Name: Veronica Stoltz
Address: 16813 Thatcher Road, Eden Prairie
Family: Husband, Jon; children Spencer, 23, Mason, 20, Ryan, 14 and Katie, 10, all Eden Prairie students
Employment: Full-time parent
Education: B.A. in communications from Brigham Young University, minors in political science and Russian language; trained at Orton Gillingham Reading Specialists — Sonday Level I
- Speak Now for Kids Advocate, Washington, D.C.
- Families as Partners Volunteer and Trainer, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (10 years)
- Ethics Committee at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (four years)
- PACER day at the Minnesota Capitol 2019
- Member, SEAC (Special Education Advisory Council) for EP Schools
Previous Experience: Employed at three television stations in Minnesota, Idaho and Utah.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do you want to be on the Eden Prairie School Board?
My motivation to serve on the Eden Prairie School Board stems from an abundance of concern about the declining educational experience in our community. In the past, good schools have been a hallmark of our community, but we can not rest on a reputation we are not maintaining. Staff turnover is extraordinarily high in our schools and families are choosing to educate their children outside of Eden Prairie at worrisome rates. This should tell us that those who know our schools best are sounding an alarm. We are losing our grasp on one of the finest quality of life indicators we have enjoyed in Eden Prairie. When our schools decline, so does our ability to attract and retain new businesses/residents, maintain high real estate values and, most importantly, ensure excellent prospects for our kids. I believe quality education is the linchpin to the values we collectively hold and strive for as a community.
What is your view of the state of the school district?
Educators by definition should be information seekers, interested in acquiring the necessary data, context, and sourcing that allow for sound decision-making. Sadly, that has not been my experience in trying to problem solve with leaders in the Eden Prairie District. It has been alarming for me to witness top administrators in the Eden Prairie School District deliberately disregard opportunities to be comprehensive and child-centric in their decision-making. I believe the Eden Prairie School District is far too quick to close ranks and insist that the status quo is good enough.
What would be your top priorities as a School Board member?
It has been my experience that some district initiatives and expenditures equate to wildly swinging at the weeds, whereas my objective as part of the Eden Prairie School Board would be to pull vigorously at the roots of our schools’ challenges. I am not interested in cursory efforts to satiate problems or kick them a little further down the road. I want to see problems solved resolutely, rapidly, and collaboratively. I firmly believe that many children in our district are being sidelined unnecessarily. If a child’s needs are not effectively met the fallout can be tremendous. It concerns me that the District would rather wait until those unmet needs turn into behavioral and disciplinary issues than to invest the needed time, energy, and resources required to address a child’s needs when they first appear.
What, if any, areas in the district budget should be adjusted?
It may interest you to know that candidates are required to pay $2 in order to file his/her candidacy for school board. Symbolically, I chose to do so with 200 pennies to visually represent what a vote for me ensures:
- Fair treatment — there are two sides to every coin. I want to hear from and advocate for the individuals attached to every decision rendered by the Eden Prairie School District. Education is not a one-size-fits all endeavor.
- Accountability for every cent spent — every cent entrusted to the Eden Prairie School District has been placed under its stewardship through taxes paid by hard-working residents of this city. Each and every citizen deserves to know money is being spent to benefit the children in their homes and neighborhoods. Our spending needs to take into account all types of students, not just a select, elite and already advantaged population.
- Focus on individuals — my top priority as a member of the Eden Prairie School Board will be on individuals — individual learning styles, individual growth, individual accolades, and individual investment. No more broad strokes; excellence is in the details and that is where I will put my time, attention, and energy.
What should be done to address achievement gap?
Insisting the status quo is satisfactory without forward thinking objectives and methodologies is the antithesis of being educated and leads to inevitable stagnation. I firmly believe that we need to turn our attention toward improvement of early literacy skills in our schools. Minnesota Statute 120B.12 makes it perfectly clear that there is an obligation on the part of public schools to intentionally acknowledge a wider network of resources accessible to struggling readers who have failed to meet literacy benchmarks by grade three. If elected, I will be holding Eden Prairie educators’ feet to the fire about early literacy. If we can engage and equip our students with the tools they need to access information early, they will be more successful and comfortable with the educational demands they face thereafter.
What skills should be added or emphasized in classrooms to educate students for a 21st-century career or workplace?
Wondering what education will look like in the future implies that we are open to explore and embrace new advancements and changes. Educational practices will look a lot like they do today if we don’t create a pragmatic, forward-thinking road map for the future. I am discouraged by the district’s insistence on and defense of the status quo. I find district administrators tendency to minimize the struggles our children are experiencing and defend sub-par learning environments and practices very problematic. No meaningful progress will be achieved or maintained if this approach is not remedied.
How should Eden Prairie Schools ensure the safety of its students?
First and foremost, we need to do our very best to ensure we are attending to the mental health of our students. We can make our school buildings into fortresses and still have very troubled young people locked within their walls. As a member of the school board, I will be asking for an accounting from each school as to how they are creating caring school communities in which adults and students respect and trust each other, help all students feel connected, and receive the academic, behavioral and mental health support they need.
Have you ever been charged with a gross misdemeanor or higher, or or been personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
Getting to know you
Favorite book or movie: Like many parents, my favorite forms of entertainment are the ones that are enjoyed by the whole family. We just viewed the “The Greatest Showman” for the second time as a family last weekend and I loved singing along with my kids to the fantastic musical score. I particularly love the message of the song, “This Is Me”, which is an empowering anthem about those ostracized by society for being different. It’s a fight song for the underdog, and I love that
Last live show or concert you attended: My son and I saw “Into the Woods” in the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C, (where President Lincoln was assassinated). Not only was the production excellent, but the historic setting was especially poignant
Favorite subject in school: I have always found the subject matter interesting if the teacher’s passion for the topic and concern for their students is evident. Over the years, those favorite courses have included science, English and philosophy
What would be the title of your life story? “Don’t Give Up What You Want The Most For What You Want At The Moment.” The story would illustrate how patience, vision, commitment, and integrity have shaped important choices at critical crossroads in my life
Dream vacation destination: I was privileged to visit Maui four yeas ago and found it to be everything I ever imagined an ideal vacation to look like and more. I adored driving the Road to Hana and playing on the black sand beaches with my kids. I was also grateful to find a Costco there, to offset the insanely high restaurant prices. Win-Win
Favorite local business: Lion’s Tap. I far prefer a tasty, quick meal to a fancy, drawn-out one. I appreciate Lion’s Tap’s commitment to quality ingredients, recyclable paper goods, and a fun, relaxed atmosphere which welcomes teams, work colleagues and families alike