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 incumbent candidate Sandy Belkengren had to say below:
How long have you been a member of the Richfield School Board?
I am completing my third term on the Richfield School Board. That represents 12 years of service.
What relevant experience do you have?
Having been a member of the community for over fifty years, I have had the opportunity to be active in numerous relevant experiences. While attending college, I was hired by the Richfield Recreation Department. At that time it was under the auspices of the Richfield School Board and Directed by Burt Storm. As a playground leader, I developed activities at Christian Park, Elliot Park, and Donaldson Park. Next I accepted the position of Drama Lady and then Craft Lady. I concluded my playground career as Supervisor of all the playgrounds. Throughout the school year I ran the Friday Night Teen Club that alternated between East Junior High and West Junior High on alternating weeks. As part of my college experience I student taught at Richfield Junior High. Following graduation, I taught in Roseville for two years, while living on Richfield. Harold Rasmussen, Richfield's Personnel Director, contacted me and informed me of a position available in Richfield that he wanted me to fill. I accepted and taught Physical Education and Health for 35 years at Richfield West Junior High/Middle School. During that tenure I also served as Head Varsity Girls' Track Coach, Head Varsity Girls' Tennis Coach, and Assistant Varsity Boys' Tennis Coach. During the off-season I acted as a leader of many junior high/middle school intramural activities.
What is your occupation?
Since retiring from teaching, I am employed as a substitute/reserve teacher by the Richfield School District. This enables me the opportunity to be involved at all of the schools as a teacher. Consequently, I have a first hand opportunity to observe all of the wonderful things that are being accomplished on a daily basis in Richfield Public Schools. Other Board members are employed outside the District and do not have the same opportunity. Every Board member adopts a building. I have adopted the Middle School for the past several years. They have an outstanding staff and provide wonderful opportunities for all of the students. It is a challenging, but rewarding age group to engage in the educational process.
Where did you go to school?
I believe that education is a life long opportunity. I received a Bachelor of Science degree With Distinction from the University of Minnesota. My Masters of Education degree was also awarded by the University of Minnesota. I continued my education by taking an additional 60+ credits at the University of Minnesota, St. Thomas, and Hamlin. These courses focused on Educational Law, Psychology, Special Education, Adaptive PE, etc. Also I have attended many Community Education classes.
How old are you?
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
After 42 years of marriage, my household now consists of Reggie. He is my 2 year, 130+ pound golden retriever black lab mix.
What are your campaign goals?
A campaign goal would be to have the community re-elect me to the Board position.
What issues are you most focused on?
Perhaps the most important focus is to select a new Superintendent. We need an individual that not only has a vision for the future, but possess the ability to select and lead successful administrators. In addition, that person must provide direction for the District, while being able to communicate with and be an active, participating member of the community.
During my terms on the School Board we have been successful in making progress on all of our goals. We have been able to attract and retain Richfield residents as students. We have been able to raise the overall performance of students. And we have made progress in closing the achievement gap.
Currently our focus is to raise the high school graduation rate. We are also attempting to raise our composite ACT scores while at the same time increasing the percentage of students taking this test. While focusing on these we will continue to raise the overall performance of students and to continue to close the achievement gap.
Why should voters choose you?
My passion for the youth of Richfield is evidenced by my fifty plus years of serving them in various activities and educational endeavors in the community. I feel passion is a requirement for success as a Board member. I would encourage the community to vote for me so I can continue to direct and provide our students with the best educational experience available for success, in our rapidly changing world.
After all, it is, and always will be, about the kids and their future!
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- Candidates for Richfield School Board Race Finalized
- School Board Members Undecided About Election
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- No Richfield School Board Candidates from City's Northern, Western Sections