Board of Education Candidates Experienced at Different Levels of Education – Albert Lea Tribune
Although now retired, Gary Schindler has spent most of his life in education.
Most recently, he did part-time certification work and taught history at Riverland Community College. Prior to retirement, Schindler served as Dean of Students at Riverland Community College. He also played what was described as a “mentoring role” for the high school faculty.
“I have been involved with the school district through its concurrent enrollment program through this spring,” he said.
For some time, pondering the decision of whether to run for the Albert Lee School Board, Schindler was initially asked by members of the community whether he would consider running.
“I’ve spoken to one or two people on the Albert Lee school board here in District 241. I also have a few friends on the Austin school board,” he said.
There he asked about responsibilities and challenges, and Schindler felt the district was well placed to provide leadership opportunities.
A ten-year social studies teacher from kindergarten through twelfth grade, Schindler worked as a club adviser, coach, and high school counselor. Prior to becoming a student dean, he was a college counselor and head of financial aid. Also, Minnesota College Athletic He is on the board of directors of the conference.
“I bring all that experience to the table. I think it applies,” he said. “Joining the Board of Education is a good fit.”
He also felt that some of the skills he learned at community college could be applied to the role.
“I have served on many boards, and currently serve on the boards of museums, the Naive Health Care Foundation, and the Chamber Foundation,” he said. “I am a member of the Lions Club and I travel around the area and give history lectures because it is also my passion.”
And it was the wealth of skill he felt that brought a unique perspective that could help the board.
Schindler, whose children have gone through the local school system, says his grandchildren will be part of the school in a few years, and also volunteers “across the region.”
If elected, his goal is to bring about quality education in line with the Minnesota Department of Education’s school model.
“We’ve seen a lot of opportunities in District 241, and the new Superintendent agrees with them,” he said. “It’s motivation for me.”
He also appreciated Superintendent Ron Wagner’s use of data in analyzing and improving teaching and learning.
He stressed the importance of providing and maintaining a safe learning environment.
“The superintendent spoke of his goals tied to a safe environment for student learning, social and emotional development,” he said. It addressed social well-being and also developed a sense of community within the district among teachers, administrators, staff, faculty and students.”
He also acknowledged that given the opportunity, there are challenges, especially when it comes to employment. Brought on by COVID.
“now, [COVID] As we become more manageable, we can move from disconnected to connected, bringing all students back to school and connecting them with peers, teachers, … parents and even auxiliary professionals.” He said, “Everything helps in one way or another. [to] have some effect on the child. ”
Schindler wants to increase graduation rates, but his biggest goal is to expand the district’s College in the Schools program.
“The focus was on liberal arts, but that’s fine. We need liberal arts,” he said. “However, as a member of the Board of Education, I would like to explore opportunities for high school students to earn career technology credits.”
According to Schindler, the idea is already being implemented in Rochester and Iowa.
“I think we can find ways to open up career technical education to more students,” he said. “…if high school students are passionate about the technical trade, which may include computer science, for example, they may be at risk of dropping out. Earning credits will increase our graduation rate.”
He also felt that expanding the program could provide a way for students to save money and earn college credits that could be transferred to another school.
Regarding the current board of directors, Schindler thanked them for their handling of COVID-19. He was also impressed with the district’s administration and facility maintenance, liked the district’s technical plans, and liked the mix of current board members.
“There are multiple generations in a way, there are people who are very involved in the community, there is a business community represented by the school board,” he said. “And they are caring people. I know most school board members. They are all passionate about educating our children. I am concerned.”
At the same time, he felt there could be more variety.
But ultimately, he saw child support within the community as a four-legged stool.
“The first leg is the parents,” he said. “The second tier is the school district, which includes everyone from maintenance workers to associate professionals to teachers to administrators.”
His third footprint was a community passionate about children.
“The first thing I heard when I moved to Albert Lea in 1989 was that it was a passionate, caring community for young people,” he said. “I think it’s very, very true.”
And the fourth footprint was the faith community.
“If all four legs were working, the child would thrive in my heart,” he said. “But if one leg isn’t strong enough to support the child, it will become unstable.”
To emphasize the point, he pointed out that his church is working on a backpack program. This provides meals on weekends to students in need.
“The program has grown and now has multiple churches, multiple schools,” he said.
This is the first time Schindler is running for school board.
As the deadline for applications to join the Board has passed, the list of candidates is as follows:
Gary H. Lard
Christopher John Seedorf
Jane Kepple Johnson
Shannon L. Cox