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Gourneau, Hansen Seek School Board Position


Current Wolf Point School Board trustee Roxanne Gourneau and former trustee Linda Hansen are seeking the two-year term for District two.

Ballots will be mailed Thursday, April 13, by the Wolf Point School District. Voted ballots can be mailed back or dropped off at the Wolf Point School District Office. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2.

Candidates provided the following answers to a questionnaire.

Why did you decide to run for a trustee position?

Gourneau: Our education needs everyone’s full attention, we cannot aspire to become that great community without first educating young minds to become great leaders. As it stands, our public school system needs improvement to attract new teachers and offer a promising future to students and families. I feel strongly that I can most certainly help in getting us on that path of a much-needed change that promotes confidence in the families and students that I will be fair and transparent in every action taken as a school board trustee.

Hansen: Community involvement and volunteerism has always been important to me. With my years of experience in higher education, it just seems to be a good fit for me. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve on the school board? Gourneau: My entire life has been dedicated to public service; I have served numerous appointed and elected positions. With each position, I attended every training offered that would help improve my knowledge and understanding of the positions I have held, training that is relevant to how a board member should conduct business for the entities I have served which included the governed population. To further add to my professional development, I also have a bachelor of arts in community service and have recently returned to college to upgrade my skills and education so that I could better serve the communities. To this position I bring a lifetime of skills, knowledge and networking that I have gained in the past four decades.

Hansen: My qualifications to be a school board trustee is based on my career in education. During my tenure at Fort Peck Community College, I gained experience with policies and procedures relevant to an educational institution. Additionally, I worked intensively with monies derived from federally driven revenue sources. Federally funded monies require intense oversight and reporting. Similar principles apply to the administration of a public school system in dealing with budgets and personnel.

Why do you feel you are a good candidate to serve on Wolf Point’s school board?

Gourneau: Over a lifetime, I have acquired skills and knowledge that would be useful in making decisions on behalf of the Wolf Point School and its families. More importantly, I come with the right attitude to help facilitate growth in a mired system that has neglected its purpose to the people.

Hansen: The experience I had as a previous school board member positions me as a good candidate for the board. I am very familiar with the district’s administrative processes, as well as the experiences I gained by working through some difficult decision-making processes. I also believe that I fully understand my role as a school board member and the duties that are involved with being on a school board.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the Wolf Point School District?

Gourneau: We live in an ever- changing world, but the biggest challenge is putting together a team of School Board Trustees that would be willing to do what is right and make informed decisions. We cannot discredit our school for poor decision-making, which falls on the shoulders of those on the school’s payroll and the trustees. So, in a nutshell, an improved school can only be obtained by voting for a dedicated school board that puts the school above personal relationships and interests.

Hansen: The biggest challenges that the Wolf Point District faces is the ever-present shortage of teachers. The shortage is both nationwide and statewide. Fewer individuals are entering into the educational field. We need to work with our state legislators, tribal government, Montana OPI, the University System and state tribal colleges, to increase the educational labor workforce. Another challenge the Wolf Point school district has is with student discipline issues and the overall atmosphere of students expressing that they do not always feel safe while in school around other students and as well as with school personnel. Policy and proce-

dural reviews should be ongoing in the areas of student discipline, and in the handling of student discipline issues. This should be a continuous process due to the ever-challenging social dilemmas our communities are encountering. The question should be first and foremost, “How does/can these policies and procedures benefit our students?”

In which areas do you feel the school district could improve?

Gourneau: We have boasting rights in many areas, but we would be amiss if we did not continue to strive to offer a premier education to all students. Board members are faced with planning and educational outcomes for years down the road, we must strategically come together to share a vision for where we will be three years, five years, and 10 years in the future of education, along with meeting today’s needs.

Hansen: Planning! A fiveyear plan is needed. Just this week the Billings School District selected Dr. Garcia as their incoming superintendent. I followed the process with great interest. Following the boards selection, a reporter asked Dr. Garcia how he was going to begin his position in the district. Dr. Garcia ‘s response was once he becomes familiarized with his staff; planning is always the first step. He stated that planning should begin through a reverse process by reviewing the school’s mission statement, and working with all stakeholders in preparing a five-year plan that directly correlates to the outcomes that achieves the districts mission statement. This is a process that Superintendent Loverty Erickson utilized with the Wolf Point board committees. On the negotiations committee, she asked each of us what we wanted to accomplish. Through discussions we formulated a negotiation packet based on data, we then identified components of the negations packet that correlated to outcomes that assisted in completing our mission statement. What are you the most impressed with regarding the Wolf Point School District?

Gourneau: Our ability to take pride in being a Wolf Point Wolf, despite our internal differences.

Hansen: I have always been impressed with our school personnel. The individuals that work day-in and dayout, without complaint to do what they feel is best for the students. We need to recognize our staff, administration and faculty more frequently.

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