be to find ways improve class sizes which goes hand-in-hand with funding.
Schools are academic institutions, so cutting teachers would be at the bottom. I would have to evaluate all areas of the budget to assess what could be cut or reduced. In short, items tied directly to student academic success would have to stay a top priority.
No
Yes. Fowler Public Schools has been a strong academic institution and I feel that the bonds teachers make with students are long-lasting and authentic which help lead to greater success in the classroom.
For being a smaller district I feel the facilities are solid, but could be improved. There are probably issues in the infrastructure that either need to be addressed or will need to be in the near future.
Yes and No. I feel when faced with difficult decisions, a superintendent and school board are forced to make choices that nobody wants to make, but need to. In the end, I feel he has the district's best interest mind and tries to keep everything moving in the right direction. Whenever a decision impacts the lives of families (children), the community, and schools, people are going to be passionate and have differing opinions and rationale, so you will never be able to satisfy everyone.
Yes

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