Election 2022: School Board
School Board Candidates

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Jean Marvin, Candidate for Rochester School Board

Why are you running?
I’m running for re-election to Rochester’s School Board because after 40 years as a classroom teacher and 8 years as a School Board member, I have a deep understanding of teaching and learning and a profound connection and commitment to this community’s students, staff and families.  Working together, our stakeholders and District staff have developed an exciting strategic plan for engaging and supporting all learners. I’m ready to continue serving those learners!

What are your top two priorities if elected?
As a Board member, my two top priorities are to provide safe environments for all students and to ensure all students have access to the resources they need to be able to succeed.  Safe schools exist when learners and staff feel protected, welcome and respected—physically and emotionally. When those conditions exist, the focus can be on learning: student centered, responsive, deeper learning that will prepare each student for success in school and after graduation.

What have you learned as a candidate?
As a candidate, I’ve listened to students, parents and District stakeholders, and I’ve learned this community really supports our public schools and staff. Families talk about the challenges they face, what their children need, what our schools do well and what they should do better. I’ve learned from parents and staff who offer very different perspectives…on almost every issue. To make informed decisions, listening to and considering diverse viewpoints is critically important. 

Cathy Nathan, Candidate for Rochester School Board

Why are you running?
I want to continue being a champion for schools where all students feel safe and welcomed, ensuring students and educators have the resources and support they need, and empowering families to be partners in their students’ education. I want to keep the implementation of the Strategic Plan on track; it is the pathway for our students to build the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in school and beyond.

What are your top two priorities if elected?
Providing needed resources and monitoring the implementation and outcomes of the Strategic Plan, specifically individual school improvement plans, student-centered deeper learning, supports for students struggling academically, student plans for postsecondary readiness, increasing student belonging and improving behavior, mental health resources, educator recruitment and development, and middle
school extracurriculars. Improving communication with and feedback from families and the community about District finances, School Board decision-making processes, curriculum selection, and how we all can
support Rochester’s students.

What have you learned as a candidate?
Every conversation I have had during this campaign reinforces that Rochester is invested in the success of our students. Even community members without students in our schools want to know how they can
help. This community investment is essential, because our schools cannot launch our students into promising and productive futures without partnerships with our families and the Rochester community. I
am committed to building and strengthening those partnerships during my second Board term.

Elena Niehoff, Candidate for Rochester School Board

Why are you running?
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves family and this beautiful country. In 1998 I immigrated with my family from Ukraine to the United States and later became a citizen of this great country. I feel this experience has given me a unique perspective. For those people who have never experienced socialism, let me assure you that socialism is not about getting a lot of free stuff from the government. Instead it seeks to remove God from society and remove God given rights from the people. Socialist ideology starts with grandiose promises of equity, care for minorities and ideas of equal wealth redistribution but usually ends up with wars, revolutions and poverty. Look at the history of Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela. I am concerned that many theories like “white privilege”, “oppressed and oppressors” and “gender identity” are distracting children from learning academics. And as the result, our schools have low academic achievements and problems with violence. I will advocate against these divisive ideologies, while respecting the teachers, upholding the rights of the parents and supporting students learning the basic academics.

What are your top two priorities if elected?
My top two priorities are students’ academics and discipline. Both of them are essentials for student’s success in life outside of the school.  I am concerned that Rochester Public School (RPS) students’ academic achievements are below expectations. My concern is shared by 38% of parents, 42% of community members and 29% of RPS staff according to results of surveys of Rochester Public Schools parents/guardians, staff, and community members that were administered by Wilder Research in January 2022.

My other passion is to restore discipline in the schools. Many parents expressed their concerns over violence in the schools. I plan to revise the school policies to provide tools for teachers to maintain discipline and promote safe environment for all children.

What have you learned as a candidate?
I learned that many parents forgot how to stand for their rights and the rights of their children. All children, parents and employees’ rights are protected by the Constitution of the United States.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees every American, including students, parents, and employees of the school district, freedom to speak even if their viewpoint is different from official government position.
Parents should be able to choose a learning environment in which their family’s values are respected in the School District. A school should put no pressure on a student to accept a particular viewpoint that violates their conscience or family values.  I support parental rights and transparency over curriculum and extracurricular activities in the schools.

