MEET NICOLE

Name the three top reasons you decided to run for school board.

I believe St. Cloud Public Schools can do better – we need to refocus our curricula on those basic disciplines and skills to prepare our students to function effectively and succeed in society; and to achieve that, our academic proficiencies must be improved. I want to be a positive voice that represents the
parental perspective, establish strong academic standards, and prepare our students to be good citizens today and always.

What are the best strengths and the worst weaknesses of current public education in St. Cloud schools? How can they be made better?

The chief strength of the district is the dedicated and professional teaching staff who faithfully serve an astonishingly diverse student population. But we must also ask ourselves if this concentration on a micro-level of care leading us to a point that we unintentionally lower our standards and expectations for the broader student population? An effective school board must be constantly self-reflective, honestly evaluate the intentions of its policies and initiatives, celebrate the successes, and admit failures, and be willing to adjust, all in the context of what is best for our students.

There are so many controversies swirling around public education these days: CRT, questionable books, grooming and gender distortions, shaming of "white" students, anti-American ideas, can you address some of thiese things?

There are too many controversial issues creeping into public education that distract from the chief intent of sincere academic pursuit. It is reprehensible that our schools are integrating social ideologies into the curriculum that unintentionally seek to divide students, teachers, and parents. Moreover, it is abhorrent that Minnesota is seeking to modify criteria for teacher licensure and social studies standards to elevate such ideologies as critical race theory, white shaming, sexification of young students, over genuine academic proficiency. Furthermore, I encourage voters to consider the subject of behavior management plans. Schools and staff should help students feel safe. No single identity group should have a greater voice than any others because truly a bias toward one only suppresses others. School spaces, teachers, and staff must remain neutral and accept every person equally. We must admit that we’ve invested resources into some programming that simply is not working and support our teachers by providing content-rich curricula. We need to raise the bar academically and press toward successful outcomes for all.

How can schools be made more secure against the horrible potential of mass school shootings and other incidents of violence?

Secured entrances and secondary screening points are necessary to control access for people coming into school spaces. Staff members have admitted that it’s unnerving to see so many people gain easy entrance into the building yet have no idea of where to go or how to reach the main office.  During class periods, E-passes, and open spaces must be better monitored.

Some teachers are feeling burn-out and leaving the profession. Are there ways to stop that?

By providing teachers and support staff with the tools they need, we can help them preserve their personal time. We keep asking for more from them without providing the tools and time necessary for implementation. We can support them with an effective behavior management plan and respond quickly to requests for assistance. Appropriate disciplinary action must be administered uniformly and without preference.  

Please give a paragraph or two about your background: education, jobs, experiences, skills.

I am an educator, mom and concerned community member. I have been married to my husband Mark for 22 years. We have 4 children, and our first grandchild is due in October. I have enjoyed a broad and diverse career track.  When my children were young, I owned and operated a licensed home daycare. I’ve operated a sole-proprietor jewelry business and functioned as an independent contractor working for several mortgage companies.  My time in the school district included serving as a long call substitute, assessment specialist, short-term substitute teacher, and culminated as a Special Education Teacher. Presently I am employed in the field of sales and marketing.  I have had many careers over the years but never at the expense of my family, and this has led me to my ambition to serve on the St. Cloud Public School Board.

Nicole's Interview with WJON

Rierson has been a resident of St. Cloud for 24 years, and a teacher in the district for 20, ending her career as an assessment specialist. The mother of four and grandmother of a newborn, her main concern is district policies are not being implemented at the individual school level. Her experience writing Individual Education Plans for students has made her focus on setting goals that are measurable and attainable. She also wants to make the board a welcoming place for all to feel safe voicing their opinions.

 

I have a unique perspective into the day to day workings of the school and what actual policy and procedure means in the classroom and in the school. We have great ideas - everybody is always bringing beautiful ideas on how things can be improved. However, we're often not giving our teachers and staff the resources and the time to actually implement them.


Read More: Election 2022: Six Candidates For Three Seats on District 742 | https://wjon.com/election-2022-six-candidates-for-three-seats-on-district-742-school-board/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

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