Five candidates are running for three open seats on the Teton County School District No. 1 board of trustees. The position is nonpartisan.

Name: Alan Brumsted

No. 1 priority: To make sure that the students of Teton County get the best possible education that we can provide.

Brumsted retired this year after teaching at Jackson Hole High School for 27 years. Though he was ready to leave the classroom, he still wanted to be involved with the district.

“I know that we have an excellent school system, and I would like to help continue that. I have two granddaughters who will be going through the district. I want them to have the best educational experience possible.”

Through his teaching experience, Brumsted said, he understands the impacts that board decisions have on daily operations. He also served as president of the Teton County Education Association for 20 years.

“In that position I worked closely with the board on compensation and working condition issues,” Brumsted said. “I also have experience working with administrators on a variety of issues.”

What specific school safety improvements do you support?

I strongly support our current practices of having school resource officers, closed-circuit video and single entrances that require visitors to check in. Staff and students should be trained for a variety emergency situations — not just active shooters. That needs to be done every year because of staff turnover.

How will you navigate education funding cuts?

The role of the district is to educate the children of Teton County while providing a wide spectrum of opportunities. Therefore, the cuts need to have the least impact on educating the students. That will require close scrutiny of each part of the budget and weighing how a reduction will impact the educational process.

How do you think the school district should address overcrowding at the secondary level?

At the present time the middle school is feeling the squeeze, although the high numbers in those grade levels will be moving up to the high school. In the short term I think we need to look at how we are utilizing our existing space. Are there other ways of scheduling that could ease the pressure?

What’s one issue you feel strongly about and would never compromise on?

That our students and staff will be safe while they are in school.

Name: Holly Balogh

No. 1 priority: Our students deserve the most supportive learning environment, with the most qualified teachers, and the best opportunities we can provide. My highest priority is to make sure the board makes the decisions that financially and strategically set our kids up to have fulfilling, successful lives.

Through her leadership experience at Fortune 50 companies and six years as president of the JH Community Band, Holly Balogh believes she has the skills to support a student-first culture and make the Teton County School District world class. She has lived in Jackson for 16 years and is the parent of two district students.

“I’m eager to bring my financial acumen to provide a new perspective on carefully navigating budget cuts, and as a parent I want to provide a strong voice in decisions that impact our kids,” she said. “My career has spanned more than two decades in leadership roles at adult education technology companies. I’ve had the privilege of leading the Tune-Up program and teaching music to middle school and high school students. I’ve taught private music lessons to students for over 10 years. I want to be on the board to support our kids.”

What specific school safety improvements do you support?

School safety is on every parent’s mind. In 2017-18 the district improved the vestibules at existing schools, but we can do more. One solution is to ensure that school access is carefully managed during all hours and improve video monitoring. We could also increase police presence in our schools and at off-campus events. What I would never agree to is supporting teachers carrying guns in our schools.

How will you navigate education funding cuts?

We must keep budget cuts far from students. That means we set them up for success with quality teachers, staff, paras and programs that are essential to quality education. However, we need to sharpen our pencils and look to be as efficient as possible. I would look at all areas of our budget with a fresh perspective to identify cost-saving opportunities with those principles in mind.

How do you think the school district should address overcrowding at the secondary level?

It is important to look at enrollment trends prior to long-term decisions. Though we’ve hired more secondary teachers, classroom space is limited. We need to consider cost-effective solutions to address immediate needs. Can we add a second floor to the middle school? Are trailers an option? How can we best use the Stilson property?

What’s one issue you feel strongly about and would never compromise on?

I will never compromise on science-based curriculum. Our public schools must teach all subjects based on scientific evidence and facts.

Name: Keith Gingery

No. 1 priority: Ensuring that the students have the resources needed to be successful.

Keith Gingery, an incumbent running for re-election, served five terms in the state Legislature, helping to create the current education finance model and other state education policies.

“I am proud of the work that I did in the Wyoming Legislature and want to ensure that it is implemented at the local level in an effective manner,” he said.

Gingery is married to a teacher. They have a daughter in middle school.

“I want to ensure that her education and all of our children’s educations are the best that we, as a community together, can offer our children,” he said. “As a current board member I have helped to build an extremely strong and vibrant school system as a team with a stupendous school board and a super superintendent.”

What specific school safety improvements do you support?

