Dr. Molly Vogt
Family: Husband Tim (engineering professor, (St. Cloud State Unversity). Children Sam (SMS, Grade 7) Grace (SMS, Grade 5) and Billy (ORE, Grade 3). Dog: Sadie (1 year old)
Employment: Student-teacher supervisor at St. Cloud State University.
1. Please share relevant background and experiences
I have had the fortunate opportunity to have served as a teacher for seven years, a principal for 15 years and as an adjunct professor in higher education for three years. My degrees include a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational leadership. I am licensed as an elementary teacher, district superintendent and a K-12 principal. In addition, I have had the opportunity to consult on a variety of educational topics throughout the state of Minnesota. Most importantly, I am the mother of three fantastic children. My family is actively involved in many community activities, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, Sapphire gymnastics, Just For Kix dance, Celebration Church activities, Girl Scouts, St. John’s Boys’ Choir and Community Education soccer and softball. A more detailed biography can be found at www.mollyvogtforschoolboard.com.
2. What, in your opinion, is the major issue facing the school district?
One reason my family and I moved to the Sartell-St. Stephen area was because of the school district’s many strengths. We have strong teachers, cooks, clerks, custodians and administrators. We have outstanding programming using best practices in education today. I have observed effective instructional practices in our classrooms that are continually changing and improving. Our test scores indicate we are exceeding the standards set by the State of Minnesota and, more importantly, we are on track to meet the needs of every learner. We are fortunate to have fantastic opportunities and experiences in a safe environment for our children. I believe we need to disseminate this information along to the community in a clear and concise manner. We need a communication system that not only expresses what is happening in our schools but also provides an avenue for all stakeholders to provide feedback and input to our schools that is both valued and addressed. An effective two-way communication system is an area I would like to address.
3. How would you address that issue, if elected?
If elected, I would hope to be a part of a cohesive leadership team with a clearly defined vision. With communication being a part of that vision, I would hope to create a comprehensive communication plan that would open up the district’s activities to all residents. I would like to see our school board utilize technology to televise the school board meetings for the public to view. I would like to see a summary of the school board minutes emailed to our constituents in the same manner our middle school sends out weekly reminders to our parents and students. We need a system that would allow individuals a way to give feedback and input into the decisions that are being made for our children. We must involve all our community – the city council, our senior citizens, local businesses, our religious affiliates, local youth teams, the arts community, students and parents in the decisions we are making in our school district.
4. If the school district is forced to make cuts, in which areas would you make the cuts?
I believe in strong, effective programs in all areas, including the academics, arts, athletics and activities. In this case, as in any major decision-making process, I would support a comprehensive study of all areas prior to making any cuts in our budget.
5. What are the top strengths and the most serious weaknesses in the district?
As I expanded on earlier, I believe our top strengths include the people who are interacting with our children on a daily basis, our programming, our safe school environment and our strong community. The area I feel is our most serious weakness is the development of our leadership team. I envision the Sartell Area School Board members as experts on leadership actions that have been proven to increase student achievement. Not only would we be experts in overseeing the planning, monitoring, communicating and implementing of programs, but also we would be supporters and advocates for all children and programs. In addition, I believe school board experts should have a strong understanding of the standards required in programs our district offers, while displaying knowledge in the areas of curriculum, assessment and instruction. It would be vital we would create an environment that promotes a culture for learning that is both fiscally responsible and inclusive of all children and adults. Children and our community should be our first priority.
6. How do you feel about the introduction of advertising in school buildings by companies that give “perks” in exchange for those advertisements?
I would use caution when accepting perks from companies for advertising. In this case, I would expect a task force would take the time to research the topic with legal advice. My first instinct is to look closely at two areas: code of conduct and ethics, as well as conflict of interest.