Profiles of the candidates for District 84 Board of Education

Joleen Dittbenner, incumbent candidate for District 84 Board of Education.

Biographical information: I have been a member of this community my entire life. I have been employed full time by BIC Graphic since 1996. When not working, my daughters keep me busy running to basketball, volleyball and softball. My husband, Craig, is a full-time dairy farmer and we have three daughters. Courtney, our oldest, is a junior this year; Brittney, our middle child, is a ninth grader; and Destiney, our youngest, is a third grader. I have served as secretary, vice president and president on the WELCA group as well as a member of the Christian Education board at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye and currently volunteer as a Sunday school teacher there. I am currently serving my second two-year term as president of the Sleepy Eye Public School Basketball Boosters. I have served on the Board of Education for four years and would like to continue.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education? As my children are getting older, I've realized that even though I'm not a teacher, there are other ways I can make a difference in their education besides helping with homework at night and attending parent teacher conferences. I look at this as an opportunity to help make a difference for all of the kids in our school district.

What two or three issues the school district deals with do you feel are most important? Include your view on the issues:

•While funding is always a concern, I believe our district does a good job of balancing budgets and controlling spending.

•The education our kids receive should always be our first priority. We need to prepare our children, so that when they go out into the world on their own, they can be successful adults. We need to keep students interested in learning and I think it's important to offer our high school students a variety of classes to choose from. Part of helping our students be successful is supporting our teachers and staff, because without them we have no school.

•Technology is constantly changing and we need to make sure we are keeping up with current technology. My hope would be that we can someday soon have iPads for every elementary student in addition to the high school students. It's really quite amazing what the elementary students can already do with the iPads they share.

What is your vision for the future for Sleepy Eye Public School?

My vision for the future of Sleepy Eye Public School is a place where ALL students and staff can excel. I believe we've got a solid foundation that we need to keep building on.

Jeremy Domeier, candidate for District 84 Board of Education.

Biographical information: I have been a life-long resident of Sleepy Eye. I graduated in 2000 from Sleepy Eye Public and am a graduate of Minnesota West Community College. I recently accepted a position to work at MBW as a community support supervisor. I also work at the Sleepy Eye Care Center as a nurse. I have been married to my wife Nicole for 10 years and together we have two sons, Nolan who is 11 and Hayden who is six. Both of our children attend Sleepy Eye Public School.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education? Both my father and my uncle served on the school board years ago and were very influential in helping Sleepy Eye Public school become the school that it is today. I want to be a part of that legacy and serve on the school board not only because my children attend there, but to help serve the community I call home. I want to help continue the success of Sleepy Eye Public School.

What two or three issues the school district deals with do you feel are most important? Include your view on the issues: I think funding is always an issue when it comes to operating a public school. Without funding from local, state and federal resources, school budgets begin to grow tighter and tighter. The current school board has done an amazing job and I would like to continue that and help Sleepy Eye Public maintain high enrollment numbers, great staff and a great curriculum for our children here in Sleepy Eye.

What is your vision for the future for Sleepy Eye Public School? Sleepy Eye Public will continue to grow in excellence and it will strive to give the best education possible to our children. My vision for the future is that Sleepy Eye Public will continue to offer the best educational experience around and meet the needs of our families right here in Sleepy Eye.

Curtis Hecht, candidate for District 84 Board of Education.

Biographical information: My wife, Kathy, (who works at Mark Thomas) and I have lived in Sleepy Eye since 2002. We have two children who attend SEPS, Crystal, who is in the ninth grade; and Kayla in fourth. I have owned my own business and am currently employed with LIP Waste & Recycle out of Mankato, where I served on their safety committee. I have actively participated in programs at SEPS as well as coaching girls’ basketball. I graduated from Windom High School and received a diploma from the School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education? I hope to establish and maintain the boards’ policies while helping to adopt new ones. I will strive to work with the Administration to ensure that the needs of the school are met while voicing my concerns and working to achieve the goals of the community.

What two or three issues the school district deals with do you feel are most important? Include your view on the issues: One issue I feel is important and would like to see improved is having more families get involved in the school. There are many programs that could use parental involvement. By giving some of your time, you are making memories that last forever. This not only benefits your own children, but the lives of others as well. It is not as hard as you would think. How do you know if you don’t try? Many of these programs can’t go on without our parents’ support.

What is your vision for the future for Sleepy Eye Public School? My vision for the future of SEPS is to have a board that is unified in achieving our goals while displaying pride for our students and their value to the community.

Darla Remus, incumbent candidate for District 84 Board of Education.

Biographical information:  •Married to Steve for 34 years, we have four awesome children and two great-grandsons: Sam, wife Jennifer and Jackson, age 10, and Maxwell, age three; daughters Vanessa, Sydney and husband Andrew Geiger, and Karrah. We are all graduates of Sleepy Eye Public School. •I have been doing childcare for 31 years. •Member of Japanese Martyrs Church and CCW member. •On numerous Booster clubs. •President of Sleepy Eye Area Fastpitch Association Softball. •On Sleepy Eye District 84 Board of Education for 12 years, on which I serve as Board chair. •Also through this, I am Board chair on Riverbend School, and a member of South Central Service Coop board.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education? I like to be involved in the school’s operation. I like to help with making sure our children get a great education here.

What two or three issues the school district deals with do you feel are most important? Include your view on the issues:  •Being fiscally sound. •Helping in student achievement and helping close the achievement gap. •Staying a Blue Ribbon elementary school and getting the high school to the same status.

What is your vision for the future for Sleepy Eye Public School? We will stay strong with changing times in technology and teacher shortages. We will continue to offer a positive atmosphere and know every child deserves a quality education.