Controlled access to buildings.

How will you navigate education funding cuts?

Ensuring that our high quality teachers remain and exceptional teachers are recruited to our schools is paramount to having a strong school system. That is done through competitive regional salaries. Prioritizing what is most important in the budget is key to making cuts. And through that process we must prioritize that retaining and attracting teachers is the key to a strong school system.

How do you think the school district should address overcrowding at the secondary level?

The state has funded a study to determine the best course of action. In the past these types of studies have provided a lot of different options that include ideas besides just building new schools or additions. But whatever decision our community makes, we need to always keep the objective of what is best for the student as our goal.

What’s one issue you feel strongly about and would never compromise on?

School safety and finding the funds to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect our children from harm.

Name: Janine Teske

No. 1 priority: Ensuring we are providing an environment where the whole child can thrive and succeed. Where the unique needs of each child are embraced and supported; where we know that each child can learn.

Teske, an incumbent seeking re-election, said she’s running because the future of our children and their education needs to be our community’s highest priority.

“While TCSD is in a good place, there is important work left to do including: safety and security, managing legislative changes that impact school funding, school and staff accountability, the ELL achievement gap and managing the demands of our growing student population and the capacity of our buildings.”

Teske said passion, experience and knowledge make her qualified for the position. As a former executive at Ford, she said, she’s spent a career leading teams to achieve results. Teske is the vice chair to the Board of Trustees and president-elect for the Wyoming School Board Association.

“I have spent years advocating for students and staff at the Legislature,” she said. “My business background ensures our dollars are well spent.”

What specific school safety improvements do you support?

We must balance living in a trusting community with addressing security. School safety is not just a school issue but a community issue. We must utilize our counselors and psychologists to intervene early with mental health issues. We need to continue to build a culture of safety including ensuring all staff are certified in active intruder training and building security enhancements are implemented.

How will you navigate education funding cuts?

Budget reductions need to be kept out of the classroom. This board worked hard to implement the legislated budget reductions in a manner that did not impact students and ensured TCSD will retain the best and brightest staff. I will continue to represent TCSD’s need for a strong compensation package and a regional cost of living adjustment that includes housing.

How do you think the school district should address overcrowding at the secondary level?

It is important that we find a solution that achieves relief in the most cost-efficient and timely fashion. Options range from adding on to existing facilities to building new. The process must involve input from the community. The board will establish a Community Collaborative Committee to obtain input and expertise from our community. My decision will be based on what I learn from the process.

What’s one issue you feel strongly about and would never compromise on?

We should never compromise on school safety and security. All students must come to school in a safe and secure environment.

Name: Nancy Porthan

No. 1 priority: Prepare myself to be a quality contributor by first gaining a complete understanding, from reliable sources, of the pressing board issues at this time and a clear understanding of my board member responsibilities.

Nancy Porthan, a teacher for 18 years, is running for the school board because she wants to “work with an effective and cohesive team of people where the shared goal is creating the best possible experiences and environments in which children and young adults can thrive and grow intellectually and emotionally toward the individual end of self-defined success.

“I have a sincere interest in quality public schools that provide great opportunities for students to embrace a positive education.”

Porthan’s resume includes a bachelor’s degree in business education, a master’s degree in school psychology and counseling, 12 years of secondary school teaching and counseling in Wyoming schools, and six years of teaching in public schools in Colorado and Minnesota.

What specific school safety improvements do you support?

In each school continue to conscientiously and rigorously implement appropriate training for both staff and students on effective responses to calculated threats of violence.

How will you navigate education funding cuts?

I will rely heavily on the power of a strong team that has the strength to agree and disagree unselfishly toward the end of most benefit for the greater good.

How do you think the school district should address overcrowding at the secondary level?

Keep an open mind to long-term options of new construction, likely on the Teton Village parcel, and, in the short term, serious consideration of the idea of innovating and repurposing use of current facilities as need be. Also, possible strategic use of year-round school calendars in some instances.

What’s one issue you feel strongly about and would never compromise on?

Schools are welcoming and accepting places that address each student as an individual with needs that vary on their pathways to success.

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079, schools@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGschools.

Kylie Mohr covers the education and health beats. Mohr grew up in Washington and came to Wyoming via Georgetown. She loves seeing the starry night sky again.

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