Q&A: Ellen Iverson, Candidate for Northfield School Board

Ellen Iverson is one of five candidates seeking a seat on the Northfield School Board.

Five candidates are vying for your support to be elected to the Northfield School Board, which has four open seats this election.

They are:

  • 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 Iverson, 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.

Ellen Iverson

Age: 46 years old
Family: Todd Iverson, husband of 22 years; Ian Iverson, son grade 11 at Northfield High School; and Emma Iverson, daughter grade 8 at Northfield Middle School
Education: B.S. in Environmental Design, School of Architecture, and B.S. in Scientific and Technical Communications, University of Minnesota, 1989; M.S. in Scientific and Technical Communications, University of Minnesota, 1993; Post-graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation Studies from the University of Minnesota, 2012
Occupation: Director of Evaluation at the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College (2003 to present)
Political experience: Northfield School Board member elected in 2008, current chair.

Why are you running for a seat on the Northfield School Board? What do you offer the board and district?

I am running for a seat on the Northfield School board because I believe providing the best education for our children offers the surest path for a strong future community. I believe the strengths I offer lie in three areas 1) My work as a professional evaluator of undergraduate teaching programs gives me a knowledge of educational research and assessment literature. Through this experience I have learned to critically consider how educational programs influence student learning. This experience has given me a broad view of student assessment and the knowledge that it takes more than high stakes testing to meet students’ learning needs. 2)As an engaged community member for the past 21 years, I understand the culture of Northfield and have been actively engaged in listening to community members’ needs. I believe I have proven myself to be an accessible and responsive board member 3) As a parent and volunteer in the schools, I see the impact of the district’s programming with my own children.

What’s the most pressing issue facing the district?

It is impossible to reduce the opportunities and challenges to a single issue for an entire school district. In the next year the district needs to examine how new technologies such as the iPad can change student learning as well as stay engaged in state directed issues such as the new MMR assessment measures and the upcoming principal and teacher evaluation processes and advocating for greater equity in state funding.

What is something you think the current school board has done well?

The current board has continued to encourage and foster greater communications with the community. The review of the Companeros program, the program based budgeting committees, and the Technology Transformation focus groups and information sessions are three examples of providing channels for community members to give input and feedback on district plans and concerns.

What is something you think the current school board hasn’t done well?

While the current board has fostered greater communications with the community, I would like to see the board more intentionally engage senior community members. State demographics show that we are nearing a time when the number of senior residents will exceed the number of school aged children. It is critical that the district demonstrate to this growing group of citizens the value and impact of a strong public education system.

What would you have tried to do differently?

The community committee members of the last Education Levy Referendum were much more intentional about considering ways to include and engage senior residents in that issue. I think the ways that they reached out to community groups that included senior residents in leadership roles is a great example of how the school board could better engage this part of the community.

Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponents?

Northfield is fortunate to have many qualified residents willing to serve and lead. I believe my knowledge in educational research, my demonstrated level of service and leadership on the board, and my proven ability to be a responsive and accessible board member makes me a strong choice on Election Day.

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