Question #1: What educational or other education specific based community work or experience do you have to bring to your role on the school board?
Adam Krell: First and foremost, I have the last four years of experience to draw from. School board as I would imagine any role in public service, comes with a lot to learn. There is usually a reason why something is being done the way it is even if you may not fully understand it. Over these last four years I have been able to forge relationships with our staff as well as our community. It was actually calls from those people that made me decide to run again. Outside of that I have also coached high school debate for the last 17 years, with the last four being right here at SEP.
Question #2: In your opinion, what are some of the district’s strengths and weaknesses? How do you feel you could support the strengths and turn around the weaknesses?
Adam Krell: Our staff is absolutely our strength. One of the reasons we are so successful every year is because we have the right people in the right positions. To continue to support our staff and ensure that we attract and hire new staff is our challenge. We also offer a lot of programs that students will not find at smaller schools or even school our size. That doesn’t mean that we can’t find more ways to get our students prepared for whatever step they take after they leave us.
As to a weakness - We can and need to do a better job on communication and transparency. Far too often there have not only been issues with parents getting access to important information and then even when they have known, what it actually means. We as a board need to have more open dialogue with our community, especially during times of uncertainty.
Question 3). Are you willing to listen to various viewpoints with an open mind and weigh all sides prior to making a decision? Are you willing to work with others to reach a common goal?
Adam Krell: Yes, and yes. But it needs to be clear that while I will always listen and take what I hear to heart that does not mean that I can always agree with it or allow it to change a decision. We are a district of nearly 50,000 people very rarely, if ever, will the majority agree on anything. However, over the last four years there has been many instances where we as a board have worked together to bring about good changes and opportunities for our district.
Question 4: What do you feel is the bigger obstacle facing school districts today; proper funding or proper spending?
Adam Krell: It is honestly a little bit of both. Our education model as a state and a country hasn’t changed in generations. One of the reasons for this is that it takes a great amount of will power as well as funding to undertake such a change. For so many years the message was after high school you must go to college with no thought to what career path students actually wanted to take. Over the last decade or so we have learned that not only was this not productive, but it was also in some ways harmful. What we are seeing now is a return of more hands-on tech ed style courses being added back into the curriculum and that is great. It not only adds options for our students it prepares them for jobs in fields where they can make a great living and there is a need for workers. The draw back being that a lot of the time these are some of the most expensive subjects to teach and the money has to come from somewhere.
Question 5: What are your feelings regarding equality and inclusivity? What are your strategies to make sure all students and families are treated with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation, ability, race, religion and socio-economic status?
Adam Krell: There is never a time where it is acceptable to disparage another person for their sexual orientation, ability, race, religion and socio-economic status. We have a duty and an obligation to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all families and their students. We are a district that is undergoing change. We are no longer the rural district east of Des Moines. Most of our schools and our families live in the suburbs of Altoona and Pleasant Hill. With this there has come a shift in the demographics of our student population, and it falls on the school district to try and bring together all the different parts of our community.