Rae Parker, Candidate for Rochester School Board

Why are you running?
I am running for Rochester School Board first of all over the concern about the violence in the schools. I have grandchildren in the RPS system and I don’t want to see them or anyone become a statistic of that violence. Then I saw the horrendous downward trend of academics in the schools and that is very concerning. This drop in academic proficiency has been going on for about 10 years, according to the MN Department of Education. These students are our future and few seem to be prepared for a productive future where each student is reaching their full potential.

What are your top two priorities if elected?
My top two priorities if elected would have to be bringing in discipline with consequences for bad behavior.  Alongside of discipline must be instilling respect,  responsibility and accountability  so that the environment  is one conducive to teaching and learning. Academics is the second priority. I will be making sure that academics are a priority in the classroom, checking the curriculum to make sure it is the best, most effective method of teaching each  subject matter, working with the teachers to find optimum curriculum and methods of teaching, such as Intensive Phonics for the best method of teaching reading.

Kim Rishavy, Candidate for Rochester School Board

What have you learned as a candidate?
I am finding there is so much I didn’t know about the school district. Things like how and where does the district spend its money? Why.do the incumbents think they are the ones who finally have all the answers after 4, 8 and 12 years of being at this? How have they improved anything? Academics are at an all time low under their leadership. Mental health issues are at an all time high under their leadership. Violence intensity is getting worse under their leadership. Respect for parents and their values are in short supply under their leadership.  They blame the parents for all of the problems in the schools and across the district with seemingly no plan on how to engage the parents and students in academic life. We are asked to blindly “trust” them that they really will get it right, this time. I am looking forward to being a part of the solution to the many issues facing this district.

What are your top two priorities if elected?
I have 4 grandchildren and I became very concerned with the changes in the schools regarding the declining academics, increasing violence and indoctrination of equity also known as CRT. I am running to be a voice for all students, staff and parents to bring back not only the basics of education but a learning environment that is safe for all students.  We live in the world famous city of Mayo Clinic and yet our school academic statistics do not reflect that. I am also running to keep personal agenda’s, politics and lifestyles out of the classrooms and schools.

One priority is to instill discipline in order to have a safe learning environment for students and staff.  No matter what side of the isle you sit on, I think everyone can agree that students and staff have the right to feel safe.  This is directly related to my other top priority which is to bring back academic excellence.  Without rules and consequences academics will continue to decline, violence will continue to increase and we will lose good teachers,  Common sense has been replaced with SEL (social emotional learning), a sense of belonging, social justice, and equity. Schools are not the place to promote social or political agendas. 4yourchildren.org will promote equality, rules and consequences and reading, writing, arithmetic, phonics and science.

What have you learned as a candidate?
What I have learned as a candidate is: it’s much easier to sit and complain about what needs to be changed rather than get up and try to do something about it.  It takes a lot of time and energy to stay the course and do everything possible to get elected in order to stop the disastrous direction the current school board is on. Our children are being subjected to the indoctrination of lifestyles and social agendas that not everyone believes in. When the current school board states their equity policies are for all children; that only includes students, parents and staff that agree with their liberal mindset. There are those with different morals and values that are not taken into consideration and that is the Judeo-Christian values and other religions that do not want to be subjected to the liberal lifestyles, gender ideology, social justice, equity and SEL (social emotional learning) that are being promoted and embraced in the schools. Personal lifestyles, agendas and political views belong outside of the classrooms.

Julie Workman, Candidate for Rochester School Board

Why are you running?
The critical work of equity depends on how we support and engage all students to become their best selves. One reason I’m  running is to support, evaluate and oversee the implementation of the  Strategic Plan. Three broad areas for implementation in 2022-2023 are Critical and Compelling Knowledge and Skills; Positive and Inclusive Inclusive Learning Environments; and Effective and Equitable Systems of Support which are essential for academic success.
What are your top two priorities if elected?
The critical work of equity depends on how we support and engage all students to become their best selves. I’m running to support, evaluate and oversee the implementation of the  Strategic Plan which supports this work. Three broad areas for implementation in 2022-2023 are Critical and Compelling Knowledge and Skills; Positive and Inclusive Inclusive Learning Environments; and Effective and Equitable Systems of Support which are essential for academic success.
What have you learned as a candidate?
This is my fourth campaign, which has been markedly different from the others. Those who are challenging the incumbents and the important work of the board rely on politically and religiously based national talking points, which are not based in facts, truth and evidence. I am focusing on equity, belonging, family engagement, and parent empowerment which are essential for deeper learning and academic success. It’s about doing what’s right for kids.

Rochester Women Magazine has not gotten responses from another female candidates for school board,  Kim Rishavy.

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