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School Board District Three candidate: Alex Ackermann

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By The Staff

Alex Ackermann   Age: 47   Address: 1395 Old Calvary Pike, Lebanon, Kentucky  40033   Educational background: University of Central Florida, Electrical Engineering   Work Experience: Active Present School Board Member for the past 3 years PTO President, Calvary Elementary for 7 years PTO President, Lebanon Middle School for 3 years Bookkeeper, Lebanon Physicians for Women Owner/Operator, Green Acres Vineyard, Marion County, Ky Legal Secretary, Stites and Harbison for 4 years Branch Secretary, Prudential-Bache Securities for 3 years   Family Information:  I have a wonderful husband, Dr. Mark Ackermann, and two young daughters.  Andrea is in 10th grade at Marion County High School and Laura is in 6th grade at Lebanon Middle School   Organizations (church, civic groups, etc.):   Lebanon Middle School PTO Member MCHS Marching Knights Band Booster Member Past Director, Leadership Lebanon/Marion County Chamber of Commerce Member Marion County Industrial Foundation Member Heartland Safe Community Coalition Member Healthy Nutrition Team for Marion County Schools Member Lebanon United Methodist Church   1. Why are you running for the board of education?  I have a deep desire to see the children and families of Marion County achieve the best education possible in today's society, which will give each of them the opportunity for personal success in their adult life. I have been an active board member for the past 3 years, and promise to continue my commitment of time and community involvement to insure Marion County excels to a top school district. I love interacting and listening to my constituents and enjoy fielding questions and concerns from them. I promise Marion County that I will do my best to ensure our children have available to them the finest education possible.   2. What experiences and training have prepared you for this position? During the past three years, my experiences and training as a school board member have assisted in guiding the Marion County School District through tough economic times and changing educational laws. Active participation with the Marion County Economic Development team, industry and our local community and technical colleges, along with the training provided by the Kentucky and National School Boards Associations, has prepared me with the knowledge and tools required to further the advancement of our children and community. Being past-president of both Calvary Elementary and Lebanon Middle School PTOs and actively involved in the high school, I have familiarized myself with my constituents' schools, teachers and families.  Leadership Lebanon has also been an invaluable tool in educating me about all my community and then strengthening my leadership skills as the 2009-2010 Director. Economic Development and local industry have been instrumental in teaching me the importance of graduating career-ready young adults, and how it impacts not only our students, but our community as well. Our school system is an intricate part of the prosperity and success of Marion County. Without a proper workforce, our county cannot compete with other counties for new industry and business; neither can we support the needs of our current businesses. This past year, I have been actively involved with the renovation of the Marion County Area Technology Center.  Our students now have access to an up-to-date facility which is necessary to obtain the skills required for our local workforce.   I am an active member of the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). KSBA has given me the training needed to understand what it takes to educate our children today.  From curriculum to budgets, facilities to maintenance, I have spent many personal hours in training and study. I have recently stepped up and taken an active leadership role with this association, which has given me the teamwork and leadership skills necessary to lead and be a team player in our Marion County community. The National School Boards Association has taught me that all children can learn. It has given me the leadership tools necessary to push Marion County towards its goal of educating all children to proficiency and beyond. It has taught me about childhood nutrition and effective meal planning. Current national legislation which is significant to Marion County is explained, and courses of action are discussed. I am well-versed and well-rounded, and I put to practice all I have learned to be an effective school board member. I have worked with local, state and national political figures with legislation which effects the learning environment of our students and communicating the educational needs of our school district to our legislators. They frequently contact me for information on various educational issues. I am very aware of our current educational climate, and continually fight for equality for our students, from Medicaid reimbursements for school nursing programs to national breakfast and lunch reimbursements.   3. What are the biggest issues facing Marion County Public Schools at this time? How should the board of education address those issues? The biggest issue facing Marion County Public Schools is to educate ALL Kids.  Not the top 80 percent and forget the other 20 percent - ALL Students! No more excuses. This is important to me as a parent and a school board member. Rigorous and relevant classes should be in place to attract all students, starting in elementary school. I have been to training sessions which have given school board members the information and tools needed to see that our children are no longer overlooked. The keys to this success are communication, making sure all our schools know how to teach every student, and obtain parental participation and community involvement.  