Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet the School Board Candidates

September 13th is an important day for the Hudson Community School District, because on that day we will elect two new members to the Board of Directors. Long time Board Members Maureen Hanson and Trent Goodnight have decided not seek re-election.  Tanya Higgins and Karyn Finn have filed paperwork for the election, and we thought it would be a good idea for you to learn a little more about them. I had the opportunity to have lunch with both candidates yesterday and get to know them better.  You will be impressed with the passion they share for education and the enthusiasm they have for board service.  To help you learn more about our candiates, I posed a few general questions to each of them. 

Tanya Higgins
Where did you grow up, go to school, college, and where do you work?  I grew up in northeast Ohio, a small town called North Jackson.  My husband also grew up in this town and our family still lives there.  I attended Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio.  It was a parochial high school and afforded me the opportunity to take honors classes.  My undergraduate was completed at Youngstown State University with a degree in Materials Engineering.  I graduated Cum Laude.  My Master's degree was completed at University of Wisconsin, Madison and is a Master of Engineering, Professional Practice.  Upon graduation from Youngstown State University, I worked in a manufacturing facility in Ohio and a steel mill in Kentucky before joining Johne Deere, where I have worked for the last 10 years.  I am the A&T Division Quality Deployment Manager for North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Tell us about your family. 
My husband and I have been married for 17 years.  We have 2 daughters, Peyton (10th grade) and Reese (7th grade).  At school, our daughters are involved in academic clubs, athletics, and the arts.  Outside of school, they are both accomplished riders and show horses in the hunter/jumper discipline.  The rest of our family still lives in northeast Ohio.

What drew you to board service? 
Honestly, there was a need.  I have children in the school district and have always been involved in their activities and in their education.  I have a great amount of respect for our past board members.  It is not an easy job and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made, especially in today's environment.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing education in Iowa? 
The report released this summer by the Iowa Department of Education detailing the overall decline in Iowa academic achievement scores from 1992-2009 in math and reading is very concerning.  Other states and countries are passing us up which will ultimately limit the opportunities available to our students.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing education in Hudson? 
Given the status of the economy today, we must be more creative in how we use all of the resources available to us so that our students are fully prepared to be globally competitive.

What do you hope to accomplish by serving on the Boad? 
I hope to find a way to continue the great traditions and reputation that the Hudson School District has and to strengthen the learning environment to give our children an advantage when entering college and the job market.  Personally, I hope to further develop my leadership skills and strengthen the community where I live.

Karyn Finn
Where did you grow up, go to school, college, and where do you work? 
I grew up in Metairie, Louisiana just 5 blocks from the parish line of New Orleans “The Big Easy”. I attended parochial school from K-8th  grade. Yes, uniforms and tradition like you wouldn’t believe. I attended Archbishop Chapelle High School, an all-girls school (1200 total students), in a class of 300 still in plaid skirt & white shirt uniforms. Chapelle HS was then and continues to be a model of educational excellence, focused on preparing confident young women for the future.  College preparation was a very important part of the program and I have to admit I was well prepared for entry into college without taking any college classes in HS.   I earned my Bachelor of Science in Physical Education-Athletic Training from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.  I also earned an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology from Kirkwood Community College. This Fall 2011 I will add to that a Master of Arts in Community Health Education.   My Grandfather who was an immigrant from Mexico in the late 1920’s always said “get an education; it is something that can open doors and can never be taken away”. It was a true statement then and is especially true now in preparing our children for the future: forward-thinking innovative education will be the key.

Tell us about your family. 
Our family moved to Hudson 12 years ago due to work at UNI and since then Hudson has grown on us in ways that I would never have imagined. I have to admit that those first couple of years I wondered if we shouldn’t be in one of the bigger towns to the north but could never justify leaving the hidden benefits of living in a small town with access.  Needless to say, we stayed and have enjoyed raising our three children, Juliann, Ryan and Carmen in Hudson. Kevin, my husband, is a professor at UNI in Exercise Science. I was a part-time instructor for UNI Kindergym for 10 years and also worked at Covenant Medical Center in Surgical Services for 7 years.

What drew you to board service?
After the challenging events of last year in meeting budgets and providing continued excellence in academics for the students of Hudson I thought that there is no better time to get off the sidelines and get into the game than now. In July I considered greater involvement in the community especially in education. I spoke with current and previous school board members to get a better feel for the obligations and expectations of the role.  I was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and support that I received during these discussions.  Since that time I walked the neighborhoods in Hudson to get the petition signatures needed from community members; some with children in the district and many with grown children that were educated in Hudson.  It was an interesting few days during which I gained a new respect for community service.  The opportunity to listen to concerns and ideas from across generations is at the same time overwhelming and inspiring.  The Hudson people are passionate and steadfast with pride in the community. I am glad to count myself among the citizens with pride in Hudson, IA.  The challenges continue and it is in the best interest of the community to have a school that continues to have a great reputation in providing excellence in education and activities that prepare students for future opportunities locally and globally.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing education in Iowa?
The greatest challenge for education in Iowa is to be caught resting on the laurels of past performance and reputation without adapting the vision to be a leader in cutting-edge educational preparation for future job skills both locally and abroad. 

What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing education in Hudson?
The greatest challenge for Hudson is how to prepare our youth with an eye toward an ever changing world.  I tell my kids all the time that the world is bigger than your own backyard.  Hudson has had a great reputation for excellence in education but we need to continue to press forward with a unified vision.  We need to look beyond enrollment and budgets by tapping into our community talent pool during this financially challenging time.  By more effectively utilizing our citizen assets and building partnerships to capitalize on available resources, I have great confidence that we will prevail. Hudson will become a stronger school and community that will attract more families to our town, just as our family was drawn here 12 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Quality candidates who will do an outstanding job. Thank you, in advance, for your service.