McFarland School Board
Two 3-year terms
Ann Marie Molitor, incumbent
Ann Marie Molitor
McFarland, WI 53558
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I have had the privilege of serving on the McFarland School Board since 2013. I am currently the District Clerk and the board’s liaison to our non-instrumentality charter schools. My children have grown up in the district and have received a quality education. One is now in college, and two are at the high school. Throughout the years, I have been active in the McFarland schools and a frequent volunteer. I was also a Girl Scout leader for many years. Before my children were of school age, I chaired the village ethics board and served as the village’s municipal judge.
2. How should the district address disparities in student achievement? Understandably, there are many causes of disparities in student achievement, and many are outside the district’s control, such as inadequate nutrition, insufficient health care, and home environments that have prepared students poorly for school. However, the district can provide a safe, inclusive school environment where all students can thrive and provide additional services to those students who lag behind their peers. The district should expand quality access to extra-curricular activities, which have a positive, significant effect on student achievement. The district should continue interpreting student data, examining the evidence on what interventions have worked, and evaluating the results.
3. Are there additional steps the district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? The McFarland School District already works hard at effectively recruiting and retaining an outstanding and diverse workforce. Although the district cannot afford to pay teachers as well as some school districts in Dane County, the district has a reputation as a great district in which to work – a reputation it has earned and wants to keep. The district has a strong mentoring program, where new and new-to-the-district teachers have experienced educators to assist them from day one. The district strives to maintain smaller class sizes, and it works to provide teachers with better training and greater opportunities for professional development.
4. In this time of uncertain state and federal support for public education, what are your top three spending priorities for the district? A top spending priority is to focus on the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom: paying, training, and supporting teachers; improving curriculum; and keeping class sizes manageable. Another priority is to support our early readers and struggling readers with reading interventions. Literacy skills are an extremely reliable indicator of future success. A third priority is to address the increasing numbers of our students with emotional disorders, including clinical depression, chronic anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Teachers should receive training on how to identify and respond to mental health problems they are likely to encounter in their classrooms.
McFarland, WI 53558
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? Member of the McFarland School Board from 2005-2017. While on the Board, I championed the creation of the orchestra program, 4K Kindergarten, virtual charter schools, and the 2016 building referendum. I was a key leader in passing the 2004 school referendum. Other community activities include: Recipient of McFarland Schools’ Educational Best Awards, McFarland School Finance Task Force Member, McFarland Referendum Exploratory Committee Leader, Village of McFarland Finance Committee Member, Charter President, Sauk Trails Optimist Club, Business-Education Partnership participant. I’m an attorney practicing in business law, intellectual property, technology, real estate, and employment law.
2. How should the district address disparities in student achievement? The district already employs many strategies to address student achievement and differences in levels of achievement. Still, the effectiveness of all of the strategies depends on whether our schools have the resources to effectively implement each strategy. For example, the district must continue to provide teachers with time and resources to deliver effective supplemental instruction, monitor and provide feedback on student progress, build strong partnerships with parents and students, and identify and respond effectively to students who have different learning styles or proficiency levels.
3. Are there additional steps the district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? A commitment to increasing the number of teachers with a diversity of race, ethnicity, experiences, and backgrounds is not only a philosophical viewpoint, but having a diversity of teachers and staff provides real-life examples to minority students of future career paths and can increase academic achievement for engaging students of similar backgrounds. I know from my prior experience on the board, that our schools are committed to achieving diversity, but finding qualified candidates is challenging. We can do more to leverage communication to reach more minority candidates, for example, by increasing efforts to reach candidates outside of Dane County.
4. In this time of uncertain state and federal support for public education, what are your top three spending priorities for the district? Recruiting and retaining our excellent teachers and staff is a top issue. Making sure our teaching professionals have the time, continuing education and professional development, and resources to remain at the highest level of performance is another top issue. Although we recently passed building and operating referendums, budgets are still tight. Thus, making economical use of our funds is very important.