The official student news site of Edina High School.
  • School Board Candidates
    • Gabe Aderhold
    • Erica Allenburg
    • Chad Bell
    • Faisal Deri
    • Matthew Fox
    • David Goldstein
    • Heidi Hilliker
    • Ellen Jones
    • Matt Loucks
    • Owen Michaelson
    • Lisa O'Brien
    • Chris Tuescher

Twelve Candidates Up for Election to Edina School Board

October 20, 2017

Four out of seven Edina School Board seats are up for election this fall, and 12 candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for the open spots. Along with the School Board vote, Edina voters will also have the opportunity to vote for or against the 2017 Operating Levy. The upcoming referendum vote will be on Nov. 7; early voting started on Sept. 22. Every Edina resident 18 years or older, which includes many Edina High School students, will be able to vote. For more information, both Edina School Board Candidate Forums (Sept. 18 & Oct. 9) can be viewed through the following links.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Kp-4JAPTE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhSJJD9Ogv0

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Gabe Aderhold

Background:

Having lived in Edina for over 22 years and graduated from Edina High School in 2012, Aderhold has been active in local and state politics, advocating for environmental, educational, and socially just causes.

Big issues:

As a candidate, Aderhold’s main issues are addressing growing class sizes, ensuring equity for all EPS students regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, providing greater mental health support for all of our students, and adding student membership to the Board.

Notable quote:

“We must continue to ensure excellence in education, but also work to balance the challenges of a demanding suburban school environment,” Aderhold told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

As the only candidate in the race who brings a recent student’s perspective to the table, Aderhold believes the only way the School District will work for everyone is by working with representatives from all populations, including students. “Who knows best about bullying, academic rigor, life stressors, and what happens throughout the school day that a School Board should know? Our students,” Aderhold told Zephyrus.

https://www.gabeforedina.com/vision

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Erica Allenburg

Background:

With a professional background in marketing and process improvement, Allenburg has vowed to work towards more open communication and more opportunities for constituents to voice their concerns.

Big issues:  

Allenburg believes in balancing the needs of all learners, balancing excellence with students’ emotional and mental health, supporting teachers, being as fiscally responsible and transparent as possible, and strengthening the energy and passion that the Edina community has toward its public schools.

Notable quote:

“Edina Schools’ foundation of excellence can be both a blessing and a curse. It puts a lot of pressure on our students to strive to be the best in academics and athletics . . . We need to have honest conversations in our community about what impact it has on our student body,” Allenburg told Zephyrus. “I think we can do a much better job of listening to what is going on at the ground level of our school system before making decisions.”

Anything else?

As the mother of three children–including one with a learning disability and another in gifted education programs–Allenburg understands the importance of balancing the needs of every type of learner.

http://electerica.org/

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Chad Bell

Background:

As a soccer, basketball, softball, and Special Olympics track team coach, Bell has firm roots in the Edina community. With over 20 years of corporate experience at Fortune 500 companies, Bell has managed large teams, giving him the ability to bring communication, innovation, and strategy to the School Board.

Big issues:  

Bell promises accountability, collaboration, and excellence if he is elected. Specifically, he wants to rebuild trust with our parent community by making himself available through monthly open forum discussions, connect with Edina’s business community to create hands on learning initiatives, and create programs and resources that address the learning needs of all students.

Notable quote:

“I love living in Edina. I care about the kids getting a quality education and I have an open mind toward solutions to keep us great,” Bell told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

Bell believes Edina’s long tradition of excellence is not going to continue unless “we challenge ourselves to continue to provide a world class learning environment for all of our kids.”

https://www.chad4edina.com/

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Faisal Deri

Background:

As a long-time Minnesota resident and proud parent of five, Deri has worked extensively in community building, especially for diverse populations. If elected, Deri will bring this experience, along with over 15 years of public accounting and corporate governance experience, to the Board.

Big issues:  

Deri believes that the School Board should adopt a budget that allocates resources based on the district’s vision, goals and priorities for student achievement. He also wants the board to promote and expand outreach efforts to engage a cross-section of diverse students, parents, staff, community members and various organizations.

