Name: Leslie Green
Family: Wife, four children, four grandchildren
Employment: Retired administrator and faculty member of St. Cloud State University
1. Please share your background and relevant experience?
I’ve been a resident of the St. Cloud area for more than 40 years. I’ve been involved in St. Cloud public education as a student, a teacher, an administrator, a father and as the spouse of a District 742 teacher. In those roles I’ve experienced education from a variety of vantage points.
I have a broad range of experiences, perspectives and integrating style that facilitates discussion and helps the decision-making process. I’ve served on several boards and commissions and understand the importance of and difference between policy-making and operational boards.
I have worked with school district administrators in St. Cloud and as a consultant in other districts. I understand the passion, desire for excellence, and the work ethic of teachers, support staff and other district employees. I also understand school board members must be accountable to the public and make decisions that will result in long-range as well as short-term benefits to the community and its citizens.
I listen to the opinions of our constituents and consider how these varied, legitimate points of view can be converted into policy that represents not only a positive and effective collaboration but also a fair representation of the will of the taxpayers.
I believe education is the foundation of the American dream. It’s critical each citizen understands our economic, political and social system and is provided with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed in our nation. The quality of our educational system determines how prepared our people will be to take their place as responsible citizens in a democratic society.
2. What is the school district’s biggest issue?
I see the district’s biggest issue is to ensure our students get an education that provides them with an understanding of the political, economic and social nature of our society and that impresses upon them the value and role education, skills development and attitude have in the successful pursuit of happiness in America. This is especially true for the new residents and for people who have not experienced success in America.
3. If elected, how do you propose to address this issue?
With a very purposeful focus on supporting programs, policies and people that serve the best interest of the educational responsibility of the district. Second, to offer my experience and expertise as a compliment to strategy policy formulation that can have success with a very diverse population.
4. If the school district is forced to make budget cuts, what areas are off limits?
I don’t believe any area is “off-Limits.” A very good man in our community once told me, “if you create sacred cows, then you will need sacrificial lambs.” It seems more reasonable to make “global adjustments” than to attempt to identify what we can “do without.”
5. What areas would you cut?
That is a developmental process I am very happy not to be in. It is the district administration’s responsibility to formulate an operational budget that supports our mission to provide safe and effective educational buildings and programs that serve the best interest of the students. The people who are working day-to-day and face-to-face are in the best position to determine how cuts in certain areas will impact safety and/or educational delivery. When that budget is formulated the board’s responsibility is to be assured it promotes the mission of the district.
6. What are the school district’s strongest assets and weaknesses?
The very diverse membership of the board is its greatest asset and probably its greatest weakness. The board has a high degree of intellectual power, operational experience and compassion. That mix will assure good decisions but often requires more time and information. Finite budgets force hard decisions that affect many people in many ways. Caring about what happens to people is an asset, but it also means an emotional investment in the decisions we make that may not always provide good emotional returns.