Address: 12040 Creekridge Lane, Chaska

Age: 42

Family: I am married, have three kids that attend Chanhassen High School, Chaska Middle School East and Victoria Elementary.

Employment: I am currently the executive director of Finance and Operations for Osseo Area Schools

Education: I have a B.A. in Communications and an MBA from Bethel University

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy spending time with family, playing or watching any sports with my two sons, and attempting to be a golfer.

Previous experience that would prove helpful in position: In addition to currently serving as a board member, my work in education both in operations and finance has uniquely prepared me for the challenges we face.

Contact info: 952-836-9972;; Why are you running for this position?

I love our community and believe each and every student that attends our schools deserve an excellent education that will prepare them for whatever dreams they have when they leave our system.

I believe that I am uniquely qualified for this role as I have spent much of my professional career in public education, both in school operations and finance.

I believe that we are at an important intersect with our school district and my knowledge and experience with public education, as well as my commitment to building bridges with our community will help move us forward.

What are the three top priorities you plan to focus on if elected?We need to continue to expand efforts to bring various community groups and perspectives together to eliminate division. We can do this by creating a strategic plan that identifies our collective vision, what the strategies are to get there, and what resources we need to implement those strategies.We need to identify and implement protocols to ensure all students feel safe, welcome, and included and find creative ways to close the opportunity gap while increasing achievement of all students.Finally, we need to pass an operating levy to ensure financial sustainability and to support the vision the community helped create.

How would you address the current budget shortfall?

Solving our financial challenges must be a multifaceted approach. First, we should identify resources needed to achieve the collective vision our community designs through the strategic planning process. We can then realign existing resources to ensure we are supporting those strategies.

We will need to understand what additional resources are needed and make a clear and compelling ask to our community to support the vision they helped to create.

Finally, we need to advocate with our legislators to fully fund mandates (i.e. special education), and to give more flexibility to local school districts on how to use state funds.

What, if anything, would you change regarding how the district addresses equity?

It is our moral imperative to ensure each student feels safe, welcome, and included in our schools. It is also our responsibility as a community to give the tools and opportunities to our students so they can each achieve their personal best.

I believe a key component of our strategic planning process should address these two elements of our equity work. Our equity plan should not be a cookie-cutter version from other school districts in the state or country. Rather, it should reflect the collective voice of our internal and external community.

How would you navigate in-person and distance learning during the pandemic?

I believe it is important to listen to and follow guidance from health professionals, including MDH and the CDC. At the same time, we need to make sure that we are working collaboratively with our teachers and staff to ensure they feel safe entering our buildings with our students.

Our leadership team at the district and each building have worked tirelessly to prepare our system for the three scenarios that were given to us by the state.

The best way forward is for our teachers, staff, leadership team and parents to stay engaged as we navigate this incredible challenge together.

Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?


Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.