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Continued: Meet the candidates for two school boards

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 22, 2013 - 1:49 PM

St. Francis at-large seats

Sharon Collier, of St. Francis, says she’s running because she has four young children in the district “and I want to be a voice for parents, students and teachers.”

Collier, whose husband is a K-9 deputy with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, said she would like to see federal grant money that would enable every family in the school district to have Internet access in their homes. She sees kids with special education needs as a priority, wants the school board to keep and maintain a strict budget, and believes school board members can do a better job listening to the concerns of parents, teachers and the students themselves.”

“I want to give back to the community,” Collier said. “I have no real agenda; this is from the heart. I want to share with other communities just how great our school system is.”

 

Barbara Jahnke, of St. Francis, retired last spring from the St. Francis district after having been a school counselor for 19 years. Before that, she taught for more than a decade. She’s also been a community counselor, having worked with indigent and homeless people. And she volunteers.

“The essential voice of experience,” Jahnke said when asked to describe her assets as a candidate.

She’d like to see the district build on what she considers a strong foundation.

“We have wonderful teachers, a system that works, competitive test scores,” she said. “It’s hard to understand what goes on in a school. I’ve experienced that. I would have that to offer.”

 

Juanita Reed-Boniface, of Oak Grove, is a retiree who worked with youth development at the University of Minnesota Extension Service and has run an independent education consulting business. She chairs the Anoka County extension committee, and two months ago she was honored for her 50 years of service with 4H activities at the Minnesota State Fair. She served nine years on the Oak Grove council.

Reed-Boniface has two children who graduated from St. Francis High years ago. So, why is she running?

“I’m a high-energy person with a strong conviction for public education and equal opportunities for all kids,” she said. “Others look for short-term fixes, but with age you develop some wisdom and perspective. There are about 3,500 to 4,000 retired people in our school district and I feel they need to have a voice.”

 

David Roberts says he and his wife moved from Coon Rapids to Oak Grove with hopes of getting involved with the community. Roberts has four kids, the oldest age 7 and the youngest born a month ago. He’d like to remain on the board for a while.

“My goal is parent involvement, opening up communication between students and parents and the district itself,” Roberts said. “I’d like to see a more transparent way of doing business in the district.”

“I’m just making sure the community really feels it’s vested in what’s going on in the district,” he said.

Roberts is interested in programs and extracurricular activities for middle school students and hopes the district will explore options that will keep it competitive with neighboring districts.

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