Balance Local ControlStudent Opportunity Gaps

2016 Board Vacancies, North Central Zone

By November 4, 2015 No Comments

The following individuals have applied for two open positions — Administrator and Teacher — for the North Central Zone on the 2016 MREA Board of Directors. To qualify, they must serve as an administrator (superintendent, principal, curriculum director, etc.) or a teacher for an MREA member district.

School Administrator Representative

Lance Bagstad

Park Rapids, Superintendent

I am currently the superintendent of Park Rapids Area Schools and have proudly served as a rural educator for 22 years — 16 years in administration with the most recent 8 as superintendent.  I have found being a member of MREA to be a valuable voice for our rural way of life and am very excited about the future of Minnesota education and the transformation that we will see positively impacting our students, schools and communities. As a candidate for the MREA Board of Directors, I believe I can bring experience and commitment to the education of our rural students and schools.  In no other time have opportunities for student success been more prevalent, and I want to ensure that all of our students and schools have the best of those opportunities.

Jeff Bisek

Mahnomen, Superintendent

I believe MREA is a united voice for rural schools and I feel rural schools need this unity in Minnesota, especially now with the legislative power that is controlled by the metro area of our state. I would bring representation to the Board from a District that serves a high population of American Indian students as well as a high poverty index population.

Stephen Jones

Little Falls, Superintendent

All of my teaching and administrative experiences have occurred in rural Minnesota districts. The breadth of these years in rural Minnesota has been the core to the development of my philosophy of leadership. However, the power of unity in rural Minnesota districts is effectively harnessed through the singular voice of MREA. MREA has been successful in joining forces with other professional organizations in the state to effectively communicate the challenges of rural education to legislative leaders who are actively listening to this message. I would like to be a part of this continued messaging of the needs and concerns of rural Minnesota school districts to continue advancing the great work being done in greater Minnesota.

Jerry Ness

Fergus Falls, Superintendent

My interest in rural education matters dates back to 1980 when I became a business teacher in Herman-Norcross. I learned small schools matter and can be very effective in delivery an outstanding education. As a principal in the 1990s, I was an MREA Board member and chairperson. From 2004-06, I served as MREA’s Executive Director. Our mission over the years is much the same as today – being the voice for rural Minnesota regarding fairness for schools in greater Minnesota. I am currently in my 10th year as superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools and continue to have an interest and passion for rural education. Being part of a growing MREA that addresses concurrent enrollment teacher qualifications, teacher recruitment and quality, funding, and facilities would be an honor.

Teacher Representative

Craig Bahr

Detroit Lakes, Teacher

For the past 4 years I have taught 2nd grade in Detroit Lakes. My district efforts include curriculum selection for multiple subject areas, coordinating district wellness events, organizing our school science fair, compiling intervention strategies, and serving as a work experience mentor. I serve on 9 committees, including 5 at the district level. I have served on district interview committees,  and the issue of teaching shortages is a clear need for many across rural Minnesota. I served as chair representing district employees on our Laker Pride Committee to encourage support for our November 2015 Bonding Levy. I have also been appointed the liaison between our local union, district administration and the Laker Pride Committee and serve as a negotiator on our local teacher union.

Louise Bass

Laporte, Teacher

I have been the K-12 music teacher at Laporte for over 20 years. I have written and received numerous arts and artist-in-residency grants to provide our students a quality music education. I am proud to be a certified AIW (Authentic Intellectual Work) coach. Laporte was one of only 4 schools in Northern Minnesota to take part in the AIW pilot program. My experience in state government has been president of Education Minnesota- Laporte Teachers for 20 years. I share the values and goals expressed by MREA and would like to continue my part in making quality schools in rural Minnesota. I am willing to look at new options and solutions for unique problems associated with rural schools, and organize action on behalf of these schools.

Brandon Borich

Princeton, Teacher

The skills I have acquired teaching the last 13 years in a rural district will be enormously useful in this position. I have held a number of leadership roles such as a building representative for our union, technology integration coach, teacher instructional coach, member of the building leadership team, college in the schools teacher, head coach of extracurricular events, and active participant in developing science curriculum. I am excited to help strengthen a unified voice to support rural education. I have seen the struggles rural schools face with issues such as finding qualified teachers, offering concurrent enrollment courses, and having access to technology that develops the 21st Century learner. I want to be part of a board that puts the education, growth, and development of rural learners first.

Michelle Koch

Menahga, Teacher

I would be honored to serve and participate with the MREA Board of Directors. I have spent my entire life living in “outstate” Minnesota and believe our rural areas have many unique challenges and gifts. Our educational scale may be small, but the scope and needs of our students are great. We must continue to address the challenges of poverty, social and behavioral struggles, maintaining highly qualified staff, and funding our “outstate” districts. MREA brings together school boards, administration, educators, and community members with the goal of improving our students’ educational opportunities in rural Minnesota. I look forward to offering my experiences, passion and rural foundation to work toward building 21st Century opportunities for our greatest resource — our children.