Verona Area School Board

Candidates:

Portion 2 / Fitchburg

Three-year term
Vote for One

Amy Almond, Incumbent

At-large

One Three-year term
One one-year term
Vote for two

The candidate who receives the most votes will serve the three-year term.

Noah Roberts, Incumbent
Deborah Biddle


Portion 2/Fitchburg

Amy Almond

Fitchburg, WI 53719
maalmond7@gmail.com

1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I wish to serve on the school board to ensure quality services to students and to serve my community. I have an economics/business law degree from Central Michigan University. Currently, I am an Administrative Manager for Wipfli CPAs and Consultants. My other work experience includes assisting a risk manager, investment analyst, CFO, banking and mortgage office, and purchasing departments. My husband Mark and I have three children, two are recent graduates of VASD, the youngest is in 10th grade. I volunteer at my church, for Occupaws guide dog association, and I am a current member of the Jamestown neighborhood association.

2. How should your district address disparities in student achievement? Every district should take steps to address disparities in student achievement. I support a multifaceted approach by providing adequate training for staff, engaging community services, and support for students. Step one is to acknowledge that disparities exist. We must utilize data points to find areas to target for improvement. It is critical to have the staff and administration working together to meet this challenge and provide a continuous improvement process to realize success. There are many programs to choose from, however, it is the thoroughness of training, implementing, supporting and follow through that is necessary to help any program succeed.

3. Are there additional steps your district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? VASD struggled to achieve a diverse workforce, it was not for lack of effort. Our objective was to have staff that represented our community. Students requested to have staff that “looked like them.” The district created a “grow your own” teacher program by utilizing community connections. Instead of traveling to find new staff, we decided to focus internally. We provided help for support staff to become teachers. We offered scholarships to our students to go to college, attain a teaching degree, and return to teach at VASD. The best people to teach our students are already here in our community.

4. Is there an issue that particularly motivates you to serve on the school board? I have enjoyed serving on the school board and being an intermediary between families, students, staff, and community. The issues are challenging and engaging. The policy work is never finished, updating and creating policies that provide guidance. However, finishing the referendum projects and strategic plan are my current motivation. The new high school and district renovations will be complete in the Fall of 2020. We have made great strides this year to establish a new strategic plan and goals for the district. We haven’t finished this work and I would like very much to have the opportunity to do that.


At-Large

NoahRoberts.jpg

Noah Roberts

Fitchburg, WI 53711
noah.roberts16@gmail.com
Facebook: Noah Roberts - Member of the Verona Area School Board

1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? As a recent graduate of VASD, I bring the unique perspective of a former student with unparalleled insight into the challenges facing our students and schools. Over the past few years, I’ve had the honor to serve as president of the Verona Area School Board, where we’ve worked hard to build systems of good governance from the ground up and have begun to tackle some of our most persistent issues. Through my service, I’ve emphasized listening to the community, to parents, staff, and students. Through this process, I have built relationships that allow me to work collaboratively to solve problems.

2. How should your district address disparities in student achievement? Over the past year, under my leadership as Board President, the VASD School Board developed its first-of-a-kind, community-driven, equity-based strategic plan. Through this process, 30 community members helped develop district-wide goals and strategic objectives aimed at eliminating disparities in student outcomes, focusing on the effective use of resources and accelerating growth in our students. Through our brand-new equitable resource model, the school district will vet every decision it makes to ensure that each decision is supported by our strategic plan and its objectives. By eliminating barriers and increasing access to opportunity, we can help all of our students find success.

3. Are there additional steps your district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? VASD has a lot of room to improve when it comes to cultivating and maintaining a thriving workplace for all of our staff. As part of our strategic plan, the priority at the foundation of all our work is “supporting and empowering staff.” As I’ve done since I was first elected to the Board, I will continue to listen to and value staff feedback, and ensure that staff have a voice in the decision-making process. If we want to tackle our toughest challenges, we need to listen to the people who work with our students on a daily basis.

4. Is there an issue that particularly motivates you to serve on the school board? I’ve worked really hard to build the foundational structures and systems at the board and district level to ensure that we are in a strong position to take on our toughest challenges. Now that we’ve adopted a new continuous improvement governance model, developed a new strategic plan, and constructed a transparent, accountable resource allocation process, I am eager to take on student safety and mental health, overhaul our social-emotional learning and behavior policies, and reduce disparities in student outcomes. These are the issues our community members, staff, and students have identified as priorities and I’m committed to addressing them.


DeborahBiddle.jpg

Deborah Biddle

Verona, WI 53593
debbiddle4schoolboard@gmail.com
Facebook: Deborah Biddle for Verona Area School Board

1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I am the founder of The People Company LLC, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. I’ve worked as a collegiate adjunct instructor, entrepreneur-in-residence, talent management coach, school district consultant, corporate controller, and financial analyst. I have a bachelor’s degree in finance and master’s degree in business administration. Married to Lloyd for nearly 30 years and Verona residents for over 12 years, we have two sons who’ve graduated from VASD. I serve the community through several organizations, including Madison Downtown Rotary, United Way of Dane County, Madison Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Africasong, Inc.

2. How should your district address disparities in student achievement? At each school, set clearly defined and measurable high expectations for academic excellence and conduct that results in a culture of achievement and support. Develop an achievement-oriented culture that focuses on each student’s needs, skills, and interests. Highly engage and involve students, parents and teachers in a commitment to excellence. Combine high educational expectations along with an emphasis on character development delivered by culturally sensitive and competent educators and support staff. Invest in educator and support staff training and development. Ensure schools are safe, equitable, responsive, structured and nurturing environments, so that all students learn and grow.

3. Are there additional steps your district should take to effectively recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse workforce? Create a talent pipeline and cultivate inclusive, supportive environments to retain diverse workers. Approach talented candidates individually, post jobs online, develop strategic partnerships with colleges and universities. Leverage technology, social media and personal networks to attract talent. Establish partnerships with colleges and universities for teacher residency and Grow Your Own teacher preparation programs. Work on ways to compensate teachers similarly to college-educated professionals in other fields and provide teachers with the resources they need to do their jobs well. Invest in and develop high quality onboarding and mentoring programs to support educator development. Implement and enhance principal preparation programs.

4. Is there an issue that particularly motivates you to serve on the school board? I am running for school board to be part of the effort to advance student achievement in Verona area schools. As a school board member, I will work to ensure students are prepared for success in college, the workplace, and life. As our community grows, I want to ensure excellent education and be a voice for all parents and students, including those of diverse backgrounds. I want to see Verona Area School District be one in which teachers are equipped to teach all students equitably, at high levels and with high expectations, so that every student thrives.