Educator for 39 years, Spouse of Jim Edwards for 42 years
-Masters of Science in Education Administration, 1992, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas
-Bachelor of Arts in Education, 1977, Kearney State College, Kearney, Nebraska
-Associate of Arts, 1974, Nebraska Western College, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
-Volunteer at YWCA, KCSL, SLI, and United Way
-Member of CARE (retired teachers), DKG, LWV, and Shepherd's Center
I am not sure if they are special, however, I am a team player and a good listener, and I ask a lot of questions. I am a strong supporter of public education. And a question I continue to ask is “Is this good for students?”
At this point, the most important issue is teacher retention. Hiring a new teacher in a district like ours can cost up to $20,000. With 40 to 50 new hires each year, that is between $800,000 to $1,000,000. Those funds could be used in a myriad of other ways to benefit students and staff. My position is that we must figure out why retention is an issue and then solve it.
A school board should provide the wherewithal for classified, certificated, and administrative staff to do their job, so students receive the best possible public education.
At this time, there are twelve locations with about 6400 students. Three school resource officers are paid by the district, and a sheriff’s deputy is paid by the sheriff’s department. Because the district consists of 128 square miles, response time to some buildings is an issue. Before I could intelligently respond to that question, many other questions need to be asked and answered, i.e., How are we (the district) managing the security at buildings without SROS/sheriff’s deputy?, Are we on the same page as law enforcement in regards to situations – lockdowns, evacuations?, Is our school security technology monitored the same in all buildings?. These are just some of the questions. And, if there was an SRO at every building, would that be enough if access to the building hasn’t been limited or fencing has not been used around the school grounds or if there is no closed-circuit video. School security is more than personnel.
Since I am retired, I am prepared to give the district as much time as needed to do the very best job I can as a school board member.
Tara Dimick is the SVP of Business Development at Envista Credit Union. In addition to working for Envista, she is the owner of E2 Communications, a strategic planning and marketing company. E2 publishes TK Business Magazine.
Dimick serves on the boards of Topeka Community Foundation, Kansas Chamber, Stormont Vail Foundation, Topeka Credit Union Foundation, and KTWU Advisory.
Tara is married to Braden and they have 3 children: Hope (16), Cordell (14) and Harmony (6)
BA and MBA from Washburn University
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Topeka Community Foundation Board and Executive Committee, Kansas Chamber Board, Stormont Vail Foundation Board, Topeka Credit Union Foundation Board, and KTWU’s Community Advisory Board
I have lead teams and built businesses. I understand the critical pieces of finance and accounting, marketing, Human Resources and operations, with a constant focus on continuous improvement. These are skills I can use to help our school district.
As a mom, I love my kids with all my heart, and that love and care stretches to their friends and the parents of their friends. We are in this together. I am passionate, curious and comfortable being uncomfortable.
My position is care for the kids. Always care for the kids. What is best for our youth to ensure that they are the future and we have done everything we can to support their growth and not enable that growth, but to allow them to be curious, innovative and strong.
Most critical... between technology, workforce development, and then huge issues like suicide and active shooter, there is a lot of tough conversations. I believe space will become one of the most critical issues that we will see rise up in the next few years. Our district is large and our middle school and high school are becoming full. My position is to take a look at what we will lose and what we will gain by moving forward with the construction of an additional middle school and high school. There are always give and takes with these decisions, we must look at what is the expected growth, what options do we have, what is the impact and most importantly what do the kids need. We are building our future.
The administration, teachers and staff in USD 437 do important work and I am proud to be in the district. I want to support them in their efforts. I believe that our school board's role is to keep our school on track, and set policies that affect our schools, staff and students. The school board helps to set the vision and goals for the school district - with input from the families, staff and students of the school district. The school board then holds the district accountable for results and the families of the district should hold the school board accountable for this effort.
It was my freshman year of college when Columbine High School school shooting happened and realized at that moment that no longer would a school be a safe place. I am proud of the many steps that USD437 has taken to prepare for an active shooter - my 6-year-old has given me the play-by-play. We have a strong see something, say something culture that I know is active. We have security and have intensely practiced lock down procedures.
But we must continue. We must continue to strengthen the see something, say something culture. We must continue to practice active shooter, we must stay vigilant and prepared, even when everything seems calm. We must support our counselors and have those key people available to step in and engage with our students to prevent a tragedy - proactive, not reactive. We must prepare our officers to take control of the situation to prevent or decrease the impact if something was to arise.
All while caring for our kids and teaching them compassion and care.
While I do have a full time job and run a company, I have given up several other responsibilities to make room to commit 4-8 hours a week to the school district. As I prepared to run, I wanted to be sure that I could give my full attention to the needs of the position and I feel that I have made the necessary accommodations to ensure that I can give it my full attention.