Notable quote:

“We need to understand and appreciate that we are a diverse community and have to celebrate that diversity,” Deri said on his website. “Our schools are here to serve the educational needs of all the children. Every child matters!”

Anything else?

Deri has decided to run for the Edina School Board because he believes that public education is strongly tied to the vitality of the community. “Investing in our education now means a vibrant future for Edina community,” Deri said on his website.

https://www.deri4edina.com/

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Matthew Fox

Background:

As an investment manager and strategist in the world of biotech and pharmaceuticals, Fox oversaw large financial transactions and helped drive 5-10 year strategic plans. According to Fox, these governance and strategic planning experiences will translate directly to success as a member of the Edina School Board.

Big issues:

Fox is dedicated to putting teachers and students first, working collaboratively with the community, and creatively solving existing problems. If elected to the School Board, Fox will strive to advance students and empower teachers. Fox hopes to bring together the information, experience, and knowledge within Edina’s community to collaboratively drive excellence across all Edina Schools.

Notable quote:

“In order to make sure that every student can reach their highest individual potential, we have to be forward-looking and ensure that we are putting in place good processes that maximize all of our resources for all of our students,” Fox told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

When Matthew Fox and his family moved to Minnesota five years ago, they were drawn to Edina by its reputation for having exceptional schools supported by an engaged community.

https://www.foxforedina.com/

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David Goldstein

Background:

Goldstein has practiced law in Minnesota for over 30 years, including some past experience representing public school districts. He believes this has helped him “make a meaningful contribution as a member of the Edina School Board.”

Big issues:  

Some of the specific issues Goldstein would like to resolve include maintaining the quality of public education in spite of persistent underfunding, decreasing the district’s carbon footprint, creating a safe and welcoming environment in each school, addressing the gifts and challenges unique to each child, and empowering both teachers and families.

Notable quote:

“I think one of the most important issues is making sure we have a well-functioning board that is able to work well together to process and invite input from all of our constituencies, students, teachers, the broader community, and families,” Goldstein told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

Goldstein is one of two candidates running for re-election. “As a Board member over the past four years, I’ve enjoyed it all and would like to continue in this work,” Goldstein said on his website.

http://goldsteinforedina.com/

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Heidi Hilliker

Background:

With a background in instructional design, Hilliker prides herself in her number of partnerships and relationships, and her commitment to designing outstanding employee and client experiences.

Big issues:  

Drawing on her creative educational background, Hilliker believes the board should turn to more “outside the box” solutions, like combining pickups for Normandale and Our Lady of Grace or possibly looking into municipal transportation. In regards to making progress in personalized learning, Hilliker thinks the board needs to define what personalized learning should look like for different types of students.

Notable quote:

“I believe there needs to be more transparency with the community around the decisions being made by the board,” Hilliker told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

“The reason I am running is I believe it is an opportunity for me to be the voice to ensure all of our communities are being represented in the decisions being made for our teachers’ and students’ futures,” Hilliker told Zephyrus.

https://spark.adobe.com/page/naDA3V9azo7xh/

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Ellen Jones

Background:

Jones worked in operations for a financial services corporation when she lived in San Francisco. Ever since moving to Edina, she has been a volunteer for numerous organizations, particularly Edina Public Schools, and the City of Edina. For the past 20 years, Jones has been actively engaged in the community, working to improve the quality of schools, parks, and programs.

Big issues:  

Her platform is founded upon the following issues: achievement for all students of all abilities, respect for all students, healthy learning environments, responsible fiscal management, evidence-based practices, and 21st century learning.

Notable quote:

“The voters want leadership that is not complacent about the excellence of our schools — leadership that has a vision for the future, sense of urgency for getting things done and is dedicated to doing the hard work that will make positive change happen,” Jones told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

“I know there are no shortcuts in effective public service. I will commit the time it takes 
to research issues and solutions, listen to stakeholders, and follow data-driven best practices in policy and decision making,” Jones told Zephyrus.

http://ellenjones4edinaschools.com/

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Matt Loucks

Background:

With five years of experience as an English Second Language (ESL) teacher in North and South Minneapolis, 15 years in the investment management industry, and experience on the Board of Hiawatha Leadership Academy, Louks possesses a unique combination of teaching experience, School Board experience, and financial experience.

