Who you vote for entirely depends on what you are looking for in a School Board member. For me, I value people that think for themselves and are not afraid to share their opinions. At this point, I think the Board really needs a healthy dose of new AND old perspectives. The role of the Board is to support the recommendations of the Superintendent and his administrative team, as a group, but it is important that Board members are allowed to express their thoughts and views on those recommendations respectfully and without judgement. The goal is to provide healthy and constructive feedback to the Superintendent so the needs of the staff and students are being fulfilled properly and the voice of the community members is heard. Being an educator or having a background in education can be beneficial, of course, but it doesn’t automatically make someone a better candidate. In my mind, being an engaged, caring citizen of a community that wants to participate in the process in a genuine way should be the largest determining factor. Whether you are a parent or have no children, or you have small children not in school yet, or you are a senior citizen that cares about this school district and how your taxes are spent, you are eligible to represent your fellow townspeople. From what I know and what I have seen, these two candidates have the qualities of what embodies a good Board of Education member.

I know Christa Sorensen as an independent thinker who is not hesitant about speaking her mind when it comes to issues that she is passionate about. She has professional experience that has provided her with skills that would be incredibly helpful on the Board of Education. She has navigated budgets, collaborated with people for years (in fact, continues to) and has the type of dedication that is necessary to fill this role. She does her homework and is very thorough in her research so that she can make informed decisions.

Mike McGovern’s years of service on the Board of Education speak for themselves. Anyone that has attended a Board meeting during Mr. McGovern’s tenure has been witness to his ability to participate in civil discussions and even healthy disagreements from time to time. He asks insightful questions so that he can evaluate the situation extensively and determine his feeling on it and then does not waiver. To me, that is the essence of a true representative of a community and something we need to see more of, basically, everywhere.

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Every year I have lived here, more and more people turn out to run for this elected position and I genuinely hope that trend continues. On November 3rd, I am proud to support Christa Sorensen and Mike McGovern for the Sparta Board of Education and I urge you to do the same.

(The views and opinions expressed in this letter are my own and do not represent the Sparta Board of Education.)

Sincerely,

Jennifer Grana