There are nine candidates for three open seats on the Wayzata School Board this year. Below you will find the candidate biography for Sarah Johansen. (All candidates were contacted by Patch via email and given the chance to answer the same questions.)
What previous political experience do you have (including other governmental positions you’ve held, whether elected, appointed or volunteer)?
This is the first time that I have run for office, although I have been involved as a volunteer with the School Board and Wayzata’s legislative delegation as Chair of Wayzata’s Legislative Action Committee (LAC). As a 5-year member and 3-year Chair of the LAC, I have worked alongside the School Board to develop our District platform and advocate on behalf of Wayzata at the state legislature. I have also met regularly with the 9 State House and Senate Members that represent the citizens of Wayzata Public schools. Together we have worked to pass the Alternative Facilities and Lease Levy legislation that has made it possible for Wayzata to make necessary building improvements. As Chair of the LAC, I have led a committee of parent representatives and demonstrated that I can work collaboratively on a bi-partisan basis to positively impact Wayzata Public Schools.
What other relevant experience do you have?
I have both the professional experience and personal commitment to make a meaningful contribution to the school board. In service to Wayzata, I have served on 9 district committees, including: the Citizen’s Task Force on Facilities, the Legislative Action Committee, the Community Education Advisory Council and Budget Committee, the District PTO/PTA Liaison, the Wayzata Family Learning Center Parent Advisory and Executive Committee (former Chair and Treasurer), the Communities in Collaboration Council, and the Plymouth Creek PTO. I am also active in the classroom as a volunteer with Book Nook, Partners in Art and classroom help at the elementary and preschool level. Wayzata is my passion and I spend a big part of my week in our schools!
Professionally, I have a Master’s Degree in Management of Human Service Organizations and Clinical Social Work. I have spent the past 15 years either teaching at the college level or working closely with school districts and the systems that they impact. I have participated in and/or led a number of governing boards, served as the Acting Executive Director of a University/Public School partnership for middle school students, and worked from direct service to program development with students, families, teachers and communities. I have both the academic understanding and personal involvement to know how to meet the needs of students, families, schools and communities.
What is your occupation?
I am a part-time adjunct instructor of Social Work in the undergraduate and graduate programs at Augsburg College. I also spend a large portion of my time at home raising our three young children.
Where did you go to school?
I attended graduate school at the University of Michigan. I received my bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and I grew up- and attended public school- in North Muskegon, Michigan.
What city within the Wayzata School District do you live in?
My family lives in Plymouth.
How old are you?
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
I have been married to my husband Kurt for 12 years. We have 3 children: Emma (2nd grade at Plymouth Creek Elementary), Annika (1st grade at Plymouth Creek elementary) and Quinn (Peppermint Fence Preschool at the Wayzata Family Learning Center).
What are your campaign goals?
I believe the children and families of the district are at the core of our excellence and I am running for school board because I want to work for every learner in Wayzata. I have enjoyed meeting people along the campaign and I am sincerely committed to doing what’s best for kids in our district. My campaign-and if elected- my service on the Board, is grounded in building respect and trust with our community. I am dedicated to strengthening our curriculum so every student has the opportunity to participate in the classes and extra-curricular events of their choice. I am committed to a responsible use of tax payer dollars and fiscally prudent planning and spending. Finally, I believe in the excellence of our school and I want to get to work ensuring that we continue to offer a world class education for all students.
What issues are you most focused on?
The biggest opportunity and challenge facing Wayzata is the growth of our resident population. We are fortunate to live in a school district that is known for excellence. Generations of families remain in Wayzata and new families look to buy homes in our district because of the schools. It is essential, even in the face of unprecedented growth, that we protect our commitment to small learning communities and broad based opportunities for every learner. As your school board member, I want to continue to challenge the administration to ensure that all students have individualized learning plans and access to the academic and extracurricular opportunities of their choice. I will also work to make sure that all students- from our highest to our middle and challenged learners- get the support they need to reach their greatest potential. Finally, we must keep pace with our ever changing global society so that every Wayzata graduate is prepared for the college or career of their choice.
Why should voters choose you?
I want to be your top choice for Wayzata School Board because I believe that I have demonstrated the commitment, leadership, and knowledge to make a positive contribution to the Board. Commitment: As the parent of three young children, I have a long term investment in our District and I will bring an important parent perspective to the Board. Leadership: As Chair of the Legislative Action Committee and member of 8 other district committees- I have demonstrated results that have positively impacted our schools. I have proven myself as a community leader and I understand how to get work done. Knowledge: I’m active from the classroom to the Board room. Service to Wayzata has been my passion and I have been involved at many levels. I understand the opportunities and challenges that face our district and I am ready to get to work.
Learn more about me at www.votejohansen.com, follow the campaign at facebook/votejohansen, and I ask for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5.