With seven candidates vying for just three seats on the Richfield School Board this election, Richfield Patch asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire to aid voters in their decisions.
See what candidate Christine Maleck had to say below:
Have you ever held an appointed or elected office before?
I have not held an elected public office, but I was elected President of my class in the Clinical Laboratory Science at the University of Minnesota in 1993.
What relevant experience do you have?
I am an engaged parent of children currently attending Richfield Middle School and Richfield High School.
I have organized many school community building and fundraising events and served as PTO president at Sheridan Hills and R-STEM.
My education in the sciences has taught me to thoughtfully and critically analyze information. In my experience as a technical supervisor in a cytogenetics laboratory I have faced financial challenges similar to those in public education. I have experience utilizing technology and innovation to maintain high quality results with fewer resources.
Nearly six years experience on the District Financial Planning Advisory Committee – a committee that provides advisory service to the School Board - has provided insight into many of the complexities of school finance. That experience also taught me to always walk into a meeting educated, and open minded, and to value the knowledge, experience, and perspective of fellow committee members.
What is your occupation?
I am a clinical laboratory scientist with specialist certification in Cytogenetics working in the Cytogenetics Laboratory at the University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview.
Where did you go to school?
I grew up in Duluth Minnesota and graduated from Duluth East High School. I went to UMD for 2 years, transferred to the U of MN twin cities campus and graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees in Genetics and Cell Biology and Clinical Laboratory Science.
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
I am married to Kevin Maleck, a Richfield graduate who is active in Richfield Schools on the district Technology Advisory Committee, is the Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 262, and has been a math tutor at RMS. We have two children currently attending Richfield Schools: Emily in 7th grade at RMS and Joey in a freshman at RHS.
Both of my parents worked the majority of their careers for the Duluth Public Schools. My dad was a work experience coordinator and Teacher and eventually a principal. My mom worked in special education during the time when mainstreaming kids with disabilities began and developed a program for meeting the needs of those kids in the schools including an adaptive PE class. That program was eventually expanded throughout Northeastern Minnesota. They are both enjoying retirement now, but they were great examples and taught me the importance of education in your community.
What are your campaign goals?
My campaign goals are to share my qualifications and perspective with the voters, give them a reason to vote for me, get out the vote, and promote the technology levy.
What issues are you most focused on?
We need to promote all of the great things happening in Richfield Schools to current, new, and prospective Richfield Public Schools families and the entire Richfield community.
Taxpayers need to see that they are making a great investment in their community. I have been consistently impressed as my children have moved from Sheridan Hills Elementary to Richfield Intermediate School, Richfield STEM School, Richfield Middle School, and now Richfield High School. From the Gifted and Talented program milk carton boat race at Sheridan Hills to Lego league, spark fest and the W.O.W. room at R-STEM, the accelerated reader program which started at Centennial and is now used in all of the elementary schools, and the Avid program at RMS and RHS there is something to serve and inspire every Richfield student. We need to share that message.
We need to hire a strong superintendent that understands and appreciates all that Richfield Public Schools have to offer and who can help us to market this to the public.
If I am elected to the board, I promise to work with fellow board members in the following areas:
- Develop and implement Parent and Staff satisfaction surveys
- Develop a Richfield District Scorecard: How are the schools doing: test scores, enrollment, satisfaction.
- Have a relevant and current strategic plan published and utilized when making decisions for the district…the current plan posted online is for 2005-2010…it is 2013
- Revise the district mission to address the needs of all students, including those that do not go to college: consider developing or cooperating with other districts to offer work experience or trade programs
Open Communication and Transparency
- Report performance against district goals to the public at least annually
- Update and publicize where we are in the process of implementing our strategic plan
- Improve the district website to a more user friendly format for staff, students, and parents
- Develop a School Board website and utilize this to provide information in a meaningful easy to read format
- Put all board review materials online prior to each board meeting and continue to make those materials available online after the meetings
- Hold informal coffee talks and/or town hall meetings separate from or in conjunction with School Board Meetings
- ASK for community perspective : I am currently working on putting together a number of focus groups for sharing or gathering information and ideas from community members who may have a different perspective on the issues than I do.
- Develop a blog about school district issues
- Provide school board meeting information on Facebook and Twitter in a timely way
- Work collaboratively with school parent organizations, district committees, Booster Clubs, community and other organizations like the City Council, the League of Women Voters, the Richfield Rotary, and Richfield Foundation, to fully engage them with the school board
- § Hold a school board candidates workshop before the next election cycle to engage and educate potential candidates and increase dialog between candidates, the community and the board for potential mentoring opportunities.
Why should voters choose you?
I am invested in the Richfield community and one of the best ways to strengthen it is to build and maintain a strong school system.
Personally, I am energized through my volunteer efforts in our schools and community. I have demonstrated my commitment to the community and the education of all Richfield students. I thrive on making even a small difference for one child, one teacher, or one school. Becoming a member of the school board is the next step for me in making a strong positive impact in my community.
My time as president of the PTO for Sheridan Hills and R-STEM offered great hands-on experience in organizing community support for the schools and working with teachers, staff and parents. It also gave me a profound appreciation for the hard work the school staff does and the quality of the educational experience they provide. That close interaction in the schools strengthens my feelings of great pride in our schools and community and deepen my resolve to continue to be a part of it. I am a hard worker and a committed volunteer.
Two of my favorite volunteer experiences in the classroom: teaching art masterpiece in kindergarten to third grade classes, and directed reading with children in my daughter’s fourth grade class have given me a great appreciation for the work of Richfield Public Schools teachers and staff, along with a view into why they all work so hard to see their students succeed. There is nothing quite like seeing that spark of understanding with your own eyes.
Related articles on Richfield Patch:
- Candidates for Richfield School Board Race Finalized
- School Board Members Undecided About Election
- League of Women Voters Showcases School Board Candidates Saturday
- No Richfield School Board Candidates from City's Northern, Western Sections