Every year, the citizens of New Haven elect three new school board members. This year, there are five candidates: Lauren Zobrist, Kyle Quick, Meg Parks, Mike Oetterer, and Diane White. The election date is set for April 4th.
Each candidate was interviewed and asked questions that came directly from the NHHS community. Mr. Oetterer’s responses are outlined below in order to give him a chance to speak to the community directly and to offer New Haven a better understanding of what he is all about.
Q: Why are you running for the New Haven School Board of Education?
A: I have been committed to this community for forty plus years, and I believe that I will bring a unique perspective uniting family, schools, and community in meaningful partnerships. If elected, as a board member, I will continue to be committed to the sustained improvement of student learning and performance. Our district must continue to stay focused on its goals to ensure excellence and equity and college and postsecondary preparedness and success for every student.
Q: Tell us about yourself: Where did you grow up? Do you have family? What community activities have you previously been involved in? What ties do you have to this school district?
A: I grew up in New Haven since I was in fifth grade. I graduated from New Haven High School in 1991. I currently have two daughters in New Haven High School. I have enjoyed seeing my daughters learn and grow in this “Tradition of Excellence”. As education has become more and more a part of my world, I am very passionate about wanting to represent my alma mater school district as a board member. I have been involved as a New Haven Fair Board member for 10 years. I am currently the Fair Board president. I have also been involved with 4-H for at least 10 years. I am currently the 4-H Archery Leader.
A: The school board sets the district's direction, ensures alignment of resources, policies and programs. Additionally, the board assesses and accounts for progress by utilizing data, deliberating, and communicating. Finally, it is the board's job to share the vision of the community, establish goals, and transform this vision into reality. Maintaining a high quality education and tradition is important.
Q: What is your plan to make sure students get the best education possible?
A: To ensure we stay a top rated school district, we need to continue to put students first, maintain fiscal responsibility and continue to offer new and innovative programs. By maximizing achievement, enhancing the wellbeing of all students, and upholding a sustainable budget through fiscal integrity and accountability, New Haven School District will lead the way.
Q: Why do you feel you’re a good candidate for the school board?
A: I feel that I am a good candidate to serve on the New Haven School Board because my wife and I both graduated from New Haven. We have two daughters that will also graduate from New Haven. We understand the "Tradition of Excellence" and the importance of a high quality education. Since becoming an educator myself, I understand now more than ever, the importance of preparing our students for college and the real world.
Q: What is the biggest strength of our school district?
A: Our teachers and staff are the biggest strength of our district. Having high quality educators is essential to keep New Haven ranked among one of the best schools in the state. Another strength is the dedication and support of the New Haven community. Our community supports the school whether it is raising funds for a new track, lining the parade routes while the Shamrocks go by, or sitting in the stands rooting for our favorite player.
Q: What would you like to see changed in our school district in the next few years?
A: As a new school board member, I do not have an agenda to “change” our school. Currently, I think our administration, teachers, and staff do an excellent job with all aspects of our district. My goal, as a first year school board member, would be to continue and support the “Tradition of Excellence” and learn the ins and outs of a school board member.
Q: What is your vision for the future of the New Haven School District?
A: My vision is to maintain a high quality education for our students. We need to continue to help our students succeed in student performance all the way to post-graduation. We need to maintain highly qualified teachers through high quality professional development and competitive salaries. The school needs to maintain a safe learning environment for all students. I would like to see more parent and community involvement. I would also like to see the school district continue to add new educational programs to our current ones.