The role of the board in addressing this issue is to make sure the tools the teachers and staff need to accomplish the goal are in place, stay abreast of the progress, and demand accountability.   4. Budgetary concerns remain an issue for school districts across Kentucky, including Marion County. What can the school board do to maintain or improve the district's fiscal situation?  The school board must take every precaution to budget adequately for future expenses, be as cautious as possible about spending and look for ways to save money and cut out waste. I have worked hard at this for 3 years, having special water meters installed to save money and worked on energy efficiency in our school buildings. Time needs to be spent by each board member looking over the bills, making sure nothing is out-of-proportion, and if a question arises, follow through with the investigation to the end and DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY.   5. Given the district's budgetary restraints, what should be the board of education's priorities with regard to how its funds are allocated? We need to meet our No Child Left Behind goals every year. Each school must be fairly funded. There are also extra educational needs which must be addressed.  Children who are below grade level in reading and math need extra attention. Our textbooks are becoming worn out. The state has not funded textbooks for our schools for the past 3 years. We also need to be starting new programs in our 6th and 7th grades to engage our maturing children.     6. Two years ago, Marion County voters opposed the recallable nickel. Is this something that should be reconsidered? Why or why not? I will support what my constituents tell me their desires are. Everyone must be educated on the pros and cons of a recallable nickel and the consequences of not having it. After proper education, the voters must decide and I will support them.   7. Senate Bill 1 (passed in 2009) changed the accountability system used by the state. How will you assess the district's performance if you are elected? Each of our schools must be progressing toward proficiency and the annual yearly progress goals set for them by the state. Expecting accountability and being a team player to assist our schools in obtaining their goals is essential in obtaining proficiency and distinguished. Our district has in place a quarterly assessment system to show us how we are doing in terms of Senate Bill 1 and state accountability. The quarterly test results are reported to the board after the information has been studied, along with planned strategies and accountability measures. I will use this as one tool in assessing performance.   8. What changes would you like to see within the school district? What would you keep the same about the district? Every graduate needs to be prepared for their future. We need to make sure students are ready to enter the work force or be prepared for college. I think our 6th, 7th and 8th graders would greatly benefit from more rigorous, advanced classes and Area Technology Center classes in the middle schools. This would help motivate our children with proficiency and distinguished rankings in the high school grades, as well as prepare them for the workforce and college after graduation. The Graduate Marion Team (of which I am a member) and the Parent Involvement Group has become a very intricate part of our middle and high school progress. These teams need to continue coming together to brainstorm and implement educational opportunities to assist and engage our students, thus increasing the graduation rate. Our schools are working hard to collaborate with each other, learn from each other and grow together as a district. This hard work needs to be kept up, no matter how difficult it may be.   9. Given how quickly technology changes, what should Marion County schools do to prepare students for what they will encounter in the workforce and/or in higher education? Active communication channels between local industry, colleges and our school must be utilized to prepare our children for what lies ahead. Technology is an important and useful tool which, if used properly, enhances and supports how children learn.  We need to do our best to not only make sure our children have access to the tools required to do their work, but that our teachers are also trained to use this equipment to its fullest potential, thus creating a more academically rich environment. I will continue my education and research to keep myself updated on expanding technology and how it ties in with our local industry.   10. What else would you like voters to know? I am dedicated to the children, parents and constituents of District 3 and will serve them with all my time, energy and resources to ensure our children have the opportunity to obtain the education they deserve! I have school-age children and am an active parent in our school system, which gives me first-hand knowledge of what is going on in our buildings. I am dedicated to all the children of Marion County and have the time and motivation to be a hard working, dedicated school board member. I will see my job through to the end as long as the voters want me in the school board position. I believe ALL children can learn, graduate and be successful adult members of our society. I hold the stakeholders accountable, and am not afraid to stand up when the pressure is on.