Five candidates are vying for your support to be elected to the Northfield School Board, which has four open seats this election.
- Dan Cupersmith
- Rob Hardy
- Ellen Iverson
- Anne Maple
- Noel Stratmoen
Patch asked candidates to respond to a series of questions. Below, you will find responses from Maple, who is an incumbent. Responses are written by the candidates and have not been edited by Patch.
In the coming weeks we'll run more Q&As and video interviews for candidates who are on Nov. 6's ballot in Northfield-related races. You can also find out more information about the candidates by checking out our election guide for all election-related stories.
Family: Husband: Scott Carpenter, French Professor at Carleton College; Son: Paul Carpenter, NHS Class of 2007, and Carleton College Class of 2010; Daughter: Muriel Carpenter, NHS Class of 2012, and Attending Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Education: BS in Secondary Education University of Minnesota (English Language Arts and Theater) 1979; Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) Hamline University 1997. Also studied at the following: University of Pau in Pau, France; University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany; and Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Occupation: Lifelong Educator: Northfield School Board Treasurer (2009-Present); Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault, MN (1991- 2002), English/Social Studies Teacher, Other duties included: English Department Chair, Admission and Financial Aid Assistant, Readers Theater Director, ESL Tutor, and Study Skills Tutor; Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX (1987-90), Assistant Director of Admission, Secondary English Teacher; Edgerton Middle and High School, Edgerton WI (1984-87), Secondary English Teacher, Speech Coach; Pau, France (1983-84) English Tutor; Osseo High School, Osseo, MN (1980-1983), 12th Grade English Teacher, Senior Class Advisor, Drama Director/Musial Choreographer
Political experience: Ran a successful campaign for School Board in November 2008; Co-Chair for 2006 Northfield Schools Levy Campaign; Core Committee Member for the 2003 Northfield Schools Levy Campaign
Why are you running for a seat on the Northfield School Board? What do you offer the board and district?
I am running for re-election to the Northfield School Board because I have a great passion for education in general, and a specific desire to help Northfield schools succeed in providing the best possible education for our children. This will not be an easy task, for Minnesota faces budget shortfalls, changing demographics, and increasingly high expectations for teaching and learning. To face these challenges, the current School Board has worked with the district administrators and teachers are putting in place Response to Intervention (RTI) to help students master skills at their own level.
I really enjoy my work on the current Northfield School Board, for it is challenging, rewarding and intellectually stimulating.
What’s the most pressing issue facing the district?
Most school districts in the state would answer this question with a reference to school funding. Although Northfield Schools are currently in good financial condition, the future may bring us more funding problems unless the State of Minnesota confronts and fixes the funding problems.
Our State constitution has two mandates, one of which is:
ARTICLE XIII Section 1. UNIFORM SYSTEM OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.
The problem is that we do not have a uniform system of public schools, nor do we have a secure and thorough funding system. Thanks to the generosity of our community in the recent levy vote, Northfield has a little reprieve from having to constantly be on the edge of having to make budget cuts. School funding has not kept up with inflation over the years, meaning more and more schools are going to their voters for additional funds.
What is something you think the current school board has done well?
One of the most important duties of the School Board is to communicate with citizens by being available to answer questions and take suggestions from community members. I believe we communicate well as a group through our regular meetings and the occasional special events or forums. Also, we have excellent lines of communication with district administrators, who provide us with facts and options to consider as we do our work.
What is something you think the current school board hasn’t done well?
We need to encourage citizens to attend our meetings so they can see first hand our process. Watching the meeting on line or on Northfield TV can be helpful, but actually visiting a live school board meeting lets one get to see and meet school board members and the district staff who report to the board.
What would you have tried to do differently?
To narrow the scope of this broad question I will reflect on an interesting issue we had a while back. I was very outspoken against the proposed partnership of the School District and the Northfield YMCA. I took a hard stand against the partnership, and through this controversial and important discussion I had a difficult time remaining calm. Our Board Chairman at the time, Kari Nelson, handled the YMCA discussions very well, and I learned a lot from watching her gracefully and professionally lead the Board through discussions about the pros and cons of this partnership. This was a good learning experience for me.
Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponents?
I am a board member who attends nearly all of the events that we are invited to at the various school buildings. It is important for teachers, parents, and students to get to know us.
For many years, I have volunteered once a week in a Greenvale Park first grade classroom. It is a fine opportunity to witness the great work of Northfield’s teachers and staff and the amazing accomplishments of the students.
Other assignments I enjoy include serving as School Board Liaison to the Northfield Schools Fine Arts Boosters and the City of Northfield’s Human Rights Commission. These opportunities help me learn more about Northfield’s accomplishments and challenges.
I am very approachable and often run into parents, teachers and students when I am out and about in the community. I think my experiences as a teacher and administrator also help me be a good choice as a school board member. I am very comfortable in the school setting, and I understand curricular issues, special needs student issues, and the complex art of teaching.
Anything else you would like to add?
I thank the community for voting for me four years ago. If re-elected, I will continue to be active in the district and approachable for any citizens who have concerns or questions about the Northfield Schools.