School Board Recognition Month falls on the month of May, paying recognition to the elected officials who oversee the behind-the-scenes of a school district. Board members are elected by the public and fulfill a four-year-long term.
This fall, two seats will be up for election: President Kyle Baxter and Director Marjean Gries, whose spot is now filled by her son, Casey Baldwin.
“It takes time to understand their position because really you’re in a management position of a large organization,” Superintendent Lynn Ubben said about acquiring a position on the board.
Ubben has been attending school boards since she was a Principal, Ubben says, which accumulates to around twenty-seven years of service.
“I would say that most of these boards are learners,” Ubben said. “I know when new board members come on, they go to the orientation.”
School Board Members participate in a number of different learning opportunities, including the November School Board convention, online classes and workshops, or visits to the Capitol.
“It’s a learning experience,” Ubben said. “Some stay on a long time and some more often, it just kind of depends.”
Board member, Linda Andorf, began her term in 2015 and still has two of her four years left. Andorf, a retired teacher, has worked in the profession for thirty-six years. Andorf has contemplated plans of running for another term.
Andorf says the current school board works together to incorporate their different perspectives, cultures, age differences, professions, and past experiences as students.
“We all have different opinions but we all have the same outcome which is what is good for the kids and what is good for the district,” Andorf said.
The Board generally receives pieces of information from the superintendent, but isn’t allowed to all publicly discuss in detail unless it’s at a public meeting. The Perry School Board meets the second Monday of every month in the Perry High School Library at 7 p.m.
During Andorf’s time with the board, she’s sat in on student and staff presentations, discussion of renovating buildings within the district, and more recently the hiring of a new Superintendent.
More recently, speech and debate classes are no longer required and Andorf says student and faculty presentations help members better understand what funds are being spent on as well as the overall experience for the individual involved.
“It gives them [the students] a different opportunity and different venue to showcase themselves,” Andorf said. “You have to learn those social kinds of graces and giving a presentation in front of a class doesn’t always cut it.”
Ubben says the hiring of a Superintendent is the most important job board members are able to do.
“It’s just a real eye opener because even talking with the various candidates, there was so much out there,” Andorf said. “My duty is to the people, the community, the parents, the taxpayers, and I was glad when people called and emailed.”
This fall, elections for two seats will be open for Director Gries, now Casey Baldwin, and President Kyle Baxter.
“It is good experience and I wish that there were more people who would or could get involved,” Andorf said. “We have a diverse population here and we need to make sure that the diversity is very well represented because our kids are important.
Superintendent Lynn Ubben issued a press release regarding the appreciation month:
“In Perry, school board members develop policies and make decisions that impact the entire community.
Please join Perry Community School Staff and Students in thanking our awesome Board Members.
President - Kyle Baxter, Vice-President - Jim Lutmer, Directors - Kenia Alarcon, Linda Andorf and the late Marjean Gries.”