Big issues:  

Loucks is in favor of opening up a dialogue with students in order to gather both qualitative and quantitative data, giving teachers the autonomy to use their expertise to do their jobs without directives from inexperienced administrators, and ensuring that the district communicates clearly to parents without educational jargon.

Notable quote:

“I want to re-focus the discussion on the reason schools exist and the reason I became a teacher: to help students gain the cognitive, emotional and executive skills they need to succeed in life,” Loucks wrote on Facebook.

Anything else?

Though Loucks has a unique perspective on the educational process, he believes he is “in no way an expert.” Loucks prides himself in being able to admit when he does not know the answer, and engaging with those who do know the answer. “There’s this huge asset base in Edina of professional parents who are educated, have experience, and have the time to devote to various task forces. Being transparent is part of engaging the parents,” Louks told Zephyrus.

http://mattloucks4edinastudents.com/

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Owen Michaelson

Background:

Michaelson is the Founder and President of GopherData, a database consultancy, and has been a volunteer in various capacities for numerous organizations, most notably Boy Scouts of America.

Big issues:  

Michaelson believes in focusing on educational excellence by teaching students “how to think, not what to think.” In other words, his belief is that politics are too influential in schools and he hopes to depoliticize our schools. Additionally, Michaelson stands for academic accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency, and giving parents and students a real voice and a real choice.

Notable quote:

“I am running against political agendas in our school, not for them. I will work with the board, administration, teachers, parents and students to pursue initiatives that pass one simple test: that they provide the best educational outcomes for all our children,” Michaelson said on his website.

Anything else?

Speculation has circulated about Michaelson connection to the Republican Party (School Board elections are meant to be nonpartisan). Though the Republican party offered support to Michaelson, along with two other candidates, in the form of enhanced likely voter list, Michaelson insists he is “running as a concerned parent and resident, not as a Republican.”

https://www.owen4edina.com/

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Lisa O’Brien

Background:

After performing educational and behavioral evaluations with children in the Department of Pediatric Psychology at the University of Minnesota, O’Brien became a board member and Vice-Chair at Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. O’Brien has also been an active parent volunteer in Edina Schools for over 10 years.

Big issues:  

In light of recent Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results that show approximately 20% of EPS students do not meet proficiency in math and reading, O’Brien told Zephyrus that the Board “needs to evaluate all of our programs for effectiveness, create opportunities to really get to know each student’s strengths and challenges and tailor the programs to meet those needs.”

Notable quote:

“I hear from voters that they want the board to listen to how they are affected by the district’s decisions. They want board members to press the administration to provide data and use that data to inform decisions. During my first term, I made these issues a priority and I will continue to do so if elected for a second term,” O’Brien told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

Lisa O’Brien is one of two candidates, along with David Goldstein, who is seeking a second term. As a Board member, she serves on seven committees and is currently the chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee.

www.lisaobrien.org

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Chris Tuescher

Background:

With an educational background in public administration and policy analysis, as well as a professional background in evaluating data, Tuescher looks forward to leveraging these skills with evaluation of fiscal policies on behalf of the district.

Big issues:  

Tuescher’s campaign has centered primarily around three issues: equity, transparency, and ensuring that our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow through a strong STEM curriculum. “Regarding equity, I have been a big proponent of the district’s efforts regarding personalized learning and the positive impact that it can have on our students,” Tuescher told Zephyrus. “With regard to STEM and future employment, I want to ensure that our district is providing our students with the necessary skills to be competitive in their future educational careers as well as their professional careers by maintaining a world class STEM curriculum.”

Notable quote:

“The most important qualification to be on the School Board is a desire to ensure that our students are going to be successful in their academic careers, and a willingness to put in the effort to remove any obstacles from achieving that success,” Tuescher told Zephyrus.

Anything else?

Since moving to Edina a little over two years ago after having open enrolled his daughter at Countryside, Chris Tuescher and his family have felt embraced by their neighborhood and the entire community. “I want to ensure that as a community we are doing everything to ensure all students are in the best position to succeed in their academic careers after graduation,” Tuescher told Zephyrus.

https://www.facebook.com/TuescherESB/

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