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GR School Board election candidates

September 3, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

Rod Brockett

My name is Rod Brockett. I am finishing my first term on the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School Board and am running for a second term. I live in Reinbeck with my wife of 24 years, Mardel, and our three children: Kelly is a sophomore at UNI, Sadie is in 12th grade and Paul is in 8th grade. We moved to Reinbeck in 2004, so I could work for Peterson Contractors, Inc. as Assistant Controller. I am a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant currently serving as Controller for Peterson Contractors, Inc.

I have been active in the school and with my church for many years. I served four years on the Gladbrook-Reinbeck District Advisory Committee, serving one year as chair. I have been Treasurer for the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Fine Arts Boosters for the past ten years. I am Chairman of the Finance Council at Holy Family Catholic Parish. I served for two years as Grand Knight for the local council of the Knights of Columbus that is affiliated with my church.

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Rod Brockett

Having served one term on the school board, I am prepared to help lead the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School District for the next four years. I still believe, as I did four years ago, that the primary goal for any school district is to have their students graduate high school and become productive citizens, whether they choose to go to college, develop a technical skill or join the workforce. The school board has had to make difficult decisions since I was elected four years ago. I have tried to make these decisions calmly and rationally with the best interest of the students as my priority. I feel I am qualified to help our district make fiscally responsible choices without compromising the quality of the education our students receive.

I will do what I can to work with other school board members, administration, and teachers to help our students be successful.

Christine Farley

My name is Christine Farley and I am running for a seat on the Gladbrook- Reinbeck School Board. I live one mile south of Reinbeck on J Ave. My husband, Justin, and I have lived here for 7 years. Justin works for Watson Painting in Reinbeck and we have two sons; Tommy who is going into 1st grade, and Easton who will be in 4 year old preschool. I work as an administrative assistant at Pioneer in Reinbeck. I graduated from Gladbrook-Reinbeck in 2004 and have an associate's degree in civil and construction engineering technology from Hawkeye Community College. I enjoy sports of all kinds and hanging out with my family and friends.

I have not been on a school board before, but I am currently on the Little Rebels Preschool board and am Secretary of the Little Rebels Learning Center board. The reason I am running for a seat on the school board is so that I can do all that I can, to allow our students to have the best experience possible and receive the best education that they can get anywhere in the area. We have an amazing school system with excellent academics and extra-curricular activities and we offer many opportunities for students that they can only get at G-R, and I hope to keep us on the leading edge. I have been so impressed with our administration and staff; they do an amazing job of focusing on the kids and their education, while working to constantly improve their educational experience. I am proud to be a G-R graduate and proud to have my kids in the G-R school system, and I hope that everyone will get out and vote to keep our GREAT school district!

Susan Kerns Petersen

I have worked in ag business for nearly 30 years and I've had the opportunity to work with many farmers from both Tama and Grundy counties. It is my goal to continue building positive relationships with all communities served in our district. I firmly believe we are stronger together.

Douglas Rowe

My name is Douglas Rowe. I was raised in, graduated from, and live in Gladbrook. I am married to Andrea (Knaack, from Reinbeck), and she currently teaches a variety of subjects at Gladbrook-Reinbeck JH/SH School. I have a son Alex who graduated from GR and is an Imaging Specialist at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo and farms north of Reinbeck. And a daughter, Corissa who graduated from GR, who also teaches at GR. She is married to Kyle Snider. They reside in Reinbeck.

I have been serving on the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School board for over 10 years. During that time many changes have been made, some good and some not so good. During my time on the board, I have worked with a number of great board members and five Superintendents. For the most part, my time serving on the board has been enjoyable, however the last couple have not been enjoyable.

Since the first of the year, I have talked to several people from the Gladbrook area to see if they would be willing to run, but no one would commit. If you would have asked me 6 months ago if I was going to run from re-election, I would have told you "NO." But as I sat on the stage handing diplomas to our graduates, (one of them my nephew), I realized that I would miss being a part of the GR School Board.

Regardless what you think about the dissolution vote and no matter how it turns out the Gladbrook area needs a voice. And yes, I know that I would represent the entire district; I believe that if you review my record you would see that has always been the case. I talked with my wife, my kids, friends, and board members and I decided to put my name on the ballot again.

GR has faced a number of issues. Over the past years, we moved kids from one attendance center to another to improve our financial position. And yes, the decision to close the Gladbrook building was one them. Being honest, I was against this move and still am, HOWEVER being a good board member means that you continue to work for the district, the students, and the tax payers even when a vote doesn't go your way. As hard as that was for me personally, I am proud of my record.

Why do I mention this? GR is facing steady or declining enrollment in the future. Since 2003 our enrollment has dropped an average of 2.5 percent per year. The loss of students to open enrollment is large. (FYI, I have spoken out over the years asking people to not open enroll.) The state funding is nowhere near what we need to have to just meet the increases in expenses. And that doesn't look to getting better in the next couple years. As board members and tax payers, we need to contact our elected representatives from the top down and tell them need to reform education funding.

In the last couple months, we have heard positive news from the Little Rebels Learning Center about their space needs due to increased numbers. And last month the Crayon Corner has also reported a space issue due increased numbers. Now we need to support both centers as we hope their increasing numbers results in more children in the GR Schools in the future. And preliminary reports indicate our enrollment at GR will be the same or higher than last year. This is one method to increase our revenue.

On the other side however, is the fact that we need to watch our spending, we need to be creative when looking at new programs and ways to increase revenue. If we do not, our unspent balance projections will force GR to make more tough decisions. And yes, it is still trending down and would be worse without the $400,000 gift that went into the general fund. Not my words, but Gary Sinclair's words from a meeting a few months when he was presenting our 5 year projections.

People have asked me, why are you running? Are you insane? Maybe, or maybe it was that my kids were the 4th generation to graduate from the high school building. Maybe it has something to do with Andrea and Corissa teaching at GR. The reason I am running is I believe that I can provide leadership, the experience, and the desire to make GR the best it can be for staff, students, and the taxpayer.



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